Whewell, John James

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John James Whewell

M2/079423, Acting Corporal, Royal Army Service Corps MT
Died of illness, 3 November 1918, aged 27
Buried at St. Sever Cemetery Extension, Rouen, France

CWGC registered (Son of James William and Mary Ann Whewell, of Radcliffe, Manchester; husband of Primrose Jones [formerly Whewell], of 6, Madoc St, Llandudno)

John James Whewell was the son of James William Whewell, a baker’s carter, and his wife Mary Ann Whewell (née Vose). He was born at Radcliffe, Lancashire on 3 January 1891. The Census of 1891 records that John had a brother Thomas and a sister Annie – another sister Nellie was born a couple of years later. James Whewell died in 1903 and his wife died in 1906. The Census of 1911 records John employed as a waggoner on a farm at Ringwood, near Frodsham, Cheshire.

On 3 November 1914, John Whewell volunteered at Llandudno to serve in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers. He was allocated to the 14th (Service) Battalion, then forming in the town, and given a regimental number of 20023. He was discharged on 3 April 1915 as medically unfit for further service – the actual cause is illegible. Undeterred, John volunteered to join the Army Service Corps (Military Transport) on 22 April 1915 at Coventry and joined at Grove Park, Lewisham the following day. Interestingly, on his attestation paper his answer to the question about previous military service was “Yes, R Wel F (Corporal)” which may have been a little economical with the truth. He gave his home address as “2 Tynewydd Cottage”, Old Road, Llandudno and his trade as a motor mechanic. His new regimental number was M2/079423. John sailed from Southampton on 26 May 1915 although his initial posting in France was cut short because he caught bronchitis in July 1915 and was repatriated to England on 25 September 1915.

On 23 December 1915, John Whewell married Primrose Miriam Jones, sister of Frederick William Jones (qv), at St. George’s Parish Church, Llandudno. He gave his residence as 2 Tynewydd, Cottage and his age as 21 though he was in fact three years older. Primrose, claiming to be 20, was actually 18.

John Whewell sailed back to France on 16 August 1916 and appears to have been a lorry driver attached to various anti-aircraft companies. He enjoyed two periods of leave and was given small promotions, achieving acting corporal on 4 June 1918. Whilst attached to “M” Anti-Aircraft Battery, John Whewell contracted bronchial pneumonia and died on 3 November 1918 aged 27 at the 1st Australian General Hospital at Rouen. He was buried at St. Sever Cemetery Extension, Rouen.

In May 1920, Primrose Whewell sailed to New York with an ultimate destination of Villanova, a suburb of Philadelphia. She returned to 25 Madoc Street, Llandudno in May 1922 and sailed back to the USA the following October. She married Charles Francis McCann the same year at Philadelphia. She died in October 1976.

Known memorials:

  • Llandudno Roll of Honour
  • Llandudno War Memorial
  • Memorial Chapel, Holy Trinity Church, Llandudno
  • Radcliffe War Memorial

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