John Wynne Hughes was born in Birkenhead, Cheshire, early in 1896, the son of John Wynne (or William, records vary) Hughes and Elizabeth Ann (née Turvey). Ancestry trees show his birthdate as 2nd February. His father , born in Holywell, and his mother , born in Rock Ferry, married in a civil ceremony in 1894.
John was the second of nine children, and the eldest son; he was known as Jack. He had an older sister Margaret, younger sisters Gladys and Gwendoline, and younger brothers George, Edwin, Herbert, and Ronald. Another sister, Elizabeth, died in infancy. The family moved from Birkenhead to Liverpool in about 1897.
In 1901 the family is living at 99 Burleigh Rd., Everton, with three children. His father is a chemist’s manager, Margaret is 6, John is 5, and George is 1.
By 1911 they have moved to 37 Albany Road, Kensington, Liverpool and have eight children at home. His father is 51, a chemist’s dispenser, his mother is 40. Margaret, 16, is a draper’s apprentice, John is 15, employed as a junior clerk/office boy in a caterer’s. George is 11, Gwladys 9, Edwin 8, Gwendoline 6, Herbert 5, and Ronald is 2. (The family lives next door to the Schofields whose son Charles, 23979 20th Bn, was two years older than John, and was killed at Guillemont on 30/7/1916.)
John enlisted in Liverpool as Private 22893, 20th Bn, King’s (Liverpool) Regiment. Unfortunately his service record has not survived so the details are not known, but based on the amount of the War Gratuity, he served over four years, and enlisted in November 1914.
Formed in November 1914 the 20th Battalion were originally billeted at Tournament Hall, Knotty Ash before on 29th January 1915 they moved to the hutted accommodation purposely built at Lord Derby’s estate at Knowsley Hall. On 30th April 1915 the 19th Battalion alongside the other three Pals battalions left Liverpool via Prescot Station for further training at Belton Park, Grantham. They remained here until September 1915 when they reached Larkhill Camp on Salisbury Plain. He arrived in France on 7th November 1915.
The battalion saw action at the Somme in 1916. At some point, John was transferred to the 11th Bn K.L.R. and subsequently to the 19th Bn, Lancashire Fusiliers, with the regimental number 62687.
John was wounded in action and died of his wounds on 21st November 1918 at Trouville Hospital in France. Trouville-sur-Mer is on the coast not far from Le Havre, which suggests John was to be evacuated to the U.K.
CWGC gives his age as 23, but from the birth registration he would have been 22, which agrees with the age stated in the family newspaper notice.
John now rests in Tourgeville Military Cemetery, where his gravestone inscription reads:
“IN LOVING MEMORY FROM ALL AT HOME
PEACE PERFECT PEACE”
Notices were placed in the Liverpool Echo 25th November 1918:
“November 21, of wounds, at Trouville Hospital, France, aged 22 years, Private John Wynne Hughes, Lancashire Fusiliers (late “Pals”), eldest son of J. W. and E. A. Hughes, 37 Albany Road, Kensington, Liverpool. (Deeply mourned).”
“November 21, died of wounds, Private John W. Hughes, the dear friend of Mrs. Schofield and family. (One of the bravest.) Ever remembered by all at 35 Albany Road, Kensington.”
“November 21, died of wounds at Trouville Hospital, France, Pte. J. W Hughes (Jack), late “Pals”. - Sadly missed by May and all at 8, Lowther Street, Liverpool.”
His father died just weeks after his son’s death, in February 1919, aged 60.
John earned his three medals. His mother, living at 37 Albany Road, Kensington, Liverpool, received John’s Army effects of £44-11s-11d, as well as a War Gratuity of £23-10s, and a pension of 8/- a week. His mother appears to have lived a long life, and lived through WW2.
Sadly, John has not been found on any memorial.