Pte. R. Pearson
FIRST NAMES: John Roland
UNIT: 17th Kings Liverpool Regiment
STATUS: Died of Wounds
DATE OF DEATH: 1st July 1916
CEMETERY OR MEMORIAL: St. Sever Cemetery, Rouen, France
Private Pearson was the eldest son of John and Margaret Pearson, and he lived at No. 3 Arncliffe Terrace, Northallerton. His initial is given as 'R' on the Memorial but his full name was in fact John Roland Pearson. It appears that he was generally known as Roland as this is the name which appears on the Order of Service for a Remembrance Service (spelt 'Rowland') which took place in Northallerton Church shortly after the Aristice had been signed.
Roland was educated at West House School in Northallerton, after which he moved to Liverpool to work for Messrs. J Rank, a firm of millers in Liverpool. His younger brother, Harry, was serving in the Navy and was also destined to lose his life when his submarine was lost in January 1918.
Roland was wounded during a German artillery bombardment of the Liverpool Pals' front line trenches at Maricourt on 27th June 1916 just a few days before he died, in hospital at Rouen, on 1st July, aged 35. He was suffering from shellshock and had been wounded in the shoulder and both legs were paralysed. It is ironic to record that he was one of only two fatal casualties sustained by the battalion on that day, a day when many less fortunate battalions were virtually wiped out in the first hour of the attack which marked the beginning of the Battle of The Somme. The other man from the Battalion who died on this day is also recorded as having died of wounds, which he received in the same artillery bombardment on 27th June.
The 17th Battalion took part in the fighting on 1st July and were fortunate to be taking part in the battle in a relatively successful attack in which the village of Montauban was captured. They were, in actual fact, on the extreme right of the British attack at the junction of the British and French Army, which also mounted a successful attack at the same time.