Biddulph & District Genealogy & Historical Society Biddulph Grange

Biddulph and the Great War

'There Shall Be In That Rich Earth A Richer Dust Concealed'

'We Will Remember Them'

John Flemming

Killed 1917


The above name and date appears on the Brindley Ford memorial (above) and appears to have been added at a later date above the original engraved WW1 names.

The British Legion, (in their folder on WWI soldiers from Brindley Ford, which is deposited at the Methodist Chapel, suggests that this soldier was known as Gunner Jack Flemming, Royal Artillary who was killed in action on the Somme. His home address was Victoria Row and he had attended Brindley Ford day School and the Brindley Ford Methodist Church.

The following citation has been found:

This, however, is no means certain, as a James Flemming was killed on October 16th 1917 and it would appear that the above citation refers to him. James Flemming was of Banteer, Cork and had no connections to North Staffordshire that we can discover.

The census of 1911 shows only one John Fleming living in the area, at 143, Brown Lees Road. However, this John was only ten years old in 1911, maybe rising eleven, but this would have made him only 16 or 17 in 1917 and born in about 1900. No birth is registered in the period 1889-1901 on Staffordshire or Cheshire BMD for John Flemming/Fleming. In 1901 there were two John Flemmings in Tunstall, (one of whom was killed in action), both born in Tunstall and seemingly having no connection with Brindley Ford.

This John Fleming was Lance Corporal G/20207. He is remembered on the Tunstall War Memorial and in Abbeville Communal Cemetery.

There was a birth for a John Flemming registered in Leek in 1894 (LE/49/029) but this John’s war records are available and it appears he survived the conflict.

Therefore, possibly, our John was the son of Charles Flemming and his first wife Mary, née Edwards. They had married in St. James’, Newchapel in 1888. Records indicate that Mary died in 1901, a date which seems to coincide with the birth of John so she could have died in childbirth. In 1901 the Flemming family were living at ‘The Huts’, Dirty Lane, Brown Lees. This included Charles’ father Ralph, a widower, his brother Ralph, sister Hannah (baptised St. Lawrence March 4th 1896) as well as his wife Mary and children Charles Edward, Fanny, Ralph and John (another daughter Jane had died before her second birthday in 1899). There was a Charles Edward baptised in St. Lawrence on July 23rd 1893 as son of Giles and Mary Fleming. (Ought this ‘Giles’ to have been recorded as ‘Charles’ in the parish register as nothing at all has been found for a Giles?) In 1911 father Ralph was living at 124, Brown Lees Road and grandson Ralph was with him. In 1903, Charles married his second wife Hannah Barlow, née Wright, at St. Thomas’, Mow Cop.

Without any evidence it would appear that John enlisted when under age. The surname seems to undergo various spellings: Fleming(s), Flemming(s). No war records have been located for John. He is remembered on the Brindley Ford Memorial and if he was Private 19892 Royal Field Artillery, in Vraucourt Copse Cemetery, Vaulx-Vraucourt, Pas de Calais, France. If not, then I can find no other memorial.

Elaine Bryan.

A list of all the medals awarded to the men of the Biddulph area has been compiled and can be viewed here.


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