1885 - 1916
CPL David Wallace Crawford
1887 - 1916
Lce-Corpl John Joseph Nickle
1894 - 1916
Pte 17911 Morton Neill
1897 - 1916
Lieut Edward Stanley Ashcroft
1883 - 1918
Pte 15695 John Almond
- Age: 30
- From: St Helens, Lancs
- Regiment: The King's (Liverpool Regiment) 17th Btn
- K.I.A Thursday 12th October 1916
- Commemorated at: Thiepval Memorial
Panel Ref: P&F1D8B &8 C.
John was born on the 5th May, 1886 in St Helens and resided in Liverpool and was the son of John Almond and his wife Elizabeth Helsby (nee Littler) of St Helens.
The 1891 Census shows the family are living at the Windleshaw Abbey Inn, Hard Lane, St Helens. His father John is 47 years of age whilst his mother Elizabeth, born in St Helens in 1852 is 39. John is 4 years of age and his siblings listed are; Catherine 15, Thomas 12, Matthias 11, Joseph 9, Mary 1 and Ann just 2 months old.
By the time of the 1901 Census the family are at the Abbey Hotel on Hard Lane, St Helens. John is now 14 and is employed as a clerk in a municiple office. His existing six siblings have been added to by the birth of Minnie who is 7 years of age.
The 1911 census shows the family have moved from St Helens and are living at the Dog and Gun Inn, Carr Lane, West Derby, Liverpool. His Mother Elizabeth is the head of the household and her occupation is shown as Licensed Victualler. John is now 24 and is a manufacturers clerk. Of his siblings; Thomas is aged 32, born 1879 and is a Joiner, Matthias aged 31, born 1880 occupation Carman, Mary aged 21 born 1890 is a School teacher, Annie aged 20, born 1891 and Winifred aged 17, born 1894 have no occupation listed.
John enlisted on the 2nd September, 1914 at St George's Hall in Liverpool, joining the 17th Battalion of The King's Liverpool Regiment as Private 15695. He is shown as being aged 28 years and 122 days and gave his occupation as a Clerk. He was 5 foot eight inches tall, weighed 150lbs, fresh complexion, blue eyes, brown hair and gave his religion as Roman Catholic. He was billeted at Prescot Watch Factory from 14th September 1914, he trained there and also at Knowsley Hall. On 30th April 1915 the 17th 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.
30.07.16: Wounded to Field Ambulance. ?.... Head transferred to 5 C.C.S.
31.07.16: Hospitalised at Boulogne.
07.08.16: Rejoined unit.
02.09.16: Granted 1st Good Conduct Badge on completion of two years service.
John was killed in action on the 12th October 1916 aged 30 during the Battle of the Transloy Ridges which was part of the ongoing Somme Offensive.
17th Bn War Diary: Battle of Transloy Ridge –
11-10-16 - Gird Trench/Gird Support – Battalion in front line and support trenches. British bombardment of enemy front line system commenced about midday. Hostile shelling was intermittent throughout the day.
12-10-16 - Our bombardment continued. Enemy reply weak. 2.5 p.m. Zero hour. Attack on German front line system commenced. Enemy wire was found to be uncut and attack was unsuccessful. Hostile machine gun fire was very heavy and caused many casualties. Battalion H.Q. and Support Trench were heavily shelled throughout afternoon and evening. […] During this action all communication had to be carried out by runners and carrier pigeons as all wires were being continually cut by enemy shelling.
Casualties: 5 officers killed, 5 officers wounded, 38 OR killed, about 225 OR wounded/missing etc.
Graham Maddocks, in “Liverpool Pals” p.140, adds: “As the whistle blew, the 17th Battalion left its trenches to move forward. […] As soon as the attacking waves left their trenches the enemy artillery began to register on them, and at the same time, the defending infantry commenced a murderous rain of fire. […] Although their numbers had been depleted by the British bombardment, they were trained and experienced soldiers, well dug in on high ground, and for the most part, looking out on uncut wire. As such, it was virtually impossible for them to miss the City Battalion men struggling to advance in the mud towards them. The 17th Battalion, on the left, was particularly badly hit, as its portion of No Man’s Land contained a slight rise in the ground, and as the troops emerged onto it they were silhouetted against the sky and became easy targets. Those on the left of the attack, who managed to avoid the hail of bullets and make it to the German wire, then found that it was totally uncut, and thus trapped, they too became easy targets, to be picked off almost at the enemy’s will. It was hardly surprising that, seeing the first waves being wiped out, some of the following waves turned back and made for their start lines. These lines were now packed with other waves of troops, however, and the fleeing men added to the congestion already there, and became easy prey for the German gunners. There is some evidence also, to suggest that at this stage, the British trenches were also being hit by their own heavy artillery shells which were falling short.”
John has no known grave and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, France.
He is commemorated on Pilkington’s War Memorial.
Grateful thanks are extended to the St Helens Roll of Honour website for their kind permission to use the photograph of John.