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John Anderton was born in Chorley, Lancashire in about 1872.

Prior to joining the Army, he was single and working as a collier. John was living with his brother (Robert) and sister (Margret) at 1 Meadow Street, Adlington, Chorley. Their father was resident at the ‘Little Sisters of the Poor‘ religious care home for the elderly.

On 28th March 1890, when John was 18 years old he enlisted in the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment at Preston. He was given the service number 3151 and was posted into the 2nd Battalion.

At his enlistment medical he was described as being 5ft 4in tall, weighing 136lbs with grey eyes and light brown hair.

On his second anniversary with the Regiment in 1892, he was awarded his good conduct pay, although this was forfeited for one month between January and February 1894.

In Enniskillen and Mullingar, Ireland, between January 1892 and September 1893, John received three regimental entries for drunkenness and creating disturbances in town.

On 10th April 1894, a court of inquiry was held to determine the nature in which John had injured himself in Mullingar, Ireland. The incident had happened on 9th February 1894, Private Anderton had been playing football, when the players were called for a fatigue. In taking down the goalposts the crossbar fell down injuring his wrist. He was admitted to hospital.

The inquiry concluded that the injury was the result of an accident, and he was not employed in any neglect of duty at the time.

On 28th March 1897, having now competed his term of seven years with the Colours he was posted into the Reserve.

Life as a civilian clearly wasn’t to Johns’ liking though; he rejoined the Colours in October 1898.

On 20th September 1899 the Battalion travelled by train to Southampton and embarked on the S.S Jelunga bound for Malta. Whilst here they were stationed at Pembroke camp. With the Boer War having broken out in South Africa, they were preparing for possible deployment.

South Africa 20/02/00 – 25/09/02

John was posted into the 1st Battalion and was then part of what was known as ‘Malta Company’ of the Mounted Infantry. In January 1901 he was part of 9th Battalion Mounted Infantry.

Their first task was clearing the country around the Ventersburg road; moving onto larger operations by the middle of that year. In the August they were part of a column that conducted a large scale sweeping operation from Kimberley to Vereenigen, and on to Modder River.

For the remainder of the war they were mainly employed in the Kroonstad district, mainly conducting clearance patrols at night.

For his service during the Boer War, John was awarded the Queens South Africa medal with clasps for Transvaal, Orange Free State and Cape Colony; and the Kings South Africa medal with clasps for 1901 and 1902.


Following the Boer War, John and the Battalion were on home duties. They remained in Preston until 1906 before moving across to Ireland. On 4th November 1902, he was reengaged to serve a term of 21 years with the Colours.

On 8th January 1907, he was posted back in the 2nd Battalion and served a second stint in South Africa. On 12th July 1907 whilst here, John achieved his 3rd class certificate of education.

He spent two years in Mauritius from 19th October 1907 till 26th November 1909, leaving on the R.I.M.S Dufferin, bound for India.

In India they were based in Poona, then Bangalore.

On 12th September 1910, John was permitted to continue in the service beyond 21 years.

First World War

Shortly after the outbreak of the First World War, the 2nd Battalion sailed from India to East Africa on 16th October 1914, landing at Tanga on 3rd November.

The day after they arrived, James was taken prisoner of war (unwounded).


Statement of 3151 Private John Anderton

At Tanga on 4th November 1914, my battalion was in the attack when we were ordered to return. There was great confusion and the troops got scattered. I could see none of our officers. Presently I saw an officer who I took to be an officer of the Indian Army and he asked me to follow him.

By this time most of our own troops had fallen further back and were out of sight. The officer asked me to leave the road and go into the (?) and find out where the shots were coming from. I thought they were fired by my own platoon, but found that they were German.

I killed two, but when I got up to return, I got the words ‘Hands up’ and turned around to find myself covered by the revolvers of two German officers.

I broke my rifle and bolt, and surrendered. The Germans took my glasses and my paybook.


He was released by the enemy on 22nd June 1917. He was evacuated to India on the hospital ship Assaye, and admitted to hospital in Lindi with malaria.

On 11th August 1917, at Dar-es-Salaam, a court of inquiry was held in his absence, to determine the cause of his capture.

The court concluded that he had been taken prisoner by chances of war, and not through neglect or his conduct.

On 20th August 1917 he was posted into the depot at Bangalore. He was transferred to Celaba hospital in Bombay the next day. In October he arrived back in the depot as part of the 4th (Reserve) Battalion, India.

On 19th July 1918, John elected to draw his pension whilst still serving.

On 15th December 1918 he was posted to Salonika.

On the 2nd February 1919, John sailed back to the UK from Salonika. He was discharged to Class Z reserve on 24th March 1919 having completed three days short of 29 years service. He was 47 years old.

Medal Entitlement

  • QSA (3 clasps)
  • KSA (2 clasps)
  • 1914/15 Star
  • British War Medal
  • Victory Medal
  • Long Service Good Conduct Medal with a £5 gratuity.
Paul McCormick
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