John William WILD
Rank: Driver
Number: L/9454
Unit: A Battery, 149th Brigade ROYAL FIELD ARTILLERY
Date of Death: 12 July 1916
Age: 25
Cemetery: Peronne Road Cemetery, Maricourt, Somme, France

John was the third of Joseph & Sarah’s seven children. When the Census was taken in 1901, the family was living at 12 George Street West, Stockport , where Joseph ran a shop as a general dealer. By the Great War, they had moved to 78 Churchgate and John was working at the iron foundry of Henry Hollingdrake & Sons, 65 Princes Street.

149th Brigade had been formed in the early 1915 and John’s service number suggests he was probably an original member. It was attached to the Army’s 30th Division which was largely made up of men from the Manchester and Liverpool “Pals”.

The Pals had attacked on 1 July – the first day of the Battle of the Somme – and John and his comrades would have been in action giving support with their 18-pounder field guns. 30th Division had been one of the rare successes on that day capturing and holding all its objectives in the south of the battlefield and it was due, in no small part, to the effectiveness of the artillery. The Pals made further smaller scale advances from the 8th July onwards.

John is recorded as having died of wounds, rather than being killed outright, but his burial just to the rear of the new British front line suggests that he was probably injured the same day and died before he could be evacuated to a field hospital. On the 12th, the Germans attempted a counter attack to try to recapture some of the lost ground but this was beaten off mainly by the use of the Field Artillery. No doubt, the German artillery had found the right range for their British counterparts and shelled back.

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