Corporal John Alfred Eales

Date of Birth 10 April1891
Age at Death 27
Date of Death 7 August 1918
Service Number G/17617
Military Service 7th Battalion East Kent Regiment
Merton Address 6 Fairlawn Road, Wimbledon
Local Memorial St. Saviour’s Church, Raynes Park

Additional Information

John was born in Wimbledon on 10 April, 1891 and baptised at Holy Trinity & St. Peter’s Church in June of that year. He was the son of printer John Eales and his wife Minnie. The couple also had four older children. Minnie jnr., Gertrude, May and Rose. They lived at 29 Graham Road, Wimbledon, together with Minnie’s widowed mother, Eliza Browning.

In 1901 the Eales were living at no 1 Sydney Road, Merton Park. John jnr now had a further four siblings – Lily, Daisy, Sidney and Ernest, so extra living space probably prompted the move. (A further four children died in infancy.) His oldest sister, Minnie had now left home and Gertrude was working as a Laundress.
By 1911 nineteen year old John and his family were living at 19 Chestnut Road, Raynes Park, together with one of his cousins, Arthur. He had followed his father’s line of work and was employed as a stereotype at a printing company. Three of his sisters were working as laundresses, Daisy was a dressmaker and his younger siblings were still at school.

Following the outbreak of war, John volunteered for military service. He joined the 7th battalion, East Kent Regiment, often called the Buffs. The regiment was formed for active service in France and was posted to the area around Flesselles in July. John may have been on Christmas leave when he married Florence Knight at St.Mary’s Merton on 27 December 1915. The couple set up home nearby at 21 St. Mary’s Cottage.

The 7th Battalion fought in some of the most famous battles in the Somme region including: the Battle of Albert ( 1 – 3 July 1916), the Battle of Bazentin Ridge (14 – 17 July 1916) including the capture of Trones Wood and the Battle of the Ancre (13 - 19 September 1916). They then transferred to Flanders and between 1917 and 1918 saw action at St.Quentin, Paschendale, Amiens, Albert and Bapaume.

John was killed on 7 August 1918, just a few months before the Armistice. He was 27 years old. He is commemorated on the Pozieres memorial in the Somme region and on the war memorial at St. Saviour’s Church, Raynes Park.


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