2nd Lieutenant John Francis HORSFIELD


Regiment/Service:
Manchester Regiment
Unit:
6th Battalion
Service Number:
n/a
Date of Death:
26 July 1917 - Killed in Action
Age:
29
Cemetery / Memorial:
Grave Number:
I. F. 16.


Personal History:

John was born on 22nd January 1887 at Terrace Road, Buxton, the son of Emma Millicent Horsfield, later of "Wood Cliffe," Dale Road, Buxton, Derbyshire, and the late John Horsfield (Accountant) who died in the December quarter 1913.
In 1901 they lived at 19 Bath Street, Buxton. John had three older sisters, Gertrude, Annie and Ada E., and a twin brother Arthur. (RG 13/3270). John was educated at Lady Manners School, Bakewell, Derbyshire, before studying at Manchester University and joining the O.T.C. In 1911 (Census RG 14/21243) the family were at 18 Bath Road, Buxton, and John was employed as an "Architect and Surveyor". At the time of his enlistment he was 5' 9" (1.75 m.) tall. He was unmarried.

Military History:
The 6th Battalion, The Manchester Regiment, was a pre-war Territorial unit. Many of its members held "white collar" positions employed by the City's legal, financial and stockbroking practices or worked for the major commercial organisations.

Having been a member of Manchester University's O.T.C., John enlisted into the 2/6 Battalion as a 2nd Lieutenant on 27th October 1915 (London Gazette, 13 December 1915.) and  'The Buxton Advertiser', reporting confirmation of his death on 18th August 1917, stated that he went to France in December 1916, ultimately seeing action as a member of the Brigade Staff.

He was killed in action on 26th July 1917 - the Certificate of Death in his Service papers only says "in the field" and "in Belgium". He left 113.6s.0d (113.30) in his will to his widowed mother. The same 'Advertiser' report indicated that "It appears he was in a place of perfect safety, when he saw his men in danger he rushed out whilst heavy shell fire was going on, to get them under cover, when a piece of shell struck him, death being instantaneous." It also reported that when the telegram arrived at his mother's to notify her of his death she was out, posting a letter to him.

His Company Captain wrote: "For over two years our friend and brother Officer, John Francis Horsfield, has been with us, and since his advent until the sorrowful departure now, he has filled us with the greatest admiration for him.

And now he rests in the quiet soldiers' cemetery, his beautiful life and devotion to duty play fresh in our memories as legacies from him who was loved by all the battalion. For the whole Company, Officers and men I am conveying to you their sincere sympathies with you in the loss of one who was so highly esteemed."

Sources:
· I am grateful to the British War Graves for the photo of John's grave
· John's photo is from an album of Capt B.S.Hoare taken when he was serving with the 2/6th Battalion, before he moved to the Grenadiers Guards.
   He took 140 pics of the Battalion between 9th July - 5th Nov 1916. (By courtesy "Monsstar" - Great War Forum)
· I am grateful to Roy Sellstrom BEM for the copy of John's Service papers.
· The Buxton Advertiser - 18 August 1917


Link to CWGC Record
2/Lt Horsfield's grave at Coxyde
2/Lt J F Horsfield
poppy