Private John Henry Archer, 9611

  • Batt - 1
  • Unit - Leicestershire Regiment
  • Section -
  • Date of Birth - 1895
  • Died - 17/11/1915
  • Age - 21

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Source: Michael Doyle Their Name Liveth For Evermore: The Great War Roll of Honour for Leicestershire and Rutland.
He was the son of Allen Walker Archer a Colliery Getter, born 1867 in Desford, Leicestershire and his wife Elizabeth, born 1870 in Devonport, Devonshire. John Henry was a Below Ground Pit Pony Driver, born in 1895 in Desford, Leicestershire, his siblings were Frederick, born 1897, Winnie, born 1898, Henry, born 1900, Fanny, born 1900, Sarah Ann, born 1903, Polly, born 1905, George, born 1908 and Hilda May, born 1910, all the siblings were born in Desford, Leicestershire, in April 1911 the family home was at Desford, Leicestershire. The War Diary records that on the 13th November the Battalion moved to Canal Bank 2 Coys east bank (A & C), B Coy 2 Platoons Burgomaster Farm (X), 2 Platoons A Camp wood A.30 near Poperinghe, D Coy in Cats Farm (H) (near Vlamertinghe). The entry for today reads:- Germans active with shell fire. One shell nearly knocked out one of our machine guns, killed 2 and wounded 1 of the team. Casualties A Coy 1 killed, 1 wounded. B Coy 1 killed, 1 sick. D Coy 1 wounded, 1 sick. Transferred to 71st Inf. Bde., (6th Division), in place of 8th Bn. Bedfordshire Regiment (to 16th Inf. Bde.). (71st Inf. Bde. 1st Bn. Sherwood Foresters) (from 18th Inf. Bde.). 9th Bn. Norfolk Regiment, 9th Bn. Suffolk Regiment). 1st East Kent Regiment (Buffs) relieved us, and we went forward to re-entrench between the Wieltje and Forward Cottage salients. Distribution. B Coy, ½ D Coy front line. C Coy and ½ D Coy in X line and St. Jean Defences. A Coy Canal Bank. Machine guns to billets in Poperinghe. We took over this time from 9th Bn. Norfolk Regiment trenches fearfully wet and quite impassable in places. Communication trenches between X line and front line impassable.

Source: Leicestershire War Memorials Project.
Coalville Times article - Friday January 21st, 1916


Mr A. Archer, of Hill Entry, Desford, whose son, Private J. W. Archer, of the 1st Leicesters, has been killed in action, has received a profoundly sympathetic letter from Lance-Corporal S. T. Newcombe, of the 1st Leicestershire Regiment, who has been wounded.

The Lance-Corporal states that Archer was in his section and speaking of how deceased was killed, he says, “They (the Germans) bombarded our trenches practically all day. About 2.15 in the afternoon of November 17th we were well concealed in the trench. A shell burst, and all that I can remember is hearing it burst, and being thrown along the trench. When I came to myself I found I was wounded in the right arm and hand. As soon as I could walk I went to see how the others were. All I could see was a heap of earth and sandbags. Jack’s head was first uncovered, but he was not dead. He was bleeding very heavily owing to a severe wound in the head. He was unconscious, and he remained so until he died.”

“But I am pleased to inform you,” continued the writer, in simple, yet touching words, “that he was a very good man, and never failed to do his duty. He was respected by all who came in contact with him – officers and men – and we miss his presence.”

Lance-Corporal Newcombe adds that he has just come out of hospital. He lost the use of his right hand for a time, but he is glad to say he feels the benefit of the operation he has undergone

Research undertaken and submitted by Andy Murby, 11/10/2017

Leicestershire Project Findings
  • Conflict - World War I
  • Burial Place - F 16, La Brique Military Cemetery No.1
Research from Michael Doyle's Their Name Liveth For Evermore
  • Unit - Leicestershire Regiment
  • Cause of death - KILLED IN ACTION
  • Burial Commemoration - La Brique Mil. Cem. No.1, St Jean-les-Ypres, Belgium
  • Born - Desford, Leicestershire
  • Enlisted - Leicester
  • Place of Residence - Hill Entry, Desford, Leicestershire, England
  • Memorial - DESFORD MEM., LEICS

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