1918-2008: Ninety Years of Remembrance

Soldier Record

John Whatley

Contributed by: John Woodcock, on 2008-11-30

John Whatley
First Name John
Surname Whatley
Year of Birth 1889
Year of Death 1946
Regiment Royal Leicestershire Regiment
Place of Wartime Residence Loughborough, Leicestershire

John's Story

John Whatley was born in 1889 in Loughborough .

Before the First World War he served with the 2nd Battalion Leicestershire Regiment in India.

When war was declared on 4th August 1914 the regiment was mobilised and returned to Europe landing at Marseilles in October.

The regiment fought on the Western Front until October 1915 when, due to the Indian troops inability to cope with the cold weather, orders were given for the regiment to return to Marseilles for embarkation to the Middle East.

Sailing to Basra then up the River Tigris to Ali Gharbi the regiment fought their way to and were the first to enter Baghdad in March 1917.

The battalion moved to Palestine at the end of 1917 and took part in the offensive under General Allenby which ended at Damascus in the late summer of 1918 with the defeat and surrender of the Turkish Army.

Granddad received his medals after the war, “1914 Star with Bar, British War Medal and Victory Medal”.

The 1914 Star signifies he was a serving soldier when war was declared and the Bar shows that he fought “under fire”. The medal trio was commonly known as “Pip, Squeak and Wilfred” after a popular cartoon of the period. As a member of the British Expeditionary Force he was also entitled to wear an “Old Contemptible” badge.

The German Kaiser once called the BEF a “contemptible little army” and the name stuck.

Granddad died in 1946.

Other memories

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