War Memorials in Sowerby, North Yorkshire

 John Henry North

3rd April 1892 - 27th September 1918 (age 26)

Private 22237
2nd Bn. Coldstream Guards

Charles North probably suffered a childhood illness, which severely affected his hearing. At the age of 11, he was living in Harrogate as a pupil at a "deaf and dumb institution", and in later life, his census records show him as "deaf and dumb through illness". He married Mary Ann Pawlett a native of Sowerby, and they lived at 25 Victory Row, which was the end house of that terrace, and had side windows looking out onto the little park in front of the Flatts. Charles was employed as a painter at Messrs A.C.Bamletts, agricultural engineers of Thirsk.

John Henry was the eldest of Charles and Mary's three sons and three daughters. He was admitted to Sowerby Junior School on 1st December 1899 when his name was given as Henry. He was also known as "Harry" by some family members. After school, he worked as an apprentice at a foundry and later as a Police Constable (PC 230) with North Riding
Constabulary. John Henry enlisted into the 2nd Bn. Coldstream Guards at Middlesbrough and gave his place of residence as Sowerby.


John Henry North - from a family member

On 27th September, the battalion was in trenches near Lagnicourt in northern France. After parading at 1.30am they marched to an assembly area near Louverval and took part in an attack on the German lines in conjunction with the 2nd Bn. Grenadier Guards and the 1st Bn. Irish Guards. The battalion lost six other ranks killed, 11 missing and 38 wounded. John Henry was one of those killed and he lies at Sanders Keep Military Cemetery, Graincourt-Les-Havrincourt, Pas de Calais, plot II.F.2. The cemetery looks back over the ground which the soldiers would have crossed, including the canal (at the time unfinished and dry) which had formed part of the German defences.


John Henry North's grave - right of front pair

John Henry is also remembered on a memorial tablet now located at the North Yorkshire Police Headquarters in Northallerton.

John Henry's brother William also served in the War and he was wounded on 3rd October 1918, only 6 days after John's death. William had suffered a gun shot wound to the left wrist and was taken to a hospital in Chatham where he stayed for 46 days until the wound had healed. William was awarded the Military Medal, and according to family legend, he was a stretcher bearer and although shot through the wrist he kept on going out to no-man's land and bringing in the injured and dead.

The information on this page was compiled by Steve Billings.

Information about John Henry North on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website

Information about John Henry North on the War Graves Photographic Project website

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