John was born in Leeds on the 31st July 1892. He was the eldest of five children. The family obviously moved round the country a lot as the 3rd youngest child was born in Liverpool and the two youngest children were born in Nottingham. John’s father originated from Norfolk, his mother from Hawnby in the North York moors. At some point the family settled in Great Yarmouth, the 1911 census giving an address as 86 Churchill Road. It was in Great Yarmouth that John married Dora (Dolly) Mary McQueen in September 1924. By 1939 they were living in Richmond, John’s occupation being a Secondary School Master, with Dora doing unpaid domestic duties.
There does not appear to be a record of any offspring. John was obviously heavily involved with the town of Richmond and the people as he served as town mayor in 1957/8. John died on the 23rd November 1982 aged 90. At the time of his death he was living at 8 Gilling Road.
During WW1 John served as a pilot, with the rank of Captain, in the Royal Flying Corps. John had joined the 10th Squadron RFC at Abeele, an airfield near Ypres Belgium, in May 1917. The 10th had been formed at Farnborough on the 1st January 1915. In April 1918 it would be re-designated the 10th Squadron RAF. Initially John flew De Havilland BE2s, a 2 seat biplane until the Squadron was re-equipped with Armstrong Whitworth FK8s, general purpose biplanes with a synchronised Vickers machine gun up front and a Lewis gun in the rear cockpit. John was heavily involved in reconnaissance and photography and would experience several sorties with German aircraft. In January John was flying alone in the Ypres area when he was caught by anti-aircraft fire. Though temporarily concussed, he fortunately regained consciousness in time to right his plane before crashing into trees.
After several weeks in hospital he returned to duty at the end of May 1918, albeit in a training capacity in Wiltshire. John’s active service with the RFC had lasted for some 9 months, not bad when a pilot’s life expectancy in WW1 was about 3 weeks!
Explore more memories from the ribbon
Henry Parker In October 2015 the Green Howards Museum was contacted by the Ministry of Defence’s Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre (JCCC). Human remains had been found in a field to the north- east of the village of Martinpuich on the Somme. The JCCC wanted to know if we could do anything to help identify this unknown soldier. We looked at events around Martinpuich between 25 and 27 September 1916. 77 men were lost, whilst an additional 319 Officers and Other Ranks were either wounded, or listed as ‘missing’. The remains could have belonged to any one of a potential 396 men. Through a process of elimination using research and archive information, we produced a shortlist of 12. To get any further, science needed to play its part. The Forensic team from JCCC collected DNA from the femur of the remains. DNA was taken from the next of kin of our shortlisted missing soldiers who had agreed to take part in the process. The remains were positively identified as those of 3183 Private Henry Parker, born 29th September 1893 in Weavererthorpe, in the Yorkshire Wolds. He was killed in action, aged 22, during the Battle of the Somme on 26 September 1916. Shoulder badges, uniform buttons, a belt buckle and clip, bullet and cut throet razor were found with the remains of Private Henry Parker – these are now on display at the museum. He was reburied with full military honours in Warlencourt Cemetary in France on 17th May 2017….
Norman Angus was born at Southwick, Co. Durham in 1890. He was working as a miner prior to enlisting in September 1914. He was posted to the 8th Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment. He would have been sent to France in September 1915 and he had a somewhat chequered career. He had been promoted to Corporal by early 1916 but was reduced to Private. He was wounded in December 1915 and again in September 1916 and unfortunately had to forfeit 6 days pay for unauthorised absence in 1917. 14043 Corporal Angus was awarded the 1915 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. He died aged 84 in March 1975.
Joseph (third from left) was born around 1884 in Ainderby Steeple near Northallerton in North Yorkshire. He was the eldest of five children to Thomas and Amelia. He would eventually end up living at East Witton where he worked on the Jervaulx estate. He married Agnes Kendray and they would have three children. Joseph was a fine athlete as witnessed on Coronation Day June 22nd 1911. In the fell race to the top of Witton Fell and back Joseph came first. His exploits were published in the parish magazine. Joseph enlisted at Middleham joining the 7th Battalion Yorkshire Regiment. The Battalion embarked for France on the 13th July 1915. It was during operations in February 1917 in an area of the Somme that heavy German artillery would take a heavy toll. A shell destroyed a cellar being used to house stretcher cases killing most of the men. One of those reported missing was Private Joseph Allen. His body was never found. Joseph’s name is commemorating on the Thiepval Memorial. A service was held at East Witton Church on the 3rd March. Tragically, one month after the service, Joseph’s widow Agnes died, aged 33, leaving three young orphans.