John Loftus was born on 22nd March, 1882 at Commercial Road, Flint and was the seventh child of James Loftus and Mary (Kenney).
James and Mary were both born in Ireland, (James in Galway), where they were most likely married in the mid 1860s. Their first three children were born there, their third in circa 1871, and by the time their next child was born in 1873 they were living in Castle Street, Flint. James was employed as a chemical labourer.
By 1891 the family were living at 23, Evans Street, then in 1892 Mary died, aged about 45.
In the 1901 census John was living with his brother, Patrick, and his wife at 112, Throstle Street, North Manchester and was employed as a bricklayer’s labourer.
On 9th February, 1904 John enlisted for six years with the Royal Anglesey Royal Engineers Militia as Sapper No 4754. He was discharged on Termination of Engagement on 8th February, 1910.
He gained employment at the Hawarden Bridge Ironworks then on 3rd February, 1911 he re-enlisted in the Army for four years, this time with the 1/5th Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers as a Private No 834. His address was given as 10, Upper Queen Street, Flint.
His Medical Inspection Report stated he was 5ft 7ins, 10st 4lbs, chest 34 ½ ins.
No doubt when the war began his term of service changed to “on termination of the war” like every other military personnel.
On 4th February, 1915, while stationed in Cambridge, he was “Absent from parade from 9am to 2.15pm until reporting himself @ 3pm the same day,” and received 3 days CB (Confined to Barracks). On 30th March, 1915 he was “Absent from Commanding Officer’s parade 8.45m,” and received 6 days CB. On 8th May, 1915, while stationed at Higham Ferrers, Northamptonshire, for “not complying with an order and being absent from special parade 7.30pm” he received 5 days CB.
On 14th July, 1915 his regiment embarked from Devonport on the HM Troopship “Caledonian” to the Gallipoli Peninsular disembarking on 8th August.
In a a letter home, dated 15th August, he stated “he is with the machine gun section and that after several days’ hard work they were having a rest. They had been in the firing line. He was sorry to state that Joe Clews had been killed.”
On 17th November he was in hospital suffering from dysentery but was able to re-join his battalion for duty on the 22nd. On the 30th November he was sick in hospital again, then was sent to Malta where he was admitted into St David’s Hospital with a “Debility.”
On 31st December, 1915 he left Malta and was invalided to England suffering from rheumatism and was discharged from the Army on 22nd March, 1916.
His service record ends there but somehow he was able to re-enlist with the RWF and was posted to Egypt where he was killed in action on 31st October, 1917 and buried in Beersheba War Cemetery, Israel (Plot K, Grave 17).
On 13th December the Casualty List issued by the War Office stated that Private J Loftus (241950), of Flint, previously reported wounded, was now reported killed, and his home is said to be in the Upper Queen Street.
He was rewarded the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal and is remembered on two war memorials – Flint Town and St Mary’s Catholic Church, Flint. He is also commemorated on the North Wales Heroes’ Memorial Arch, Bangor.
His father, also of 10, Upper Queen Street, died on 6th March 1919, aged about 80, and was buried in the Northop Road Cemetery with his son, James, who died in 1914 aged 46.