John Henry HARDMAN
Rank: Private
Number: 60201
Unit: 22nd Field Ambulance ROYAL ARMY MEDICAL CORPS
Date of Death: 4 October 1917
Age: 38
Cemetery: Tyne Cot Memorial, Zonnebeke, Belgium

John was born in the Stockport area. The names of his parents are not known and when the 1901 Census was taken, they had probably died. He was living at 23 Roscoe Street, Edgeley with his brothers and sisters – Joseph, Thomas, Elizabeth and Beatrice. He was working as a felt hat finisher.

It’s thought that he got married in 1906. There is a record of a John Harry Hardman marrying Alice Hopwood at Bramhall Methodist Church. Alice is known to be his wife’s name. They lived at 52 Moorland Street, Stockport and would have one child together. John was a committed Christian and regularly worshipped at the Wesleyan Chapel in Woodsmoor.

He enlisted into the Army in June 1915 and was assigned to the Medical Corps. A Field Ambulance was not just a means of transport as we might think today, but a vital part of the casualty treatment and evacuation process. A casualty would receive treatment from his own Battalion medical officer just behind the front line. From there, the men of the Field Ambulance would take over. They would operate a number of stretcher bearer relay posts about every 600 yards who would carry men back to an Advanced Dressing Station to the rear of the battle sector. This was staffed by doctors and orderlies of the Field Ambulance who would treat the man – just doing enough to allow him to be further evacuated to a Field Hospital, perhaps 20 miles away.

On 4 October, the Headquarters of 22nd Field Ambulance was at Chippewa Camp, near the Belgian town of Ypres (now Ieper). John was on duty near the front line, possibly stationed at one of the stretcher bearer relay posts. The unit’s War Diary, held at the National Archives, records that there had been reports that some of the men had been killed or injured during the day but there was no official news. The next day confirmation came that John and four others had been killed.

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