FLEET, John William

No.88617, Private, John William FLEET
Aged 24

52nd Coy., Machine Gun Corps (Infantry)
formerly No. S4/173738, Army Service Corps
Killed in Action on Friday, 30th November 1917

John William Fleet was born in Fordham, (Newmarket Q4-1893 3B:521) the son of Arthur and Harriet FLEET (née READER ).

1901 census...Aged 7, he was William, at Peach Street, Fordham with his father Arthur FLEET [32] journeyman miller; his mother Harriet [31], brothers Percy [9], Harry [6] and Reginald [1] and sisters Florence [8] and Edith [4]. All were born in Fordham.

1911 census...Aged 17, now John William, a baker's assistant, he was at Peachy Street, Fordham with his parents (father now a farm labourer), brothers Percy (grocer's assistant), Harry (farm labourer), Reginald, Victor [9], Cecil [8], Edward [5] and Robert [4], and sisters Edith, Biddy [6] and Elizabeth [1]. All the new siblings were born in Fordham. One of Harriet's 13 children had died.

He married Florence Hilda FORDHAM (b. 19-8-1893)on 21st October 1915 and their daughter Ivy Florence was born in Soham on 9th September 1916. They lived in Carter Street, Fordham.

On the Army pension forms, signed in 1919, still living were his wife and child and parents (Fordham), brothers Percy, Harry, Reginald, Cecil and Edward,all living in Fordham and sisters Florence (Mrs Bird in Exning), Edith (in Cambridge), Biddy and Lizzie in Fordham.

The pension card has his widow and daughter at Peachey Street, but then moving to Carter Street. Peachey Street, was from the church, southwards and is now Collins Hill

He enlisted in Newmarket on 12th December 1915, giving his age as 22, a baker, 5ft 2.25 inches ( 159.4 cm) tall weighing 122 lbs (55.5 kg), chest 36.5" to 39" (92.7 to 99.1 cm). He was assigned to the 97th Training Reserve and then moved as No. TR/10/41221 tot he 99th Training Reserve Battalion

He was mobilised on 10th April 1916, his age now given as 22 yeas 6 months, occupation, baker. His references from Mr R Johnson said he had employed John for 5 1/2 years and found him to be honest, a total abstainer, hard worker who he was sad to lose.
Mobilised in the Army Service Corps No. SE/173738 at Aldershot on 15th April 1916, he was transferred to the Machine Gun Corps on 13th March 1917.
Arriving in the BEF on 6th May 1917, he was posted the 52nd Company, Machine Gun Corps (Infantry) on 13th May and joined them in the field on 20th May.
He suffered a gunshot wound to his right side on 23rd June and was treated first by No.11 Field Ambulance and then admitted to N0.30 Casualty Clearing Station on 30th June, returning to his unit on 8th July 1917. Having survived the horrors of 3rd Ypres (Passchendaele), he was killed in action on 30th November 1917.

The only other member of his company to die that day is buried in Cement House Cemetery, Ypres. The vast bulk of the 130 machine gun men to die that day were engaged around Cambrai in France

John Fleet is commemorated on the Tyne Cot memorial, Belgium, panel 154 to 159 & 163A

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details