John William Hagan


Private 27538, 15th Battalion Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire Regiment (Sherwood Foresters)

Died 19th August 1917 aged 20

Buried Villers-Faucon Communal Cemetery, France

Son of John and Annie Hagan

Lived 6, Upper George Street, Heckmondwike

Private John William (Willie) Hagan was born in Liversedge on 4th December 1897, the son of John Hagan and Annie (nee Curran) of Gas Street who had married at Birstall Parish Church. Their son was baptized John Willie Hagan at Westgate Congregational Church in Heckmondwike on January 2nd 1898.

By 1911 and at the age of 14, John William was employed as a Bobbin Doffer in a Worsted Mill and living with his mother, siblings and Scottish grandmother in Gas Works Street, Liversedge. His father was employed as a Warehouseman for a Woollen Manufacturer and was lodging at the “Victoria Lodging House” at 31, Leeds Road, Dewsbury, on the night of the census, where 93 other men also lodged, perhaps to be close one of the large Dewsbury Mills. The family later moved to 6, Upper George Street, Heckmondwike.

John William enlisted in Dewsbury into the Sherwood Foresters (Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment) at first in the 11th Battalion moving later into the 15th.

The Battle of the Somme commenced on 1st July 1916 and John was wounded at some time during that battle. He recovered and was sent out to the front again in the 15th Battalion. His service record has been destroyed, but the movements of the battalion were recorded.

" August 1917. Much of the time spent at camp in the early part of the month was spent in training and preparations for an attack planned to knock out a dangerous position in the German Lines called Knoll.

17th August. Moved via Longasvesner and Villers-Faucon to near St Emile.

18th August. Moved to assembly position for an attack on the Knoll.

19th August 1917. A successful attack. Began at 4am and took the trenches, consolidated the positions gained and built a bombing block. Casualties 25 killed, 53 wounded, 2 died of wounds and 5 missing."

The Cleckheaton and Spenborough Guardian newspaper reported on Friday September 14th “Private John William Hagan, son of Mr and Mrs Hagan of Upper George Street, Heckmondwike, has been officially reported to have been killed in action in France. He was twenty years of age, and joined the Notts. & Derby Regiment in June of 1915, and had been in France about eleven months. Prior to enlistment, he was employed by Messrs. Smithson & Gledhill, dyers of Ravensthorpe. He was wounded in the battle of the Somme.”

The Villers-Faucon Communal Cemetery contains the graves of 227 soldiers who died between February and August 1917. John William's grave stone is on Row E 52 and marked as "J. W. Hagan died 19th August 1917".{KH-063}

Medals: British War and Victory Medals

Locally commemorated: in the Vellum Roll of Honour and on the Green Park Memorial in Heckmondwike.

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