Rolls of Honour: Holy Trinity, Idle; Upper Chapel, Idle,
John Pitts was born around 1874 and by the time of the 1881 census his widowed mother, Anne, aged 31, had four children to look after, John being the eldest at 7. They were living at 7 Well Fold, Idle.Ten years later Anne too was dead and John had been taken in by his uncle and aunt Fletcher and Ellen Baxter, who lived in Westfield Lane, Idle.By 1901 they were living at 48 High Street, Idle, when the household also included the Baxter’s daughter Mary and her husband, professional cricketer, Harry Riley.
John was described as a stone labourer and by 1911, living at 35 Westfield Lane, he was given as a bricklayer.On 16 November 1917 the Shipley Times & Express reported:Pte John Pitts, nephew of Mr and Mrs Fletcher Baxter, with whom he resided, has been killed in action.The dead soldier was a bachelor and although over military age, he considered it his duty to
join up before married men were compelled to go.After a few weeks’ training he went to France with the West Yorks Regt on 5th April 1915 and took part in many important engagements.He was a keen student and was well informed on the questions of the hour. He was a staunch Unionist and was a member of the Conservative Club.One of a family of five who were
left without parents when Pte Pitts was a few years old and he was adopted by Mr and Mrs Baxter. His father was a master plasterer.The following week, the newspaper added: In regard to the death of Pte John Pitts (nephew of Mr and Mrs Fletcher Baxter of Westfield Lane, Idle), who has been killed in action in France, his Captain writes: ‘I was very sorry indeed to learn from your letter that Pte J Pitts has died of his wounds. Pte Pitts was one of the best men in the company and is loss is a severe blow to the company as a whole and especially to me as Company Commander.’