No.9415, Private, John WYARD
Aged 39

2nd Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
formerly 3rd Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
Killed in Action on Wednesday, 24th February 1915

Queen's and King's South Africa Medals

John WYARD was born in Thurston (Stow Q3-1875 4A:566) son of Herbert and Louisa WYARD (née COPPING).

1881 census...Aged 5, he was at Meadow Lane, Thurston with his father Herbert WYARD [35] labourer born Beyton; his mother Louisa [34] born Cockfield; brother Charles [14] and sister Kate [11] both born in Thurston.

1891 census...Aged 15, a farm labourer, he was still at Meadow Lane with his parents. Brother and sister were not there.

1901 census...Aged 25, he was in South Africa in the Army. His parents were still at Meadow Lane, with his brother Charles

In 1904 he married Nora Emma ROWE. She died in 1916. It appears that their daughter Dulcie was then brought up by her Grandmother Martha Rowe

1911 census...Aged 36, a farm labourer, he was at Church Street, Thurston with his wife Nora, [26]; daughter Dulcie Olive Rowe [6] and sons Basil Walter Herbert [3] and Denzel (Geoffrey Denziel Bert) [9 months]. All Thurston born. Their 3rd son John French WYARD was born early in 1915 and probably never knew his father

For the South African Wars he enlisted in Bury St Edmunds on 7th July 1900. He gave his age as 25 years, born and resident in Thurston. His next of kin were his parents and elder brother Charles. He was 5 feet 5.75 inches (165 cm) tall, chest 34" to 35" inches (86.4 to 88.9 cm) blue eyes, brown hair, Church of England.

He re-enlisted in Bury St. Edmunds. His legatee was his wife, later added to by guardian of child - Mrs ? Lofts and guardian of child - Mrs Martha Rowe. CWGC have him as father of Miss D Wyard of Hill Cottages, Horringer

The battalion had been in France for just over 3 months before he joined them.

On 24th February 1915 the war diary has them in trenches at Vierstraat :-
"No.9415 Pte J Wyard killed, 4 wounded".

The battalion has been in France for just over 3 months before he joined them, having been originally in the 3rd Battalion.

The Bury Free Press of 20th March 1915 reported

The inhabitants of Thurston were grieved to hear of the death of Prvt John Wyard, 3rd Suffolk, who was killed in action on 24th February. he was taking a message to an officer when he was shot in the stomach and expired soon after. Mrs Wyard had had several letters from the front, including a particularly nice one from Sergt Cobb, his platoon Sergt. Sergt Cobb sympathised the fact that as soon as Wyard was shot, his first thought was to hand the message over to someone else so that there should be no delay, but anyone known Jack Wyard would be sure of that.
He rejoined the 3rd Suffolks on the outbreak of war. He had previously been in that battalion and had served throughout the South African war, obtaining two medals and clasps of the Transvaal, Orange Free State and Cape Colony. Everyone's sympathy is with his wife, who is left with four children, the youngest of whom is only a few weeks old. Prvt Wyard was 39 years old.

John was exhumed from "Rest and be Thankful Farm" battlefield cemetery and re-interred in Wytschaete in 1919

photo:Rodney Gibson

John is now buried in Wytschaete Military Cemetery, Belgium grave 3:C:11

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