John Garner was born in Knutsford. He was one of five children born to George (a carter) and Annie Garner of 29, Tatton Street, Knutsford. John or Jack as he was known was first employed at Knutsfordâ€™s Steam Laundry before going to work at the Royal George Stables.His service records no longer exist but we know that he enlisted in the Cheshire Regiment in February 1916, becoming Private no. 35415, before transferring to the 2nd Battalion of the East Lancashire Regiment, becoming Private no. 28204.
John was killed in action on the 15th March 1917.
On that fateful day:
The official history of the Battalion tells of an action that commenced on the 4th March 1917.
˜The casualties on the 4th March (1917) and the following days amounted to 11 other ranks killed and 4 officers and 39 other ranks wounded.
The Battalion remained at ASQUITH FLATS until the 14th when it relieved the 2nd Northants in FRITZ and PALLAS trenches. The relief was particularly difficult: a thaw accompanied by heavy rain had succeeded the frost and the whole shell pitted area was a quagmire in which some men were so firmly bogged that they were not pulled out until the following morning.
The enemy withdrew slowly on the 15th and 16th covered by snipers, and by the night of the 16th/17th the 24th Brigade line was advanced to the BREMEN WOOD lane and BACCHUS trenches. That night the Battalion was relieved until March 25th, when it moved to MOISLAINS, now cleared of the enemy.
The Knutsford Guardian of the 6th April 1917 states:
˜Mr and Mrs George Garner, 29, Tatton Street, Knutsford, have been officially informed of the death in action of their son, Private John (Jack) Garner. He was 26 years of age and for several years worked at the Knutsford Steam Laundry, and afterwards for Messrs G. Hard and Sons, of the Royal George Stables, by whom and their customers he was regarded as a efficient and obliging workman. He enlisted in February last year in the Cheshire Regiment and went to the front on October 4th and was then transferred to the Lancashers.
He was in several engagements and after a spell in the trenches always made a point of writing home. The last letter so written was dated February 15th having then come from trench duty covering a period of 16 days. The official communication states he was killed in action on March 15th.
The article goes on to tell of his other two brothers who were serving in the army.
Researched and compiled by Tony Davies.