John Thomas Tydd was born in April 1886 in Tattenhall, Cheshire, and was baptised in Tattenhall on 27th June the same year . He was one of what would become 12 children of Edwin & Hannah Tydd. Edwin, a native of Tattenhall, married Hannah (nee Wright) of Cefn, Near Wrexham, Denbighshire in St Albans’ Church, Tattenhall in the last quarter of 1883
In the census of 1891 the young John was living with his parents and 3 siblings in a property near to Windmill Farm in Tattenhall. His father was a general labourer.
In 1901 the growing family were still living in the same property as in 1891, on Burwardsley Road near to Windmill Farm. John was now 15 years old, and on the Census that year his occupation was listed as “Labourer at Boneworks”. This was most likely at William Rigby Smith & Sons, Tattenhall Road Boneworks. They were a major employer in the area at this time, processing animal by-products into bone meal fertiliser, as well as the production of glues, gelatin & fats.
In 1902 John, age 16, attempted to enlist into the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, but was rejected for being under age.
On 1st February 1905 in Wrexham, now aged 18 years & 10 months and a bachelor, John was now able to enlist into the RWF. On his attestation he is listed as a ‘Farmhouse Labourer’ and was still living with his parents and siblings in Tattenhall.
On enlistment John stood 5ft 5 and a half inches tall and weighted 10st 3lbs with a 39ins chest. He had a fresh complexion, brown hair & grey eyes, and had a circular scar on his left knee as well as a mole on the front of his right shoulder. He stated his religion as Church of England.
His first year in the army seemed uneventful except for in April 1905 being hospitalised in Wrexham for 7 days suffering from influenza. Following his recovery he was transferred to 1st Btn RWF. However, on 11th November that year, he was charged with 2 offences. The first for breaking out of barracks after tattoo until apprehended 1hr 45 minutes later, and the second offence of being drunk. For these offences he was punished 3 days confined to barracks.
In 1906 while in Aldershot, he spent 12 days in hospital with a sebaceous cyst in his ear.
On 9th January 1907 John was then transferred to the 2nd Btn RWF and despite his previous misdemeanour in 1905 he was, on the 1st February, awarded the first of his 2 Good Conduct Badges. Later this year he sailed on the R.I.M.S. Northbrook to serve in Burma. He was to remain serving overseas in Burma and India until late 1912. During his time in Burma, on 1st February 1910 he received his second Good Conduct Badge.
On the 1911 Census he and his Regiment were recorded stationed in Quetta, Balochistan, British India (now part of Pakistan).
In 1912, and still serving in Quetta, John’s documentation was updated ready for his transfer to the Reserve. There was a ‘Sobriety Certificate’ indicating his commanding officer was of the belief he had not be under the influence of alcohol for the past 3 years. On his ‘Proceedings on Transfer to the Army Reserve’ document, it was stated that he was considered a 1st class shot, and had exemplary conduct with no offences during the last 7 years, and was thoroughly reliable. He was declared transferred to the Army Reserve on 11th November, 1912, with all relevant paperwork completed by the end of December that year.
In October of 1913, John received a letter from the Army asking if he would be “desirous of re-engaging for a further period of twelve months” as his current period of engagement would end on 11th November of that year. This letter was sent to John at his new address of Woodland View, Cefn-y-Bedd, Nr Wrexham – a small cottage near the New Inn pub. He responded by return indicating he would be ‘quite willing’ to re-engage. He re-engaged on 3rd November 1913.
In 1914 John married 23 year old Gwladys Wright in Holy Trinity Church, Gwersyllt. She and her family lived near to Woodland View, in Cross Street Cottages.
On 5th August of that year, the day after Britain entered the war , John mobilised at Wrexham and was posted on 6th to France. The 2nd Btn RWF proceeded to France on 11th August, sailing on the S.S. Glengariff, arriving at Rouen on 12th.
From there they made their way forward over the next few weeks arriving at La Boutellerie at 1 am on 22nd October. Five hours later at 6am they took up an entrenched position near La Cordonnerie Farm. I can in no way describe what is written in a war diary – the horror of war in simplest terms. Please copy & paste the following link to see the 2nd Btn RWF diary pages for August to December 1914. (These are not easy to decipher)
John was killed on 3rd November 1914 along with another comrade – Pte W, Miles – and 11 others were wounded. It was a year to the day since he had re-engaged for service. He was first buried at La Cordonnerie Farm Cemetery, North of Fromelles where 58 of the 2nd R.W.F. were interred between Oct.-Nov. 1914. After the Armistice, the graves at la Cordonnerie Farm were removed to Pont-Du-Hem Military Cemetery, La Gorgue, France, where ne now lies.
He is also commemorated on Hope, Gwersyllt and Tattenhall Memorials.
John’s military records can be found on Find My Past (www.findmypast.co.uk) and Ancestry (www.ancestry.co.uk).