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  • Commemorated on the Arras Memorial, France. (www.cwgc.org)
Person Details
Boston Lincolnshire
John Robert was the son of John Robert Watkin and Elizabeth Watkin (née Hawes). His father John Robert was born in 1859 in Whaplode, Holbeach, Lincolnshire, the son of Edward Watkin, an agricultural labourer, and his wife Sarah. His mother Elizabeth was born in King's Lynn, Norfolk, in 1858 (bap. St John the Evangelist September 1858), the daughter of Benjamin Hawes, a brush maker, and his wife Elizabeth. John and Elizabeth were married at Boston St Botolph in March 1878, both were twenty years old. They had seven children, two of whom died in childhood: Ellen Priscilla b. 1879, Maud Flaxmore b. 1881 d. 1886, John Robert b. 1884, Edward b. 1886 d. 1893, Walter, Gertrude b. 1892 and Bessie b. 1894. All the children were born in Boston. The family was recorded in Boston on the 1881-1901 Census. However, by 1911 John and Elizabeth had moved to Awsworth and were living on Main Street with their youngest daughters Gertrude, a laundry worker, and Bessie, a hosiery winder. Their eldest daughter, Ellen, had married Charles Henry Skinner in 1898 and although they were living in Boston in 1901 they too were now living in Awsworth (Crown Street) with their three children; another child had died in infancy. The youngest son, Walter, was a cowman at Main Farm, Awsworth. John Robert jnr. had married Margaret Scully (b. Ilkeston, Derbyshire, December 1887), the daughter of Martin and Sarah Scully, in 1908 (reg. Basford). John and Margaret had three children, one of whom died in infancy: Kathleen b. Awsworth 1909 (J/A/S), John b. 1913 and Ivy L. b. 1914 d. 1915. The two youngest children were born in Yorkshire (reg. Hemsworth). In 1911 John, a coal miner, his wife and their daughter Kathleen (1) were living at 16 Cambridge Street, South Elmsall, Yorkshire. They later lived at 205 Grimethorpe Street, South Elmsall. Following her husband's death, Margaret was awarded a pension of 22 shillings and 11 pence a week commencing 26 November 1917. The amount was increased to 35 shillings and three pence on 11 October 1918. John's parents continued to live on Main Street, Awsworth, until their deaths. Elizabeth died in 1920 and her husband in February 1921; both were buried in Awsworth St Peter's churchyard. John's widow probably married Fred Green, a miner/hewer, in 1920 and in 1939 when the England & Wales Register was compiled they were living in South Elmsall. Margaret probably died in 1946 (reg. Sheffield).
1901 Census (Boston): 'bar boy' railway; his father was a labourer (railway). 1911 - coal miner
03 May 1917
776145 - CWGC Website
205 Grimethorpe Street, South Elmsall, Yorkshire. Enlisted South Kirkby, Yorkshire
2/5th Bn King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry
CWGC and other military records: served as John Watkin. Formerly 3377 Private, 2/5th Bn. KOYLI. A Territorial Force battalion, the 2/5th Bn. King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry was formed at Doncaster on 10 September 1914 as a second line unit. It moved for training to Bulwell, Nottingham, in March 1915 as part of 187th Brigade, 62nd Division. The battalion served in the UK until 15 January 1917 when it landed at Le Havre for service on the Western Front. John Robert Watkin was killed in action on 3 May 1917, the first day of the Battle of Bullecourt in which the 2/5th Bn. took part. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Arras Memorial, France (Bay 7). Battle of Bullecourt (part of the flanking oprtions round Arras), 3-17 May 1917: 'The division spent the preceding 17 days in rehearsals and the whole division attacked in waves behind tanks and a heavy barrage, with 187 Brigade on the left. The first wave (the two battalions of York & Lancasters) advanced at 03.37 (eight minutes before Zero) to cross 900 yards (820 m) of No man's land, with 2/5th KOYLI under Lt-Col W. Watson and two companies of 2/4th KOYLI in support. They reached the first German line but had lost cohesion before they reached the second. Brigade HQ ordered a second attack in two waves, but this 'ended miserably in shell-holes' and at about 16.00 the division withdrew to a railway embankment where it was relieved. It was not until 17 May that the division finally cleared the village, and operations against the Hindenburg Line continued until 28 May.' (Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/5th_Battalion,_King's_Own_Yorkshire_Light_Infantry)
Remembered on


  • Commemorated on the Arras Memorial, France. (www.cwgc.org)
    John Robert Watkin - Commemorated on the Arras Memorial, France. (www.cwgc.org)