John Thomas Warwick was born in Old Whittington on 18th April 1889. He was the fourth child of John and Esther Warwick. Neither were local to Whittington, Esther came from Longton in Staffordshire and John came from Oxton Notts.
John was baptised at Old Whittington Church on 5th May 1889, the entry in the baptism register gives the address just as Old Whittington (and is badly fire damaged), but in 1891 the family were living at 99 Church Street.
On the 1891 census John senior’s occupation is shown as general labourer and it is recorded that both him, and his wife were born at Horncastle Lincs, however on subsequent census their birthplaces are recorded differently.
John started at Websters Endowed Mixed School at Whittington in 1892. The school was on Church Street and wouldn’t have been far from his home.
According to the school logbook he attended Whittington school until December 1895 when he was transferred, presumably to the Junior school.
By 1901 the family were still on Church Street at number 30, and John was now 12 years of age and listed as attending school.
The rest of the family were recorded on the next page.
In 1908 John married Elizabeth Ann Thompson ant Newbold church, his sister Harriet was one of the witnesses to the marriage.
The 1911 census shows that the couple were living at Brickyard Row, Sheffield Road, Whittington Moor and John was working in the pit. The couple now had two children James Arthur and Evelyn.
Sometime after this the family moved to Shirebrook and another child Thomas was born, in 1913. I assume John moved his family to Shirebrook to work at Shirebrook pit.
According to his service record when he enlisted he was living at Cavendish Street Shirebrook, houses which had been built for workers at the pit. Sadly the Service record consists of only one page, which is not very easy to read.
It does show he enlisted in Shirebrook in August, although the date is obscure. He joined the 7th Battalion Leicester regiment and his service number was 13729. He must have joined in August 1914 at the outbreak of war, as John’s medal card shows he actually arrived in France on 29th July 1915.
7th Battalion arrived in France on 29th July 1915 along with 6th Battalion, both attached to the 110th brigade of 37th Division. The Order of Embarkation for 37th Division shows that 7th Battalion Leicester Regiment went from Southampton to Le Havre on the first day, 28th July.
John Warwick’s first few days would have been spent marching from billet to billet. The men marched from Le Havre to Hazebrouck (approx. 150 miles), they had hourly rests every ten minutes and a two hour break between 12-2pm.
Below is the War Diary entry for 37th Division and the original sketch which was made to show the areas where 110th Brigade would be billeted, at the end of the 150 mile march!
Original sketch of the billeting area.
The first few weeks would have been spent in training for trench warfare, in readiness for what was to come.
On the 7th July 1916, 7th Battalion Leicesters were transferred with the Brigade to 21st Division. John would now be in the thick of things on the Somme battlefields. The Brigade was presumably transferred to re-enforce the losses incurred during the first few days of the fighting on the Somme.
There are no specific war diaries for 7th Leicesters on-line at the moment. However, Johns regiment would have seen action at the Battle of Bazentin Ridge, 14-17th July 1916.
By 13 July the British advance had taken it to a point where it was now facing the second German defensive system. A well planned and novel night attack on 14 July took British troops through that system in the area of Bazentin. There was a fleeting but lost opportunity to capture High Wood beyond it. (www.longlongtrail.co.uk).
John Warwick was killed in action (according to the medal card) on 25th July 1916, he was 27 years old. He is buried at St Sever Cemetery Rouen. This cemetery was used by camps and hospitals situated on the outskirts of Rouen, whether he died in a hospital from wounds or was definitely killed in action I cannot confirm at the moment.
Information on St Sever cemetery can be found at https://www.cwgc.org/find-a-cemetery/cemetery/16900/st.-sever-cemetery,-Rouen/
St Sever Cemetery Rouen https://www.ww1cemeteries.com
Grave picture taken from ancestry.co.uk
J T Warwick Derbyshire Times
The short obituary in the Derbyshire Times in August 1916 reads as follows:
“Private John T Warwick of the Leicesters, who has succumbed to wounds received in action. Private Warwick’s widow resides at 72, Cavendish Street, Shirebrook and is left with three young children. Prior to enlisting, Private Warwick was employed at Shirebrook Colliery”
John was awarded the Victory and British War medals and the 14/15 Star.
and is remembered on the Old Whittington and Brushes war memorials.
Johns younger brother Joseph joined up in February 1916, but happily he survived World War 1 to return to his family.
John’s eldest son James married and in 1939 was living in the Whittington area, his daughter Evelyn married and in 1939 was living in Hollingwood and youngest son Thomas was living in the Whittington area but was still single in 1939.