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Capt Arthur de Bells Adam (MC)
1885 - 1916

CPL David Wallace Crawford
1887 - 1916

Lce-Corpl John Joseph Nickle
1894 - 1916

Pte 17911 Morton Neill
1897 - 1916

Lieut Edward Stanley Ashcroft
1883 - 1918
Lieut Edward Stanley Ashcroft

Pte 22094 John Joseph Gordon

  • Age: 34
  • From: Widnes, Lancs
  • Regiment: The King's (Liverpool Regiment) 20th Btn
  • D.O.W Tuesday 11th July 1916
  • Commemorated at: Etaples Mil Cem
    Panel Ref: II.B.78

Pte22094 John Joseph GORDON, 20th Battalion KLR.

John Joseph was born in Widnes on the 11th February 1882, the third of seven children born to John Joseph Gordon and his wife Isabel (nee Barnes). 

The 1891 Census shows the family are living at 4 Charles Street, Widnes. John is 7 years of age and lives with his parents and five siblings. His father is a 34 year old cooper born in Widnes, whilst his mother is 30 years old and was born in Bromborough Pool. His siblings are shown as; Louisa 10, Ada 8, William H. 5, Frederick 2 and Minnie 11 months. 

The 1901 Census shows the family are now living at 1 Princes Street, Widnes. John is now 17 years old and is a cooper. He lives with his widowed father, now 44 and still a cooper and his five siblings; William 15, Frederick 12, Minnie 10,  Frances 8 and James H. 6.

On 28th September 1903, John Joseph married Ann Jane Rigby at the Register Office in Prescot.

In 1911 they lived at 25 Kent Street, Widnes with three young children; Isabella born 12th March 1905, Mary born 06th January 1907 and John aged 1 born in 1900. Also present are John Joseph’s sister Minnie (20 years); his brother Frederick (22 years) and his youngest brother Henry (16 years). John and his wife state that they have been married for eight years and have had 4 children, three of whom have survived. 

They had two other children ; John born 11th March 1913 and James Henry born 29th October 1914.

On 07th November 1914, John Joseph enlisted at Liverpool, joining the 20th Battalion of TheKing's, Liverpool Regiment as Private 22094 giving his age as 32 years 9 months and his occupation as a cooper. He was described as being 5' 5" tall, weighing 133lbs with a fresh complexion, grey eyes and dark brown hair. His religion is stated as Roman Catholic.

Formed in November 1914 the 20th Battalion were originally billeted at Tournament Hall, Knotty Ash before on 29th January 1915 they moved to the hutted accommodation purposely built at Lord Derby’s estate at Knowsley Hall. On 30th April 1915 the 20th Battalion alongside the other three Pals battalions left Liverpool via Prescot Station for further training at Belton Park, Grantham. They remained here until September 1915 when they reached Larkhill Camp on Salisbury Plain. 

He crossed to France with his Battalion on the 07th November 1915.

He was wounded on the opening day of the Battle of the Somme on the 01st July 1916,  during the attack at Montauban. He sustained gunshot wounds to the chest, thigh, shoulder and buttocks and was admitted to 96 Field Ambulance before being transferred to 45 Casualty Clearing Station and then to 23 General Hospital in Etaples.

The 20th Battalion diary describes the action on the day that John was wounded:


Zero Hour 7.30am. After 65 minutes intensive bombardment the Battalion advanced to the attack of the German trenches. The Battalion advanced in four lines each of the two leading Companies on a frontage of 2 platoons – No’s 1 & 2 Companies (in that order from the right) leading. No.3 Company in the 3rd wave. No.4 Company in the 4th wave. There being a distance of about 100 yards between each line. The lines advanced through the enemy’s artillery fire as though on parade in quick time. The leading waves went on without a pause to Alt Trench and Casement Trench which were secured at (time not stated) am. The casualties up to this being small. Our barrage lifting Dublin Trench (the 1st Objective) was captured and consolidation immediately proceeded with. Captain Whiting with the 3rd wave entrenching about 150 yards in the rear. Captain Robinson was wounded and No.2 Company was commanded during the day by Lt C P Moore. Casualties up to now were killed 2 officers – 1 wounded and 49 other ranks casualties killed and wounded. At 11.50 am orders were received for the assault of the Briqueterie. The Battalion operation orders for this were issued from NW of Germans Wood. Our barrage lifted at 12,30 pm and No. 4 Company under Captain E C Orford assisted by a section of bombers under 2nd Lt Baker who went up Nord Alley and Chimney Trench to secure his left flank, who had got right forward under cover of the fire of our guns rushed it almost without opposition. On the far side a party of the enemy were found in deep dug-outs. They brough a machine gun into action and some close fighting ensued in which Lt Gooch and Lt Williams were wounded. Opposition was however speedily overcome and the garrison consisting of the H.Q. of a Regt, one Colonel and 4 other officers – 40 rank and file , 2 machine guns together with maps, orders, documents and material fell into our hands. Steps were immediately taken for consolidating the ground won, which however owing to the destruction wrought by our “heavies” was a matter of great difficulty, what had been trenches being almost unrecognisable as such and the earth so pulverised that cover could only be made by aid of sandbags. The garrison was heavily shelled through the afternoon and most of the night and casualties were many. Battalion H.Q. were at the junction of Glatz Alley and Casement Trench north west of Germans Wood and this together with Dublin Trench received considerable attention from enemy guns. Casualties during the day 2 officers killed (2nd Lts F Barnes and JC Laughlin) and 3 wounded (Captain H H Robinson, Lt S Gooch and 2nd Lt F J Williams). 75 other ranks killed and wounded. 

John died in consequence of his wounds on the 11th July 1916 and now rests at Etaples Military Cemetery, Section II, Row B Grave 18.

During the First World War, the area around Etaples was the scene of immense concentrations of Commonwealth reinforcement camps and hospitals. It was remote from attack, except from aircraft, and accessible by railway from both the northern or the southern battlefields. In 1917, 100,000 troops were camped among the sand dunes and the hospitals, which included eleven general, one stationary, four Red Cross hospitals and a convalescent depot, could deal with 22,000 wounded or sick. In September 1919, ten months after the Armistice, three hospitals and the Q.M.A.A.C. convalescent depot remained.

The cemetery contains 10,771 Commonwealth burials of the First World War, the earliest dating from May 1915. 35 of these burials are unidentified. It is the largest CWGC cemetery in France, and was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens

His family placed a thank you notice in the Runcorn Weekly News on 21st July 1916:

Mrs John Gordon and family wish to thank all friends and neighbours for the kind sympathy shown to them during their recent sad bereavement, 25 Kent Street, Widnes
His wife placed a heartfelt notice in the Runcorn Weekly News  on 21st July 1916:

GORDON - On July 11th, at the General Hospital, Etaples, France, from wounds received an action, Private John Gordon, aged 32 years, of the King's (Liverpool) Regiment, beloved husband of Ann Jane Gordon of 25 Kent Street, Widnes.
Sleep on dear husband in a far off grave,
A grave I will never see;
You nobly answered your country's call
And gave your life for me and all;
But the unknown grave is the bitterest blow
None but an aching heart does know.
- From his sorrowing Wife and Children.

Also in the same newspaper, his brothers and sisters also placed their tribute to John: 
GORDON - In loving memory of our dear brother, Private John Gordon of the King's (Pals) Liverpool Regiment, who died July 11th in the General Hospital, Etaples, France, aged 32 years, from wounds received in action.
Sleep on the brother, in a lonely grave,
Your life for your country you nobly gave
No friend stood there to say goodbye,
But safe in God's keeping now you lie.
- Fondly remembered by his loving sisters and brothers, Nellie and Harry Gordon, Louis and Bob Rigby.                  

In April 1919, John’s widow, Ann Jane, declares that she has four children – Isabella, Mary, John (born 11.03.1913) and James Henry (born 1914). The disparity between the dates of birth for her son John 1910 (Census) and 1913 (declaration, is probably explained by the first son having died (there is a John Gordon who dies in 1912) and the next son, born in 1913, being given the same first name, which often occurred in those days. Ann Jane was left with four young children born in 1905, 1907, 1913 and 1914 and was eventually allocated a pension of 22/6d per week (£1.121/2 pence).

Her husband’s effects and 3 medals were sent to her and consisted of two identity discs, a purse, packets of letters and photographs, a ring, mirror in case, a prayer book, a horseshoe charm, bag of lavender and an envelope containing charms.

In her sworn declaration in April 1919, Ann named John’s surviving relatives as herself and four children; his brothers William, Alfred and James; and his sisters Louisa (who had married Ann’s brother Robert), Ada Marsh and Ellen Horton.

His three brothers also had a military career -

Frederick served 2 years as a Private in the 5th South Lancashires before being medically discharged and pensioned suffering from heart problems without leaving the United Kingdom;

James served with the Royal Artillery & Royal Field Artillery from 17th May 1911 as a boy and then a driver before being embodied on 5th September 1914. He served in France from 20/09/1915 until 28/05/1916 when he was returned to England on board “SS Viper” and medically discharged.

William tried to join the Territorial Force with James Henry in 1911 but failed his medical.

Killed On This Day.

(108 Years this day)
Tuesday 18th July 1916.
Pte 27346 John Mawdsley
34 years old

(106 Years this day)
Thursday 18th July 1918.
Cpl 106108 William Alexander Unsworth
38 years old