John Everard Green was born on 25th October 1894 at Doe Lea Derbyshire. His parents were John Green and Ellen (Carter) Green, Johns occupation was miner. Young John was baptised at Ault Hucknall on 27th November 1894.
By the time of the 1901 census John’s father had died and his mother Ellen was the head and recorded as a widow. John is aged 6 and listed as a schoolboy, he had three older brothers Albert, Arthur and Fred, all were already following in their fathers footsteps and working in the pit.
Sadly there are no school records for John on-line and the next available record is the 1911 census. The family are still living at Doe Lea and all four sons, including John at 16 years of age, are now working in the pit. According to his obituary John was working at Glapwell Colliery before he enlisted.
At some point John must have decided on an army career. Checking the dates the regimental numbers were issued in the Sherwood Foresters regiment, it would appear that John enlisted between February 1913 – February 1914, well before the start of War. His regimental number was 12068 and he joined the 2nd Battalion Notts and Derbyshire.
The 2nd Battalion, under orders of 18th brigade in 6th Division, landed at St Nazaire during September 1914, John disembarked on 8th September 1914.
The Battle of the Aisne 10th -13th September 1914 was the beginning of trench warfare on the western Front, whilst John Green didn’t take part in that particular action he would have taken part in the Action on the Aisne Heights on 20th September 1914. This is an excerpt taken from the Buxton Advertiser 14th November 1914 under the heading “Germans Fly at the Sight of Cold Steel” by Alfred Bignall Private 9463 2nd Battalion Sherwoods.
“It was on September 20th that the Sherwood Foresters left the Scots Guards in the trenches and retired for a much needed rest. About 10 o’clock a superior number of Germans broke through and the order was given for the Foresters to retake them. Pte. Bignell said they crept along the ground fifty yards at a time.
At last came the bayonet charge, and when the Germans saw the Foresters coming they screamed like children and ran. Three machine guns were captured by the Sherwoods, who had to pull the German dead out of the trenches before they could use them themselves. His description of the charge was: ‘The men were yelling like a lot of hooligans as they charged amid a hail of bullets. You do not think of anything but simply go forward.’ Pte. Bignell added that when shells are whistling over the trenches the favourite remark of the Sherwoods is ‘Duck your nut!”
John certainly had a baptism of fire and his next taste of front line action would be the Battle of Armentieres 13th October – 2 November 1914.
The British 6th Division was forced back to the thick red line (map www.longlongtrail.co.uk)
Premesques, Ennetières, Wez Macquart and Radinghem all fall into enemy hands and will remain so until 1918.
According to John’s obituary he was wounded five times during his time in the trenches and he was serving in the trenches on his 21st birthday, 25th October 1915.
John returned home, either on leave or when he was wounded, and at the end of 1916 he married Eliza A Whitton in Chesterfield. In September 1917 the couple welcomed a son John G E Green, whether John would have met his son I think would be unlikely, as he was killed in action on 12th October 1917.
At some point, and probably when he was recovering from being wounded, he was transferred to 10th Battalion Notts and Derbyshire. Sometimes men were transferred if they had received special training or most probably he was transferred to make up the numbers after the Battalion had suffered heavy casualties.
The first Battle of Passchendaele (a phase of the third Battle of Ypres) took place on 12th October 1917. The 17th Division were involved in this phase and the 10th Battalion Sherwoods were attached to the 17th. John would have been at the forefront of the action. Passchendaele was one of the bloodiest Battles of WW1 and was fought in terrible conditions.
The War Diaries for the 10th Battalion record that the days leading up to 12th October were spent marching into their positions. On the 11th orders were received from Brigade for an attack. The Battalion closed in to position at dark.
A condensed version of the war diary for 12th October 1917 –
‘The zero hour for the attack was 5.25am, by 4.45am the Battalion was formed up in front of the road. Our first objective Berther Farm was reached at 6.40am without having received any opposition. A few prisoners were taken from Senegal Farm and a few from Berther Farm. The final objective was reached at 7.30am. A little opposition was given at Gravel farm. The number of German prisoners who passed Battalion HQ during the day was 9 officers 250 other ranks. The enemy attempted three counter attacks during the day, all of which were dispensed by machine gun fire and artillery fire.
Number of casualties during the day were Officers killed 2 wounded 4, OR killed approx. 15 wounded 150’.
The Third Battle of Ypres was classed as an allied victory, but the cost was high. 320,000 Allied casualties and approximately 260,000 German casualties.
John E Green was one of those Allied casualties, he was killed in action on 12th October 1917, just short of his 23rd birthday. According to another soldier in his Battalion, Private W Tunnicliffe, a shell burst between them and in his opinion Private Green was killed.
(A full transcript of the obituary can be read at the end).
Picture Derbyshire Times 19th January 1918
He left behind his wife and baby son, according to the obituary they were living at Sheepbridge at the time of John’s death.
John’s body was never recovered and he is remembered on Tyne Cot memorial, the memorial has the names of nearly 34,950 men of the British Empire who died in Belgium and have no known grave. More information can be read at
Tyne Cot memorial photo CWGC.org
Although it doesn’t show on his medal card John was awarded the 14/15 Star along with the British War and Victory medals.
John is remembered on the Brushes memorial.
Transcript of obituary for John Green Derbyshire Times 19th January 1918
Mrs F Walton of Doe Lea Cottages has learned that her younger brother Private J E Green No. 12068 attached to the Sherwood Foresters has been killed in action. Private Green enlisted in the Notts and Derbys before the war broke out and was serving at the time. He is 21 years of age and was in the trenches on his 21st birthday. He had been previously wounded five times. He leaves a widow and one child who reside at Sheepbridge. Canon Fowler vicar of Heath, who is ever ready to help, received the following confirmation from the Rev. J Wallace (C of E chaplain attached to 8th Gloucester regiment BEF). Enquiries have now been made and it appears that Private Green was last seen by 71261 Pvte W Tunnicliffe now on leave, who stated that a shell burst between them and that in his opinion Pvte Green was killed. The battalion was making an attack at the time. As a boy Pvte Green was employed as a pony driver at Glapwell Colliery.