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On this Day in History & as we approach Remembrance

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For information – The broken shards that appear in this photograph were found lying in the Churchyard of St John the Divine, Burwardsley. This find, prompted a community initiative to have a Roll of Honour installed within this historic church on the Cheshire Sandstone Ridge. The shards have now been removed and the headstone replaced. The name of Private Tydd now appears on the new Roll of Honour that is housed within the Church.

This morning, we feature the story of John Thomas Tydd, the son of Edwin and Hannah Tydd. John was born in 1886, was baptised at St Alban's Church on 27 June 1886 and was one of 12 children born to Edwin and Hannah.

The family lived on Burwardsley Road, and in his youth John was a labourer at the Tattenhall Road Boneworks. The Boneworks was a major employer at that time in processing animal by-products into bone meal fertiliser, as well as the production of glues, gelatine and fats.

In 1902, John (aged 16) attempted to enlist into the Royal Welch Fusiliers (RWF) but was rejected for being under age. He successfully enlisted in 1905 and stood at 5ft 5ins in height, weighed 10st 3lbs, with a 39ins chest. His early service was in India and Burma.

In 1914, John married Gwladys Wright in Holy Trinity Church, Gwerstyllt, near Wrexham.

That same year, Britain entered the Great War. John mobilised at Wrexham and on 6 August was posted to France (sailing on the SS Glengariff).

Military records give a glimpse of 'times past' and of the service undertaken by local men and women.

John, serving in the 2nd Battalion RWF, arrived in Rouen on 12 August. Over the coming weeks, the Battalion pushed forward, arriving at La Boutellerie on 22 October. They took up an entrenched position near La Cordonnerie Farm.

It would appear from the War Diaries and Intelligence Summaries of the 2nd Battalion that shelling was slight on 1 November with 'rather more shrapnel than usual before dark'. The following day, the 'enemy shelled a good deal to the rear (of the Battalion)'. On 3 November, however, 'a Patrol surprised the enemy' – a few managed to get back themselves. The records state that 'the trenches were very heavily shelled during the day'.

It was during this heavy shelling that Private John Thomas Tydd was killed on 3 November 1914 along with another comrade, Private W Miles – 11 others were wounded. It was a year to the day since John had re-engaged for service. He was first buried at La Cordonnerie Farm Cemetery. After the Armistice, the graves were removed to the Pont-Du-Hem Military Cemetery, La Gorgue.

John is remembered in France, in Tattenhall, in Burwardsley, in Hope and in Gwersyllt.

dawn in the sandstone ridge landscape
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