John Edward Stoneley/Stonier, Private 1711, 1/5th Battalion, Cheshire Regiment
Died of wounds 23rd October 1915 in France, aged 20
Served as John STONIER; named on official records as Stoneley, Stonley and Stonier.
John Edward Stoneley was born on 24 December 1894 and baptised at St Alban’s Church on 3 February 1895, the son of Rebecca and John Edward Stoneley, a quarryman of Macclesfield. In 1901, six year old John was living at 1 court 2 house Chatham Street with his mother and siblings Sarah Ann (8) and Fred (3); his father was not at home on census night.
Ten years later in 1911, the family had moved to 40 Stanley Street and included two more children, Kathleen (6) and Harold (4). John and his brother Fred had left school and were employed as ‘paper stainers’ – most likely printing wallpaper.
John enlisted with the 7th Cheshire Regiment in 1913 and was mobilised at the start of the war. After undergoing training, he volunteered to be transferred to the 5th Cheshire Regiment in January 1915 and was drafted to France with 100 others from the 1/7th regiment. The Regiment landed at Le Havre on 14 February 1915 and proceeded to the Somme area of northern France.
John was in the bombing section and his group had just come off night duty, bringing the unused bombs back with them, but the bombs were not returned to the correct place and must have been kicked, causing them to accidentally explode. John died of his wounds at the nearby dressing station on 23rd October 1915, aged 20.
Private John Stoneley is buried in grave ref. C. 4. in the Suzanne Communal Cemetery Extension at Suzanne, The Somme, France. His father asked for a cross and the following inscription to be added to his headstone: “EVER REMEMBERED BY FATHER, MOTHER, SISTERS AND BROTHERS”
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission holds casualty details for Private John Stoneley.
Brother of Frederick Stoneley, who served as Private 1760 with the 1/7th Cheshire Regiment in Gallipoli and survived the war, and son of John Stoneley, who served with the 2nd Cheshire Regiment in France and had previously served in the South African war.