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jjpark1John James Park was born in Whittingham in 1888 the son of a blacksmith. His parents were John and Emily (nee Morris) Park and they were married in St. Mary`s Church in Goosnargh on 21 September, 1885.

John and Emily and three year old John James were still living in Whittingham when their second son William Morris was born in 1890. They did have a third son Charles Albert Vincent who was born in 1894 but sadly he died the following year.

By 1911 the family had moved to Kitchen Terrace in Grimsargh and there had been another addition to the family, another son Fred who was born in 1904. John senior was still working as a blacksmith and John James was a wheelwright and joiner while his brother William working as a general labourer.

The 1911 Census also records the family as having three boarders, John Young, Thomas Gold and James Attwater who were working as engine fitters and they were all from Kilmarnock in Scotland.

John James was a member of St. Michael`s Church in Grimsargh where he was a bell ringer and organ blower. Pre-war he had also served a joinery apprenticeship with a Mr. Noblett in Grimsargh before going on to work for the Cunard Shipping Line as a carpenter.

Although his service papers do not appear to have survived the newspaper article below states he enlisted in January 1915 and he was allocated the service number 34426. After he enlisted his brother William apparently took over his duties at St. Michael`s Church until William himself enlisted in July 1915.

John`s Medal Index Card indicates that he did not arrive in France until after January 1916 so he would have gone with a batch of reinforcements. The Medal Rolls also state that he had served with the 10th, 7th and 1st Battalions of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment then finally the 9th Battalion.

The German Spring Offensive (Operation Michael) got underway on the 21 March 1918 and in both February and March 1918 the 9th Battalion had suffered a lot of casualties and were in need of reinforcements. The history of the Battalion mentions that reinforcements of 477 men of all ranks arrived in six drafts in early April 1918 so this may have been when John joined them.

On the 9 April, 1918 the German army opened the second phase of its spring offensive in what would become known as the Battle of the Lys.

The 9th Battalion were part of the 25th Division and around the 20th April the Division was withdrawn and marched to the Poperinghe-Proven area and into the Second Army Reserve where they were accommodated in Dirty Bucket Camp, but it wasn`t for long. On the 23rd and 24th April the Germans bombarded and attacked the allied positions on and around Kemmel Hill later establishing themselves on Kemmel Hill and Kemmel Village. At 11.30 a.m. on the 25th April the Division was ordered up to support the XXII Corps.

By 9.20 p.m. that same evening the 9th Battalion with a strength of 18 Officers and 402 other ranks was in an assembly position 300 yards north of La Clytte cross-roads. A counter attack was organised for the morning of the 26th April in conjunction with French troops and at 3 a.m. the attack started.

The advance was made at the appointed hour but the flooded state of Kemmel Beek made it difficult for the men to keep up with the barrage, but by 4.55 a.m. the leading Battalions had gained their first objective with comparatively few casualties, capturing several machine guns and about 50 prisoners. Some of the Battalion made it into Kemmel Village and pushed on even further.

Corporal John James Park`s death is officially recorded as being on the 25th April 1918. The Preston Guardian later reported on his death.

jjpark2

John was entitled to the British War and Victory Medals. His body was never recovered from the battlefield so his name is recorded on the Tyne Cot Memorial to the Missing. He is also remembered on the local war memorial in Grimsargh.

Grimsargh-wm

Grimsargh War Memorial

 

Rank: Corporal
Service No: 34426
Date of Death: 25/04/1918
Age: 30
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 9th Bn.
Memorial: TYNE COT MEMORIAL

Additional family information 

21592 Private William Morris Park (battalion unknown) enlisted 20 July, 1915 and was discharged due to sickness on 30 August, 1916.  He died of illness just fourteen days before his brother John was killed in action. William did not serve overseas. His name is also remembered on the Grimsargh War Memorial.

Janet Davis

Janet Davis

Janet Davis has been researching her family history for many years and through this she discovered many relatives who served in WW1. This interest then led Janet to do many walking the battlefield tours with her husband. In April 2013 she discovered this website and volunteered to help. Janet believes that there are lots of stories still to be told, most of them very sad but at the same time they are a fascinating insight into the men, their families, what they did and where they came from.
Janet Davis

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2 Responses to 34426 CPL. J. J. PARK. L.N.LAN.R

  1. Michael Cowell says:

    I am researching the men from Grimsargh who are remembered on the stone cross. This summer I travelled to France and Belgium, as I still have other relevant cemetries to visit I will be returning next year.
    For several years I played the last post at Grimsargh on remembrance Sunday and am now involved with Brindle Band who play at the Preston remembrance on the flag market.
    Michael Cowell – mac2967@hotmail.com

  2. Janet Davis says:

    Hello Michael, thank you for taking the time to comment on the article. I have also researched Roger James Finch from the Memorial and he is on the website too, I presume you have seen it, please feel free to use the information if it will help with your project.

    I always attend the Preston Cenotaph Remembrance and I must say what a fine job the Brindle Band do, long may they continue!

    Best of luck with your research.

    Kind regards
    Janet

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