9697 Pte John William LEDGER M.M. 2nd Battalion York and Lancaster Regiment
John William LEDGER was born in 1890 at Attercliffe, Sheffield. The census records place him at Bright Street, Attercliffe with his parents Joshua and Rhoda in both 1891 and 1901. He had 2 brothers and 1 sister. At the turn of the 20th century the Attercliffe area of Sheffield was one of heavy industry and it is at one of the foundries that John was employed as a labourer.
On the 1st February 1910 John entered service with the York and Lancaster Regiment, attesting at Pontefract.
By 1914 he had been placed with the 2nd Battalion York and Lancaster regiment and on 8th September 1914 entered France as part of the British Expeditionary Force. By this time his family can be shown to now be living at Greystock Street, Attercliffe.
During the month of April 1916 the battalion were in the Ypre salient where they were in frequent contact with the enemy in tit for tat assaults and raids on opposing positions. From the 19th April – 24th April a concerted effort was made to turn out the enemy from positions of advantage they had gained from our forces and it was during this period that John was wounded in his right leg by a bomb and was awarded the Military Medal for gallantry. There was plenty of trench fighting and I suspect that reference to a bomb is likely to mean what we now call a grenade.
An entry in the battalion war diary would read thus:-
Having been evacuated back to England John would now spend time recovering from his wounds in the Haxby Road Military Hospital, York. John was a proud man and like so many soldiers who made it back from the horrors of that war did not speak of what he had endured. However his granddaughter does recall him once telling that he was awarded the military medal for going to the aid of a wounded officer.
He would receive his Military Medal whilst in the UK and was eventually invalided out of the service being discharged to civil employment on 11th October 1917. He was awarded the Silver War Badge 330927 and took up a position at the Tinsley Rolling Mills.
The award of the Military Medal appeared in the London Gazette on the 3rd June 1916.
John passed away in 1955. He has no permanent resting place, instead in accordance with his wishes he was cremated and his ashes scattered at his favourite place, a fishing spot in Lincolnshire. God rest his soul.
You saw, you felt, you knew full well, as friend and foe were taken
By bloody death, that your life too, was forfeit and forsaken
Yet on you went and fought and tried, in your close and private hell
For Mate or Pal or Regiment and memories never to tell
It was for each other, through shot and shell, the madness you endured
Side by side, through wound and pain, and comradeship assured
No family ties, or bloodline link, could match that bond of friend
Who shared the horror and kept on going, at last until the end
We cannot know, we were not there, it’s beyond our comprehension
To know the toll that battle brings, of resolute intention
To carry on, day by day, for all you loved and hoped for
To live in peace a happy life, away from bloody war
I would like to thank the grand children of John for assisting with this fitting memory of him.
This memorial is therefore dedicated to June, Vicki and Paul