John William Corfield FOWLER
Rank: Sergeant
Number: 22187
Unit: 23rd Battalion MANCHESTER REGIMENT
Date of Death: 4 June 1916
Age: 21
Cemetery: Bethune Town Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France

John was the third child, and eldest son, of George and Mary. There were a total of seven children listed on the 1901 Census and all had been born in Pleasley, Derbyshire where they still lived. At some point, the family moved to Fryland Cottage, Park Lane, Stockport and John attended St Mary's School on Spring Gardens.

When War was declared in August 1914 many men tried to join up but were rejected because they were shorter than the army's minimum height of 5' 3". In the November, "Bantam Battalions" started to be formed across the country which allowed these short, but physically fit, men to join up. The Manchester area was no exception. Many of the new recruits were miners and it is possible that, like his father, John worked in one of the local collieries. When he enlisted at Manchester, John was assigned to No. 12 Platoon in "C" Company. They quickly became known as the eighth of the "Pals Battalions" formed by the Regiment in the area. Some details of their recruitment and training can be found here.

John went overseas on active service with the Battalion on 29 January 1916. In late May, the Battalion was undertaking another tour of duty in the trenches. They were relieved on 1 June by 20th Lancashire Fusiliers and returned to support billets at La Touret. The Battalion's War Diary records that one man "seriously wounded (since died)". This is believed to be John. He was evacuated from the front line and taken to a field hospital at Bethune where he died three days later.

After the War, Mr & Mrs Fowler had moved and were living at 11 Edward Street, Great Houghton, Barnsley.

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