Pte. J. Horner



UNIT: 2nd East Lancashire Regiment

STATUS: Killed in Action

DATE OF DEATH: 23rd October 1916

CEMETERY OR MEMORIAL: The Thiepval Memorial

AGE: 21

John Horner was the son of Ellen Johnson and the stepson of Arthur Johnson of the Kings Arms in the High Street, Northallerton. Ellen and Arthur were married in Northallerton on 16th August 1908, at which time Arthur was a farmer. His natural Father, who had died some time previously, was called Tom. It appears that his Mother and Stepfather subsequently moved to the Old Royal George at Morton-On-Swale as this is their address in the CWGC records.

John was originally reported as Wounded and Missing but his parents had to wait until September 1917 before he was officially listed as Killed in Action, as it was the Army's usual policy with those posted as missing, to wait a year before officially presuming them to have been killed.

He went missing, aged 21, during the Battle of the Somme in an attack by the 2nd East Lancs. on a trench called Mild Trench which was about 800 yards North - East of Gueudecourt, just off the road between that village and the village of Beaulencourt. At this stage of the battle the weather had been very wet and this, combined with the effects of the fighting, had turned the ground into a quagmire. A great many of the dead and wounded fell into shell-holes or simply drowned in the mud and were never seen again. As he was originally reported as 'wounded and missing', a survivor of the attack must have seen that he was wounded, and it seems likely that John Horner succumbed to his wounds on the battlefield and his body was lost in the morass. He has no known grave and his name is commemorated on the Memorial to the Missing of the Somme at Thiepval.