Rank: Private
Number: 20451
Unit: 10th Battalion King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry
Date of Death: 1 July 1916
Age: 27
Cemetery: Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France

John had been born in Stockport and probably lived all his life in the town until he enlisted into the army, at Hyde, in November 1914. Nothing is known of his early life. He was married and had three children. The family history website, CheshireBMD, records that a man of this name married Emma Kimber at All Saints Church, Heaton Norris in 1910 and this may well be him. The family lived at 19 Barlow Row in the Hillgate area of town and they worshipped locally at St Thomas' Church. John earned his living as a carter employed by the Great Central Railway Ltd.

He was to be killed on 1 July, the first day of the Battle of the Somme.

As part of 63rd Brigade, 21st Division, the Battalion "went over the top" at 7.30am, into No Man's Land attacking German held positions in the village of Fricourt. As they did so, they came under heavy machine gun fire from the village and, also, by fire from the south at La Boiselle. Pushing on with the attack, men from the supporting battalions (15th Durham Light Infantry and 1st East Yorkshires) now joined them. By 8am, they had captured the position known as Crucifix Trench. The men halted here to reorganise and had to fight off a German counter-attack. At 2.30, they attempted a further advance towards Shelter Wood but this failed and orders were given to dig in and consolidate.

Nearly 200 men were known to be dead or were posted as missing. Lewis's body was never recovered and identified. His name is inscribed on the nearby Memorial to the Missing, along with that of Lieutenant Lewis Sharp.

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