16730 PTE. J. H. PARK. K.O.R.L.R.
John Henry Park was born in late July or early August 1887 in Pilling, where he was baptised on 15 August. His father Robert Park was a blacksmith (b. 1859 in Pilling). His mother was Ann Hornby (b. 1850 in Pilling). Ann was previously married in 1871 to Matthew Higginson and they had four children: Edward (b. 1871), John (b. 1873), Mary (b. 1875) and Alice (b. 1877), before Matthew died in 1878. Ann then married Robert Park in 1880 and they went on to have 6 children: Richard (b. 1880), William (b. 1881), Margaret (b. 1884), John Henry, then Elizabeth (b. 1891), and Jane (b. 1893). Ann died in 1902 and two years later Robert married again, to Margaret Duckworth (b. 1873 in Woodplumpton) and they had a son, Robert Gordon, in 1910. During this time, the family had moved from Pilling, via Woodplumpton and Kellett Lane in Bamber Bridge, to Lostock Hall, where in 1911 they were living at 26 Black Lane (now Brownedge Road). John Henry was a fitter working in the same iron foundry as his father. At that time the household consisted on Robert and his young wife, John Henry and his two younger sisters (the girls were weavers), and their one-year-old step-brother.
The 2nd Battalion of the King’s Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment) was originally formed in India in August 1914 and returned to England in December that year, then landed at Le Havre on 16 January 1915 and by early April had moved to Ypres. John Henry joined the Battalion on 28 April 1915, by which time they were already in the trenches. The War Diary says: 21 April – 3 May: Battalion in the trenches in front of Zonnebeke. During this period, B, C and D Coys were heavily bombed on several occasions, losing heavy casualties. A more concerted German attack was launched at 7am on 8 May, when the enemy shelled the trenches, blowing them in and rendering them untenable. The enemy advanced and captured the front-line trenches. They then advanced against the support dug-outs. The Battalion managed to prevent the Germans from taking the dug-outs and by mid morning they had withdrawn, but during this attack John Henry was killed. His war had lasted little more than a week. He was 27 years old. His body was never found and he is commemorated at the Menin Gate Memorial in Ypres. His effects, £3 4s 9d, and a War Gratuity of £3 were returned to his father.
316 men from 2nd Battalion were killed that day. Only 10 bodies were recovered for burial. The rest lay where they fell.
Service No: 16730
Date of Death: 08/05/1915
Regiment/Service: King's Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment), 2nd Bn.
Panel Reference: Panel 12.
Memorial: YPRES (MENIN GATE) MEMORIAL