John Mercer

John Mercer

Personal Details

Born in Malpas, Cheshire in 1880 (baptised 28th July 1880), the third son of Henry and Margaret Mercer of High Street, Malpas.

Husband to Lilian Mercer (nee Latham) of Sandbach, Cheshire; married on 8 November 1915 in St Oswald’s Church, Malpas.

John was a draper’s assistant, becoming manager for Mr Wardle of Sandbach before enlisting. He was a keen amateur horticulturist and exhibitor.

John died at sea en route to India with a detachment of his battalion.

Military Details

Regiment : 4th Battalion South Wales Borderers
Rank : Private
Service Number : 44764

Died at sea; Persian Gulf 13 February 1917 Aged 36

Medals and Awards
John was awarded the Campaign Medals (British War Medal and Allied Victory Medal).

Campaign Medals

Great War History Hub Whitchurch Shropshire Medals Front Image

The British War Medal (also known as 'Squeak') was a silver or bronze medal awarded to officers and men of the British and Imperial Forces who either entered a theatre of war or entered service overseas between 5th August 1914 and 11th November 1918 inclusive. This was later extended to services in Russia, Siberia and some other areas in 1919 and 1920. Approximately 6.5 million British War Medals were issued. Approximately 6.4 million of these were the silver versions of this medal. Around 110,000 of a bronze version were issued mainly to Chinese, Maltese and Indian Labour Corps. The front (obv or obverse) of the medal depicts the head of George V. The recipient's service number, rank, name and unit was impressed on the rim.

The Allied Victory Medal (also known as 'Wilfred') was issued by each of the allies. It was decided that each of the allies should each issue their own bronze victory medal with a similar design, similar equivalent wording and identical ribbon. The British medal was designed by W. McMillan. The front depicts a winged classical figure representing victory. Approximately 5.7 million victory medals were issued. Interestingly, eligibility for this medal was more restrictive and not everyone who received the British War Medal ('Squeak') also received the Victory Medal ('Wilfred'). However, in general, all recipients of 'Wilfred' also received 'Squeak' and all recipients of The 1914 Star or The 1914/1915 Star (also known as 'Pip') also received both 'Squeak' and 'Wilfred'. The recipient's service number, rank, name and unit was impressed on the rim.

Further Information

Chester Chronicle 3 March 1917

Report in the Chester Chronicle 3 March 1917 regarding the death of John Mercer

"DEATH OF MR. JOHN MERCER. - The sad news arrived on Thursday last from the War Office that Mr. H. Mercer's youngest son, John, had died. About three weeks ago he was drafted abroad with the South Wales Border Regiment. For some years he was with Mrs. Latham, The Cross, and subsequently became manager for Mr. Wardle, of Sandbach, with whom he was employed when he was called up. Soon after taking up his residence in Sandbach he married Miss Latham, oldest daughter of Mrs. Latham, of Malpas. Deceased was 36 years of age. Deep sympathy is expressed with Mr. and Mrs. H. Mercer and family.
PTE. JOHN MERCER DIES AT SEA. - We regret to record that Pte. John Mercer, youngest son of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Mercer, who was attached to the South Wales Borderers, is reported to have died at sea on the 13th ult., while on his way with a detachment of his regiment to India. He joined up last year and was in training at Kinmel Park. He was 36 years of age. He served his time with the late Mr. Morgan as draper, and then passed into the service of Mrs. R. Latham, of Malpas, whose eldest daughter he subsequently married, settling down in Sandbach as manager to Mr. Wardle. Here, as in Malpas, he won general esteem, and his untimely death is much regretted among a wide circle of friends. He was a keen horticulturist and exhibitor."

Chester Chronicle 3 March 1917

If you can provide any further information on John Mercer please get in touch by leaving a comment below, using our Contact Form or by calling in to Whitchurch Heritage Centre.

Information provided by Whitchurch Museum and Archives

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

We want to make sure you're human! * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload the CAPTCHA.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.