Story
Underage Soldier John Gordon Lawton

Underage Soldier John Gordon Lawton

submitted by Pat McNeill, daughter of John Gordon Lawton

When war broke out John was just 15 years old.  A year later, after reaching his 16th birthday, John decided to enlist with the King’s Liverpool Regiment.

John’s Service Number was 095806, he served with the 12th Battalion, which was sent to France in July 1915. John may have seen action in Battles of the Somme in 1916 and in the Third Battles of Ypres in 1917. Little is known about John’s military service. He served in France for the duration of the war, only returning home in 1919 after a phased demobilisation of the Division.

While in France John sent postcards home to his mother. When he came home after being demobilised John had brought two German shell cases with him. These were around 14 inches high and made of brass. John’s mother, Martha, polished one and placed it by the fire for the poker to rest in.

Upon returning home, like many men, young John never spoke about his experiences in France; he went back to work for the family building firm until he met his future wife and decided to become more independent. In 1927 John married Mabel Alicia Trimble, the couple would have two daughters. john was very sporty and played for football and cricket teams. The photograph shows Richmond Baptist Church Cricket team – John is second row, second seated from right.

It was thought that only one of the embroidered silk postcards John sent home had survived, but daughter, Pat, found two others, although only one postcard has any writing on the reverse.

John was 87 years old when he died – “A good family man, a good husband and a good father” as Pat recalls.

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