Private John Morten BAINBRIDGE


Regiment/Service:
Army Service Corps
Unit:
630th Motor Transport. Company
(Attd. 28th Motor Ambulance Convoy)
Service Number:
DM.2/129563
Date of Death:
26 May  1918 - Died
Age:
32
Cemetery / Memorial:
Grave Reference:
3. A. 22.


Personal History:

John was born on the 3rd June 1885, the eldest son of Joseph Walter (Coach Proprietor) and Mary (née Howe) Bainbridge of 'The Prince of Wales', Fairfield Road, Buxton (1891 Census RG 12/2779) and 34/36 Spring Gardens, Buxton (1901 Census RG 13/3270). He had 8 younger siblings, Arthur, Joseph William, James Henry, Walter Adam, Mary, Thomas, Clara Annie and Reginald.
In 1911 (Census RG 14/21240) the family were at the same address and John was employed as a 'Postman' an occupation he had begun as a trainee in 1902. He had been appointed Assistant Postman in 1904 (London Gazette 23rd February). At the time of his enlistment he was living with his parents at 8 Fairfield Road, Buxton. He was 5' 10½" (1.79 m) tall and weighed 9 st. 11 lbs. (62.14 kgs.).

In reporting John's death The Buxton Advertiser stated that he had four brothers serving - three in France and one in England. (There are a number of possible 'Arthur's, although bearing in mind the other brothers' history he was probably a Corporal in the Army Service Corps, like John. Brother Joseph went to France on 5th December 1914, also with the Army Service Corps; James was also in the A.S.C. as was Walter.)

Military History:
John enlisted in Buxton on 18th September 1915, and was sent on the 21st  to Osterley Park for training. On the 17th November 1915 he passed the 'Motor Learners Test' (Certificate A). His Service papers show that he spent the next 2 years 106 days in England before, after 5 days leave (1st - 5th December 1917), boarding ship for "Mesopotamia", on 1st January 1918, arriving 45 days later, on the 8th February. Most of his time in the Army up til then had been spent on "Police Duties", according to 'The Buxton Advertiser' spent in London. He received one charge for "Neglect of duty whilst in charge of a prisoner thereby allowing him to escape" on 23rd July 1916, for which he was 'Confined to Barracks' for 8 days.

The journey to the front was very fragmented, hence the length of journey over 6 weeks). The first stage was on board the HMT Caesarea, from Southampton to Cherbourg (2nd - 3rd January), then on to Taranto. On 15th January he transferred to the HMT Abbasich for a four day journey to Alexandria. On the 22nd they embarked from Suez to Karachi on the HMT Balkara, arriving on the 5th February and on the same day embarking the HMT Varsova, finally arriving in Bombay on the 8th February.

John spent some time at the A.S.C. Depot, Bangalore, before being posted to 630th Motor Transport. Company (Attached to 28th Motor Ambulance Convoy) in Rawalpindi on the 2nd March 1918. However, on the 25th May 1918 John was admitted to the Station Hospital, Rawalpindi suffering from Heatstroke and died the following day. His Service Papers state that he " .. was admitted unconscious with a temp of 109º. Heart very feeble pulse barely perceptible : Ice Packs : Ice baths : Ice water enema. Strychnine; Intra muscular quinine. Patient died 1 a.m. 26.5.18". 

The Rawalpindi War Cemetery, where John now lies, contains the burials of 357 dead of both wars, including the period after the First World War until 1921 while the operations continued on the north-west frontier. Quite a few were victims of heatstroke, sickness, influenza, malaria and other local ailments during leave or while on training. Fatalities due to heatstroke were a common occurrence, but these soldiers were accorded the proper committal rites by their comrades and kinsmen, according to their faiths. 

Sources:
· 'The Buxton Advertiser' 15 June 1918
· 'The Buxton Advertiser' 29 June 1918
· I am grateful to The War Graves Photographic Project for the photo of John's grave

Link to CWGC Record
John Bainbridge's grave
Private Artemus Bagshaw
poppy
Pt. John Bainbridge