Sergeant John Pridgeon

Date of Birth 31 August 1881
Age at Death 34
Date of Death 26 September 1915
Service Number 3/3092
Military Service 11th Battalion Essex Regiment
Merton Address 62 Park Road, Colliers Wood
Local Memorial Christ Church, Colliers Wood

Additional Information

Born in the Kingsland district of Hackney on 31 August 1881, John was the son of a gardener, John Pridgeon and his wife, Helen. Married in 1879, the couple also had a younger son, Sydney, born in 1883.

Helen Pridgeon was widowed whilst her children were still young. In 1888 she married Charles Cooper in Peckham and by 1891 the couple were living in Walthamstow, with the older children and their toddler, Harold. They also shared their home with Helen’s widowed mother, Sarah Alefounder. At the age of 12, John and his brother, Sydney, registered at Peckham Park School, Southwark. As their family grew, they moved to 221 Commercial Road.

John served in the Essex Regiment between 1898 and 1906 and was a decorated veteran of the South African War. After his service with that regiment, he was held on reserve until 1910.

In 1908 John was living at 35 Harcombe Road, Stoke Newington and working as a porter. On 19 August he married Louisa Keeper and by 1911 the couple had moved to’ Sandown’, a house in Cavendish Road, Colliers Wood. John was now 30 and working at home as a ‘Glove Cleaner’, whilst Louisa was employed as a Restaurant Manager.

When war was declared, John enlisted at Kingston upon Thames on 7 September 1914. He joined the 11th Battalion, Essex Regiment and achieved the rank of Sergeant. The 11th was a service battalion, formed in 1914 from men who volunteered for General Kitchener's New Army. After training at Aldershot, the battalion was sent to France in August 1915 and joined the British Expeditionary Force as part of the 71st Brigade.

One month later, John and his comrades fought at the Battle of Loos (25 September – 19 October, 1915). Referred to as ‘The Big Push’, this was the first major offensive staged by British troops and also saw them deploying poison gas for the first time. John was killed on Day One of the fighting, aged 34. He is commemorated on the Loos Memorial in the Pas de Calais region of France. His name also appears on the Mitcham War Memorial.

At the time of John’s death, his widow Louisa was living at 62 Park Road, Colliers Wood. She received a gratuity of £6.10 from his pay (roughly £138 in modern money). She died in Wandsworth in 1968 aged 87.


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