John HULME
Rank: Corporal
Number: 74276
Unit: 1st Battalion SHERWOOD FORESTERS
Date of Death: 27 May 1918
Age: 36
Cemetery: Soissons Memorial, Aisne, France

John Hulme was the family's eldest child and was named after his father. John, senior, had married Eliza and for the first few years of their marriage, they lived in Gee Cross where their son and his younger sister, Maud were born. Around 1886, they moved to Romiley where, in 1901, they were living at 10 Hole House Fold. There were now five more additions to the family - James, Tom, Maggie, Wilfred and Samuel. The future soldier, now 18, was working as a felt hat finisher.

In 1907, he married Jeannie Bowden in a civil ceremony registered at Stockport. It's not known where they lived but, in the early 1920s, Jeannie was living at 4 Osborne Terrace, Lower Bredbury. When War was declared in August 1914, John was not an early volunteer for the army. However, in early 1915, he enlisted at Manchester joining the 22nd Battalion, Manchester Regiment - the seventh of its "Pals" battalions. He was given 21089 as his service number and trained with 19 Platoon, "E" Company. However, John didn't serve aboard with the Manchesters and was transferred to the Lancashire Fusiliers before going on acitve service. His new service number was 51692.

At the beginning of 1918, a number of units were disbanded in France and this may be when John was transferred to the Foresters.

Sunday, 26 May 1918 was quiet day for the men. They were in reserve billets at Ventelay and church services were held. Towards evening, they again moved towards the front line, taking up support positions near Roucy.

At 1am, on the 27th, the Germans launched the third and final phase of their spring offensive. The intent was to thrust towards Paris in the hope of a major breakthrough between French and British defences. The fighting opened with a German artillery and gas barrage on Ventelay and the rear areas. At 4.30, the Foresters were ordered forward to the main defence line. Fierce fighting took place and there were many casualties before the Battalion was forced into retreat. John and another local man, Joseph Powell, were amongst the dead. Their bodies will have been buried with respect by the Germans but there will have been little interest in making individual identifications. Neither man now has a known grave.

   
           
   
     
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