Sefton, John Frederick
Sefton, John Frederick

John Frederick Sefton served in both World Wars. He was born on 24 March 1897 in Colne. His father was William Sefton (b. 1870 in Preston), an overlooker in a cotton mill. His mother was Jane Ann Bowerbanks (b. 1868 in Blackburn). William and Jane were married in 1894 and they had four children: Evelyn (b. 1896), then John, then Bernard (b. 1898) and William (b. 1902). In 1911, the Seftons were living in Alston, near Longridge, and John was working as a tenter in a cotton mill.


John first tried to enlist on 11 November 1914, in the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, and he was briefly assigned to 2/4 Battalion but he was underage. He enlisted again in 1916, this time with the Machine Gun Company. On his attestation papers he gives his occupation as mechanic, so he is no longer working in the mill. And the family had moved to 366 St George’s Road, Preston. John was assigned service number 34349 and posted to 134/MGC. He was promoted to Sergeant. 134 Brigade MGC fought in Mesopotamia and Egypt. They were attached to 7th (Meerut) Indian Division which served in Mesopotamia from September 1916 to December 1917 and from the beginning of 1918 to the end of the War they were in Egyptand Palestine.  John was discharged on 4 April 1919, and was awarded a disability pension, having suffered damage to his ears. Sadly, John’s father died just a week before he was discharged.


In 1923, John married Henrietta Margaret Mavis Collins (b. 1900) (known as Margaret), and the following year, they had a son, Frederick Kenneth. By 1939, the family had moved to Wrenalls Lane, Eccleston, where the couple ran a small poultry farm and sold local farm produce. Later, the family lived at 89 Stanifield Lane, Farington where John continued to work as a poultry farmer.

John joined the RAF Volunteer Reserve. He was a Leading Aircraftman and he had service number 1697559. He was sent to work at RAF Ringway – the airbase that later became Manchester Airport. Ringway had two main purposes during the War: first as a training school for 60,000 allied paratroopers, and also responsible for the development of parachute equipment drops. Its second purpose was the building of Fairey and Avro warplanes – more than 4,400 warplanes were built at Ringway between 1940 and 1945.


I haven’t been able to trace the precise nature of John’s service during the War or his job at Ringway. He died from acute myocarditis (heart failure, often the result of a viral infection) at Sharoe Green Hospital on 2 March 1944, aged 45.


Rank: Leading Aircraftman

Service Number: 1697559

Unit/Regiment: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve

Date of death: 02/03/1944

Age: 45

Cemetery: PRESTON (NEW HALL LANE) CEMETERY

Cemetery Reference: Sec. D.D. R.C. Grave 528.

Additional Information: Son of William and Jane Sefton; husband of Margaret Sefton, of Farington.

Sefton, John Frederick

Sefton, John Frederick