John HESTER
Rank: Private
Number: 292257
Unit: 4th or 14th Battalion ROYAL WELSH FUSILIERS
Date of Death: 23 August 1918
Age: 20
Cemetery: Bouzincourt Ridge Cemetery, Albert, Somme, France

At the time of writing (April 2008), it is not possible to be certain about the circumstances of John's death. The records of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission show him to have been serving with the 14th Battalion, yet regimental records published after the War (and now available on CD-ROM - "Soldiers Died in the Great War") show it as the 4th Battalion.

Both units were near the town of Albert at the time. The 4th Battalion was just behind the front line available to support an attack being undertaken by other units. They were not called on to go into action but were, of course, well within range of the German artillery. The 14th Battalion did go into action in close support to the leading 13th Battalion. The Regimental History records "Covered by artillery barrage, the assault commenced at 4.55am, on a wide front of some 2000 yards and penetrated to a depth of 1800 yards. It was not child's play, although all objectives were taken by 9.45am. Portions of our 14th battalion, advancing in close support, frequently found themselves in the forefront of the fight - "A" Company was sent by Lieutenant-Colonel Collier to the right, on Usna Hill, where there was heavy fighting; "B" Company on the left to help the 13th against two pill-boxes which were eventually rushed."

John will have been conscripted into the army when he became 18 and his service number indicates that he trained with the 7th Battalion and probably transferred before going overseas. Little is known of his life but the 1901 Census records him living at 50 Canal Street, Stockport with his parents, James and Catherine, together with Thomas and Mary Ann, his younger brother and sister.

   
           
   
     
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