Burgess, John

John Burgess, Sapper 471686, 421st Field Coy, Royal Engineers
Killed in action 23rd January 1918 in France, aged 28

 

EARLY LIFE

Son of Lawrence Hidderley Burgess and Sarah Jane Burgess, of 9 Union St, Macclesfield, and husband of Mary Ann Burgess.

 

WW1 SERVICE

John enlisted in July 1916 and was drafted to France in April 1917.

John’s death was reported in the Macclesfield Times on 8 February 1918:

A GALLANT SOLDIER – ROYAL ENGINEER KILLED

News was received on Monday that Sapper J Burgess, Royal Engineers, son of Mrs L H Burgess, 9 Union St, Macclesfield, was killed in action on January 23rd. Major Lecker has written to the late soldier’s wife: “It is with the deepest regret and sympathy that I have to inform you of the death of your husband, who was killed in action instantaneously by a shell bursting near him on the 23rd inst. He was killed with two others who were with him, about two o’clock in the afternoon. We recovered his body and buried him today in the British Cemetery. A Roman Catholic padre conducted the burial service. Your husband was a gallant and efficient soldier, and his loss is deeply felt by the whole company. All the officers and men of the company join me in conveying to you our deepest sympathy in your sad bereavement.”

Sapper Burgess was 28 years of age and was educated at St Alban’s School and attended the Church there. Previous to joining up, he was employed by Mr M H Watts as a moulder, having been in his service since leaving school. He entered the Army in July 1916, going out to France in the April following. Sapper Burgess has three brothers serving – Pte T Burgess, Ches Regt; Pte W Burgess, Lancs Fusiliers; and Pte L Burgess, with the Territorials in Egypt. The two first named have been wounded and are now in England.

 

COMMEMORATION

Sapper John Burgess is buried in Grave Ref. I. F. 2. of the Cite Bonjean Military Cemetery in Armentieres, France. His father asked for the inscription ON HIS SOUL SWEET JESUS HAVE MERCY R.I.P. to be added to his headstone.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission holds casualty details for Sapper John Burgess, and he is listed on the Imperial War Museum’s Lives of the First World War website.

In Macclesfield, Sapper John Burgess is commemorated on the Park Green, Town HallSt Michael’s Church and St Alban’s Church war memorials, and on St John’s Church Roll of Honour.

 

NOTES

Brother of Thomas Burgess, who served as Private 49594 with the Cheshire Regt; Wilfred Burgess, who served as Private 203236 with the 5th Lancs Fusiliers, and later as Pte 73826 with the Royal Defence Corps; and Lawrence Burgess, who served as Private 290921 with the 7th Cheshire Regt. All three are believed to have survived the war.

 

SOURCES

WWI British Army Medal Rolls Index Cards
Commonwealth War Graves Commission website
Lives of the First World War website

Macclesfield Times: 8 February 1918, 23 September 1921 (photo supplement)

 


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