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  • Photograph published in the Mansfield Reporter, May 1915 and September 1915 (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk)
Person Details
Mansfield Nottinghamshire
Birth registered as John William, known as William. John William was the eldest son of John Edward and Mary Jane Fletcher (née Thrall or Thrawl). His father John Edward was born in Staffordshire in about 1869, the son of George and Ann Fletcher who were both born in Lincolnshire. In 1881 the family was living in Blidworth, Nottinghamshire; George Fletcher (45) was a farm bailiff and John Edward (13) a farm labourer (indoors). His mother Mary Jane was born in Dublin on 15 April 1868, the daughter of William Thrawl and Margaret (Evans). In 1881 they were living in Mansfield; Mary (12) was recorded as 'half day school/half day cotton mill'. John Edward and Mary Jane were married at Mansfield Register Office in 1886 (J/F/M Mansfield) and had six children who were all born in Mansfield: John William b. 1886 (A/M/J Mansfield), Avice Annie b. 1887 (O/N/D Mansfield), Eliza Ama (sic) b. 1889 (A/M/J Mansfield), George Edward b. 1890 (O/N/D Mansfield), Mary Kate b. 1895 (J/A/S Mansfield) and Margaret Elsie b. 4 December 1904 (O/N/D Mansfield). John Edward was employed by the Midland Railway on 24 February 1890 as a lamp porter at Mansfield station; he was still working for the railway company at the time of the 1891 Census. He and Mary were living off Queen Street, Mansfield, with their four children, John (4), Avice (3), Eliza (2) and George (under 1 year). By 1901 the family had moved to 4 Newcastle Street, Mansfield, and John (32) was working as a builder's carter. He and Mary (32) now had five children: John, an errand boy for a furniture dealer, Avice, Eliza, George and Mary (5). Also in the household was Mary's niece, Nellie Thrall (21), a machine minder at a cotton factory. In 1911 John, an 'oil van man', and Mary were living at 40 Harrington Street, Mansfield. Only four of their six children were in the home on the night of the census: Eliza (21) a laundress, George (20) a shoe hand (shoe manufacturer), Mary (15) a hand winder/cotton spinner at a cotton factory and Margaret (6). The eldest girl, Avice, had married in 1909 (A/M/J Mansfield) and John William had joined the York and Lancaster Regiment in 1904 and was serving in India. John Edward and Mary Jane were living at 2 Pickard's Yard, Stockwell Gate, Mansfield, by December 1915 when John William's possessions were returned to them. His brother George Edward married Minnie Wright in 1914 (J/F/M Mansfield) and they had a son, Ronald Edward, in 1915 (A/M/J Mansfield). George also served in the York & Lancaster Regiment and was killed in 1916. John William's service record contains a form listing his surviving blood relatives which was completed by his mother in April 1919. The document is badly damaged but it is clear that she named herself and her husband John Edward, both of 2 Pickard's Yard, Stockwell Gate, Mansfield, and their four daughters Avice (31), Eliza (29), Mary (25) and Margaret (14). Margaret was still living at home but the addresses of her sisters are unclear. However, Avice had married in 1909 and Mary in 1914 (Harry Reast). John Edward signed the receipt for John William's medals in 1921 but he has not yet been traced after this date. His wife Mary Jane died in 1936 (A/M/J Mansfield).
In 1901 he was an errand boy for a furniture dealer. He joined the army in 1904 and was serving in India with his regiment in 1911. He was a driver for the Mansfield Tramway Company when he was mobilized in 1914.
09 Aug 1915
1612579 - CWGC Website
York and Lancaster Regiment
'G' Coy 2nd Bn William enlisted in the York and Lancaster Regiment on 12 October 1904 on a 12 year engagment (3 years with the Colours, 9 years Reserve) although he later extended his service 'with the Colours'. He was 18 years and 5 months old and already serving in the 4th Notts Rifles. He joined the regiment at Pontefract on 14 October 1904. Home service counted from 12 October to 18 October 1906 (2 years 7 days) before the battalion was drafted to India where he served from 19 October to 11 October 1912 (5 years 58 days). He served at home from 12 October to 15 October (4 days) then transferred to the Army Reserve on 16 October. Home service in the Reserve was calculated from 16 October 1912 to 4 August 1914 (1 year 293 days). John William was mobilized on 5 August 1914 and joined the regiment at Pontefract. He served in France from 8 September 1914. A report in the local newspaper in May 1915 records a narrow escape he had while in the trenches when a shot fired by a sniper knocked the rifle out of his hands. John William was killed in the Battle of Hooge on 9 August 1915; he had served a total of 10 years 302 days. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial. He qualified for the 1914 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal.
His brother, George Edward, served with the 6th Bn York and Lancaster Regiment and was killed on 1 December 1916 (Thiepval Memorial). (See record on this ROH.) Mansfield Reporter, 28 May 1915 (photograph): Letters from the Front. Mansfield Man’s Narrow Escape. Private William Fletcher. Private William Fletcher, of the York and Lancaster Regiment, was, before the war, a driver in the employ of the Mansfield Tramway Company. As a reservist he was called to rejoin his regiment at the commencement of hostilities. After a short stay in Ireland he was sent to France, where he has been in the thick of it since the battle of the Marne. Six years he spent in India securing the much coveted gold badge for scouting, and he was employed on that work up to Christmas. Of late, however, he has been passing his time in the dangerous occupation of bomb throwing. He has had some very narrow escapes, but Dame Fortune has smiled on him up to now. Whilst speaking to one of his chums in the trenches he was spotted by a sniper, who had a go at him, and it was not a bad shot either, for his rifle was knocked out of his hands. The bullet, which did the trick, as he puts it, he has sent home to his people in Stockwell-gate. Writing home a few days ago, he expressed pleasure at the way Mansfield men had rallied round the flag, ‘but’, he added, ‘no single young men ought to hesitate to join the colours. I am proud to be fighting for King and country.’ (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) Mansfield Reporter, 3 September 1915 (photograph): ‘Mansfield Man Killed at Hooge. Private JW Fletcher. We regret to announce the death of Pte. John William Fletcher, of the 2nd York and Lancaster battalion, a son of Mr and Mrs Fletcher of Stockwell-gate. His father is a carter in the employ of Messrs. Pickard and Son. He was killed in action at the battle of Hooge, on August 9th. In a letter received, Lieut. Sim, officer commanding his Company, says: ‘It is with regret I have to inform you that your son, Private John William Fletcher, of the 2nd York and Lancaster Regiment, was killed in an attack on the morning of the 9th Aug. Perhaps it may be some consolation to you, in your sorrow, to know that he was highly esteemed by both officers and men, and died fighting for his country as every Englishman should,’ (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) Mansfield Reporter 31 Aug 1917: ‘Local and District News. For Those Who Have Fallen. A special service was held in the Leeming Street Primitive Methodist church on Sunday evening in memory of those associated with the church who had fallen in the war. The service was conducted by the Rev. Chas. F. Gill (superintendent minister). The names mentioned were: Harold Blythe, Wm Andrews, George Ed. Fletcher, William Fletcher, Fred H Tudge, Albert E Binch, Archie Draycott, Sam Bowler and Frank Weighell. Mr Gill delivered a suitable address, on the words, ‘He healeth the broken in heart.’ He urged his hearers to commit their loved ones, and also their own lives, to the keeping of the God of infinite tenderness, and so find consolation in the hour of trial. The service was very impressive.’ (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk)
Remembered on


  • Photograph published in the Mansfield Reporter, May 1915 and September 1915 (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk)
    William Fletcher - Photograph published in the Mansfield Reporter, May 1915 and September 1915 (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk)