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37598 Private John Forrest 1-4th BattalionJohn Forrest, a farmer`s son was born in Fulwood, Preston in the September quarter of 1894 to Thomas and Mary Forrest (nee Cookson). His father was from a large farming family who had for many years farmed the land around Fulwood and other areas to the north of Preston. Thomas Forrest married Mary Cookson in the December quarter of 1891 in Preston and John was the middle child of three, the other two being daughters; Cicely Ellen (1893) and Mary (1902).

In 1901 John, his sister Cicely and his parents lived on little Rough Hey Farm in Fulwood. His paternal grandmother Elizabeth Forrest was farming at Clock House Farm just a short distance away but she passed away in 1902. After his Grandmother`s death John and his family moved themselves into Clock House Farm and this is where he was living and working together with his parents and two sisters in 1911.

Unfortunately John`s record of service is not available but later information states that he enlisted at Preston in April 1917 and was issued with the service number 37598. At some point in the months that followed John was sent to France and was then posted to the 1/4th Battalion.

Sadly, John was killed in action on the 9th April 1918 which was a particularly bloody day for the Battalion, the CWGC recording the deaths of 55 men on that day alone with many more having been wounded and who later died in the days that followed.

The action on the 9th April was on the Festubert-Givenchy line, where early in the morning the Germans were found to be heavily bombarding the whole divisional front. Unfortunately this weakened the Portuguese troops that were on the left of the Division causing them to retire, which completely exposed the 55th`s flank.

The German infantry now attacked, and owing to the thick fog that morning, they were allowed to get so close to the British that they could not be engaged until they were within 20 – 30 yards. The Germans succeeded in their objective and breached the 164th Brigades front, and managed to overrun their headquarters, and several other key areas.

Eventually a counter-attack was organised which forced the Germans back, capturing many prisoners and machine-guns in the process. By the end of the day the Brigade had won back every inch of the ground they had temporarily lost.

After John`s parents received the news of his death they notified the Preston Guardian who later printed the following article;37598 Private John Forrest 1-4th Battalion 2

Sadly, John`s body was one of the many never recovered from the battlefield and so his name was later inscribed on the Loos Memorial to the Missing.

The name of Private John Forrest is also remembered on the War Memorial at Fernyhalgh. The Memorial stands on the roadside close to the Catholic Church of St. Mary & The Ladywell Shrine on Fernyhalgh Lane, Broughton.St. Mary & The Ladywell Shrine

Rank: Private
Service No: 37598
Date of Death: 09/04/1918
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 1st/4th Bn.

Janet Davis
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