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John Henry Earlam (Irlam) was the third child of John Earlam and Eliza Ann Arrowsmith who married at St Elizabeth’s Church, Reddish in the late 1880s. By 1901, they were living at 30 Edward Street, Reddish.

On 9 April 1918, the German Army launched the second phase of its spring offensive in what would become known officially as the Battle of the Lys (after the nearby river). On the 15th, John and his comrades took up defensive positions northwards from the Le Bassee Canal, near the hamlet of Le Preol (just to the east of the French town of Bethune).

The British Army had been in retreat since the 9th with the Germans never far behind. A further attack was anticipated and it soon became clear that the North Lancashires would come under attack on the 18th. At 4.15am, the German artillery opened a heavy bombardment along the British front line and this increased in intensity until 8am, when their infantry attacked from the north. They quickly overcame the lightly defended front line and moved on the main “line of resistance”, probably a mile to the rear. Again, they captured these positions, from other units, with relative ease. The British reserve troops now quickly launched a fierce counter-attack. “C” and “D” Companies of the Battalion formed part of this attack which, by 11am, had succeeded in forcing the Germans out of the main trench system. John had been one of about 50 members of the Battalion who had been killed in this action.

John Henry EARLAM
Rank: Private
Number: 3109
Unit: 1st Battalion Loyal North Lancashire Regiment
Date of Death: 18 April 1918
Age: 22
Cemetery: Loos Memorial,Pas de Calais, France

This article has been reproduced with kind permission from the Stockport 1914-18 website.


Paul McCormick
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One Response to 3109 PTE. J. H. EARLAM. L.N.LAN.R

  1. Kevan Cooper says:

    John Henry is my 1st cousin 2x removed. His Brother Edwin was also killed in the Great War in 1917.
    I hope one day to go to Tyne Cot where Edwin is buried.

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