John FLOYD
Rank: Private
Number: 9054
Unit: 1st Battalion EAST LANCASHIRE REGIMENT
Date of Death: 15 November 1914
Age: 26
Cemetery: Ploegsteert Memorial, Hainaut, Belgium

Very little is known about John Floyd. He had been born in the Ardwick area of Manchester, the son of John and Jane Floyd and was living in Stockport when he enlisted into the army.

A government publication, after the War, called "Soldiers Died in the Great War" (now available on CD-ROM) suggests that John originally served with the Manchester Regiment and this seems consistent with the fact that his place of enlistment is recorded as Ashton-under-Lyne where the Manchesters had a depot. There is, however, no indication in his medal entitlement records at the National Archives that he served abroad with that Regiment. Furthermore, his comparatively low service number and early service suggest he was either a reguklar soldier in the East Lancashires or an ex-regular recalled from the reserve when War was decalred in August 1914.

On 11 November, John and his comrades went into front line trenches just north of Le Gheer (about 15 kilometres south of the Belgian town of Ypres). There is no specific information in official records about the day John was killed but the following extract from the Regimental History suggests that he was probably killed by enemy shellfire.

The Battalion was "under almost continuous shelling, especially from a light gun which enfiladed some of the trenches and caused many casualties. On the 15th, the first snow fell, to increase the almost unbearable hardships. Some slight mitigation was caused by sending up to the trenches oil stoves for cooking purposes and a brazier and supplies of charcoal. Attempts had been made to deepen the trenches with a view to reducing the daily casualty lists, but digging only resulted in a greater depth of water in the trenches. Traverses and splinter-proofs were destroyed by gunfire as soon as they were constructed. It was almost impossible to move along the trenches by day and the lack of good communications caused much difficulty in getting up rations."

Even for the experienced regular soldiers this must have been a most trying time. Cold, wet, underfed and subject to fire which claimed their comrades' lives on a daily basis, they would not know that there was four more years of fighting still to come. John was one of four to be killed on the 15th. If he suffered a direct hit from a shell then there may have been nothing left to bury. The phrase "blown to bits" can be taken literally. This may account for why he now has no known grave.

   
           
   
     
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