John Willie DEAN
John Willie Dean was born in Shelf and according to the 1911 census was living at 12 Northern Street, Queensbury with his mother Ada Brearley who was married to Frank Brearley, he also had an older sister and brother. John then aged 14 was a worsted spinning doffer. At the time of enlistment he was employed as a plush cutter.
He attested on 27th November 1915 and was posted to the 21st Battalion. West Yorkshire Regiment (Prince of Wales’s Own) who were a pioneer battalion. He disembarked in France on 15th June 1916 serving until 18th August 1917, his documents show that he returned to England due to medical reasons, ICT hip (Left).
John was at his Battalion’s depot on the 19th August 1917 and was then posted back to France on 5th December 1917. He was transferred to the 2nd/4th Battalion. York and Lancaster Regiment (Hallamshire T.F. Battalion) on the 13th August 1918. John was killed in action on 2nd September 1918, aged 21.
The Battalion attacked the enemy trenches at Vaulx Vraucourt on 2nd September. Moving forward at 02:30hrs they were subjected to enemy gas shelling at 04:00hrs and at 05:30hrs, Zero Hour, they went into action. The war diary gives a full account of the action and records the following:
Officers Killed 2 Wounded 5
Other Ranks Killed 28 Wounded 146 Missing 32
Several Trench Mortars, 30 Machine Guns, 3 Field Guns
Prisoners 9 Officers 236 Other Ranks
John is buried at VRAUCOURT COPSE CEMETERY, VAULX-VRAUCOURT, (I. B. 5).