Published By John Davies
John was the eldest of his siblings. Born in 1882 at Oswestry – there were seven children, with the youngest Albert born in 1900. Their father, David, was a stone sawyer. In 1891 they were living at Hughes Yard on Llys Lane and by 1901 had moved to 25 Upper Church Street. Their mother died in 1902 and some time after the family moved to 19 Orchard Street; by this time John had left home and joined the army.
John likely joined up in about 1899 when he was 17. He served in the King’s Shropshire Light Infantry and did tours of duty in India and the Far East. His obituary records that he served 15 years in the KSLI; this is probably his combined service in the regulars and then; after discharge, in the territorial or reservist forces. By 1907 it seems he was back in Oswestry and married Martha Ellen Steenton at Holy Trinity Church – Martha was the sister of Private 5947 Alfred Steenton. In 1911 John and Martha were living at Chapel Place off Chapel Street, Oswestry. They had a child, Alfred, born in 1908 – very possibly named after Martha’s brother.
At the outbreak of war they were living at 31 Beatrice Street. John was working as a bricklayer and labourer for Oswestry Corporation but, as a former soldier, he would have been on the reserve lists and was consequently mobilised in August 1914 joining 3 Bn Rifle Brigade. The battalion went over to France on 10 September 1914. He was wounded in February 1915 having a gun shot wound to a hand. The battalion was then posted in the Armentières sector. By July 1915 the battalion had moved to the north eastern sector of the Ypres salient and had spent the month on working parties, digging trenches interspersed with duty in the front line. John died of wounds at No 4 General Hospital at Versailles on 31 July 1915 and is buried in nearby Les Gonards Cemetery. It is not possible to say when he was wounded; during the month there had been a steady attrition of casualties with 32 men wounded. In the days preceding 31 July, four riflemen had been wounded and it is possible he was one of them.
A fourth brother, Samuel Henry Hughes, served with 4 Bn Cheshire Regiment, he was wounded and reported missing in August 1915 but survived the war.
Brother in law to Private 5947 Alfred Steenton
Acknowledgements. Jayne Quince (nee Hughes) – family.