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Born: 30 March 1889, Leeds
Died: 1 December 1917
Address: Brook House, Apperley Bridge (1911)
Parents: John Henry & Sara, nee McIntyre
Siblings: Stella, Donald, Elsie, Claire, Jasper, Edward
Occupation: Machine Maker
Rank: Capt
Rolls of Honour: Greengates, Tyne Cot
Regiment: Royal Fusiliers
John Walton Whitehead
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John Walton Whitehead, known as Jack, was born in Leeds on 30 March 1889, the eldest child of Holbeck-born wool and textile machine maker, John Henry Whitehead, and his Glasgow-born wife, Sara, nee MacIntyre. At the time of the 1911 census Jack, aged 22, and his six siblings were living with their parents at Brook House, Apperley Bridge along with two servants. We know very little about Jack’s war until a brief note in the Shipley Times & Express on 14 December
1914 which reads: “Lieut John W Whitehead R.F.A., killed in action, was the eldest son of Mr and Mrs J H Whitehead, Low Royd, Apperley Bridge. “He was 28 years of age and was connected with the firm of Taylor, Wordsworth & Co and was well known in Leeds and Bradford business circles.” Last letter Thanks to research done by David Whithorn, we also have the text of a letter Jack wrote to his sister Stella, dated Wednesday 28 November 1917, a few days before he was killed: “My dearest Stella, Many thanks for your letter. Also although I am late may I wish you many happy returns of your birthday. “I intended writing two days ago but we had to go ‘over the top’ again and only got back late last night. As usual a bad time but I came through it all safely. “Tomorrow I go up again to the guns. There are only two of us and all the new fellows cannot be left alone yet which makes it very hard.
“Eric Maufe was badly wounded yesterday and another officer killed today so all my friends are nearly gone. Still, expecting a rest which I need rather badly. Cannot sleep at all unless the doctor gives me something which is a nuisance. However looking forward to leave in a few weeks if all goes well. “Love to all. Your affectionate brother, Jack” Stella’s husband, Billy Knowles, who had himself been in the war, made inquiries about where Jack
had been buried and around 1924 Stella visited Vlamertinghe New Military Cemetery where she took a photo of his memorial (below left). David Whithorn writes: “As a school’s battlefield guide, I took Woodhouse Grove School on a battlefield trip in 2008. This school was both ‘Jack’s old school and my own… A special guest on this tour was Claire Sharples, Jack (and Stella’s) great-great niece.”
Greengates RoH Greengates RoH Greengates RoH Jasper M Whitehead Jasper M Whitehead Jasper M Whitehead