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  • Buried in Heath Cemetery, Harbonnieres, France. (www.cwgc.org)
Person Details
Bradford Yorkshire
John Acton was the son of Claude William (also William Claude) and Harriet Sykes (née Acton). His father Claude William was born in Nottingham in 1870 (O/N/D), the only son of William and Mary Ann Sykes (née Coates) who were married in Nottingham in 1870 (J/F/M). In 1871, William (b. Yorkshire), a foreman tailor, Mary and their son were living on Clinton Terrace, Sherwood Street, Nottingam but had moved to Bradford by 1881 where William was working as a tailors' cutter. His widow Mary (46) and son Claude (20) a tailor, were living in Shipley, Yorkshire, in 1891. His mother Harriet was born in Arnold, Nottingham, in 1868, the daughter of James and Alice Acton, and baptised at Arnold St Mary on 18 May 1868. In 1881 Harriet was living with her parents and siblings on High Street, Arnold; James was a coal merchant. Claude and Harriet were married at Arnold St Mary on 24 April 1894 and had two children, Marjorie Acton b. Bradford on 8 August 1896 (reg. 1897 J/F/M) and baptised at Heaton St Barnabus on 20 September 1896 and John Acton b. 1899 bap. Bradford on 29 January 1899. In 1901 Harriet and her children were recorded in her parent's home at 'Goodwood House', Cross Street, Arnold, while Claude, a commercial traveller, was recorded as a visitor at 3 Mapperley Road, Nottingham, in the home of Herbert Coates, a rope manufacturer, and his family. Herbert was probably a relative of his mother's and also his employer (see Probate details, 'Extra information'). Harriet died on 1 July 1907; the probate record gave her address as Lenton Sands, Nottingham. Neither her husband nor her children have yet been traced on the 1911 Census. Claude died on 2 July 1915; the probate record gave his address as Ivy Nook, Lenton. Probate was awarded to his widowed mother, Mary Ann Sykes. John named Mary Ann Sykes of 232 Derby Road, Nottingham, as his next of kin when he attested in September 1916. Mary Ann Sykes probably died in 1925 (O/N/D Nottingham). His sister Marjorie, a municipal clerk, was living at 232 Derby Road in 1939 when the England & Wales Register was compiled. Marjorie died on 5 August 1981.
He gave his occupation as clerk when he attested in September 1916 and was probably working for John Player & Sons.
16 Jun 1918
560288 - CWGC Website
65th Sqdn Royal Air Force
John attested in the Royal Flying Corps on 13 September 1916, aged 17y 260 days, and his service was reckoned from 24 April 1917 (76714 3/AM), trade 'misc. aviator.' However, he was discharged from the Recruits' Depot South, Farnborough, on 12 September 1917, 'his services being no longer required having been appointed to a temporary commission as a 2nd lieut. (on probation) on the General List with the Royal Flying Corps (Authy. WO letter 43/70/593MSK (504).' John was flying a Sopwith Camel (B7347) when he was killed on the Western Front on 16 June 1918. His body was reinterred in Heath Cemetery Harbonnieres, France, after the Armistice (grave ref. X.D.1). John served 222 days Reserve and 243 days with the Colours, a total of one year. He qualified for the British War Medal and Victory Medal. Sopwith Camel: British First World War single-seat biplane fighter aircraft introduced on the Western Front in 1917. The aircraft was developed by the Sopwith Aviation Company as a successor to the Sopwith Pup. CWGC - History of Heath Cemetery (extract): 'Harbonnieres was captured by French troops in the summer of 1916. It was retaken by the Germans on 27 April 1918, and regained by the Australian Corps on 8 August 1918. Heath Cemetery, so called from the wide expanse of open country on which it stands, was made after the Armistice, next to a French Military Cemetery, now removed. Graves were brought into it from the battlefields between Bray and Harbonnieres and from other burial grounds in the area, including ... [burial grounds listed].' (www.cwgc.org)
John is also commemorated on his mother's gravestone in Holy Trinity churchyard Lenton Probate: Sykes Harriett of Lenton Sands Nottingham (wife of Claude William Sykes) died 1 July 1907 Administration Nottingham 11 December to the said Claude William Sykes rope manufacturer’s agent. Effects £175. Probate: Sykes Claude William of Ivy Nook Lenton Nottinghamshire rope manufacturer’s agent died 2 July 1915 Probate Nottingham 21 July to Mary Ann Sykes widow [mother]. Effects £669.1s. 2d Probate: Sykes John Acton of 232 Derby-road Nottingham lieutenant in the Royal Air Force died on or since 16 June 1918 in France Administration (with Will) Nottingham 12 March to Marjorie Acton Sykes spinster. Effects £221 6s. 7d.
Remembered on


  • Buried in Heath Cemetery, Harbonnieres, France. (www.cwgc.org)
    John Acton Sykes - Buried in Heath Cemetery, Harbonnieres, France. (www.cwgc.org)