Long Bennington and the Great War – John Henry Kirton

John was born in Long Bennington on 1st October 1891, the only child of George Kirton and Annie (née Steemson).

The 1901 census has the family living on Main Road in Long Bennington, with George working as a builder.  The family were also listed in the 1911 census as living in Long Bennington and by that year John was working as a builder’s improver.

In 1914 John married Florence Harrison in Collingham and their eldest son Dennis was born later the same year.

John enlisted with the Royal Medical Corps, Private 26048 and was in France by 20th November 1915.  It looks as though he served at the 18th General Hospital at Camiers, just north of Étaples.

In April 1916 he was admitted to 18th General Hospital as a patient suffering from a fever; he was in hospital for three days before being discharged but was in hospital again for a few more days at the end of July with inflamed tonsils and again in November with influenza.

During September 1916 John was promoted to Lance Corporal and there was a further promotion to Corporal in the first half of 1917.

In May 1917, John sustained fractures to an ankle and was transported back to the UK on the Hospital Ship Brighton.

At the end of the war John was awarded the Victory Medal, the British War Medal and the 1914-15 Star.

Between 1921 and 1931, the electoral register records John at Main Road in Long Bennington.  He and Florence had three more children after the end of the First World War:  Donald (born 1929), Sheila (born 1930) and Clive (born 1939).

In May 1925 John enlisted as a Sergeant, regimental number 4968311, with the Territorial 8th Battalion, Sherwood Foresters (Notts and Derby Regiment), his occupation being given as master builder.  Records of the Battalion show that in May 1937 John was on Coronation Duties in London for George VI.

John’s wife, Florence, died in 1940 at the age of 46.  John was discharged in August 1941, being deemed no longer physically fit enough for army duties and he died at age of 58 in January 1950.

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