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Person Details
He was born in 1895, the son of Harriet Burke of 26 Foundry Street, Leen Side, Nottingham.
He was a leather dresser at the time he enlisted.
08 Aug 1916
470867 - CWGC Website
He enlisted at the drill hall of the 8th Sherwood Foresters in Newark, giving his home address as 26 Foundry Street, Leen Side, Nottingham. He was a Roman Catholic.
1/8th Bn Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby Regiment)
He enlisted in the Territorial Force (3/8th Bn Sherwood Foresters) for the duration of the war on 20 July 1915; he was 19 years 3 months old. He was on Home Service from 30 July 1915 - 29 July 1916; during this time he suffered a period of sickness and spent 37 days in the military hospital at Grantham from 10 October 1915-15 November 1915. He transferred from the 8th Bn Reserve on 20 July 1916 to 1/8th Bn and went to France on 30 July 1916. Less than a fortnight later, on 8 August, John was working in a fatigue party when he suffered the accident which caused his death. He died in 35 General Hospital, Calais, of injuries to his thigh resulting from a bomb explosion. A court of inquiry was convened and witness statements were taken from the sergeant in charge of the fatigue party which was clearing a new training ground and also soldiers in the party. 'Inquiry into the (-) in which 4190 Pte J Burke, 5074 Pte N France, 4509 Pte C Pearson, 1457 Pte (-) all of 8th Sherwood Foresters received(?) injuries.' Witness: Sergeant (-), 8th Sherwood Foresters stated; ‘On the morning Aug 8th, I was in charge of a fatigue party detailed to dig on the new training ground. At 10.25am while (illegible) … Pte Burke fell to the ground (illegible) … and found that they were injured as were also Ptes Pearson and Ball. By the time I had attended to Pte Burke the Medical Officer had arrived and Pte Burke and France were taken to hospital. In my opinion the explosion was caused by the striking of a (-) grenade with a shovel. I subsequently discovered portions of a (-) at the scene of the accident; Pte (illegible) were bandaged and (illegible).' The transcript of the statements, including one from 1457 Pte Ball, are barely legible but all refer to the explosion. 4509 Pte Pearson, 8th Sherwood Foresters, stated, ‘I was digging gorse roots up when Pte Burke, who was (-) yards away, struck something with his shovel, there was an explosion and something hit me in the (-) of the neck. I was bandaged and sent to the Medical (-) Tent.' The president of the court of inquiry found that, ‘I am of opinion that the injured men were on duty at the time and that they were not to blame.’ This decision was confirmed and concurred by Colonel (-), 20 August 1916. John had served a total of 1 year and 20 days. He is buried in Calais Southern Cemetery (Plot D. Row 3. Grave 7).
Nottingham Post obituary (abridged), 23 October 1916: 'Private J Burke, Sherwood Foresters, 26 Foundry Yard, died of wounds August 8th, age 20.'
Remembered on