John Ratcliffe was born in 1895 in Bradford the youngest of four sons of Sam and Clara, nee Horsfield.In 1911 John, at 16 years of age, was working as a dresser for a warping manufacturer. At the time of his enlistment he was working for Messrs Thomas Ambler at Valley Road.John enlisted in September 1914 as Private C/997 in the 16th Battalion of the King’s Royal Rifles and at some point in his service he was promoted to Lance Corporal. His battalion landed at Le Havre on the
17th November 1915 and in March of 1917 we learn he was suffering from trench feet. However, he returned to the front and was killed in action on the 13th of April 1918 during the actions in the spring of 1918.John is remembered on the Ploegsteert Memorial which commemorates men who died in this sector and have no known grave. Most of those commemorated by the memorial did not die in major offensives, such as those which took place
around Ypres to the north, or Loos to the south. Most were killed in the course of the day-to-day trench warfare which characterised this part of the line, or in small scale set engagements, usually carried out in support of the major attacks taking place elsewhere. He left his effects to his mother Clara who received £7.17.6d on the 30th August 1919 and a War Gratuity of £16.0.0d.
Researched and written by Jean Britteon, to whom many thanks