Proud family to honour WW1 Bolsover hero

Pictured are Bolsover World War One hero Pte John Warner's family including widow Bertha and their children John William, Arthur Edward, Gwendline Edith and Alice Winifred.

Pictured are Bolsover World War One hero Pte John Warner's family including widow Bertha and their children John William, Arthur Edward, Gwendline Edith and Alice Winifred.

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The proud grandchildren and great grandchildren of a Bolsover World War One hero are to lay a wreath at a Remembrance service in honour of all those who have fallen during conflicts.

Isabel Hopkins, 69, of Tibshelf, told how her grandfather John William Warner died from his wounds on November 17, 1914, after he was mortally wounded during fighting near Kruiseik, Belgium.

Ms Hopkins said: “We’re very proud. This year a group of John’s grandchildren and great grandchildren will lay a wreath at the Bolsover war memorial. The strange part is that we didn’t know that much about our grandfather and it’s really down to research from my cousin Neil McMaster from Wales and the Grenadier Guards. We’ve copies of the account of the action from what we think was the Bolsover Courier or Gazette.”

Pte Warner’s death is poignant during this year’s centenary year of the outbreak of the Great War and with his death falling during the same month as Remembrance Sunday and Remembrance Day services.

Newspaper coverage from the time told how Pte Warner died a “hero’s death” after he had been wounded relaying messages on a bicycle after the Germans had severed telegraph communications. A fellow soldier of the Grenadier Guards told how Pte Warner had joked both before and after he was struck by shrapnel.

The comrade said Pte Warner had said: “Ta, ta, old chap; see you again soon.” And following his injury he added: “I’ll give them snuff for this when I get back.”

A Sister at a hospital, at Boulogne, praised Pte Warner’s good cheer and fortitude after he had been left paralysed and explained he died peacefully at the hospital holding a locket with photos of his children.

Pte Warner, who received a 1914 Star bar trio medal and a Distinguished Conduct Medal, was buried at Calais, in France.

His family will place a wreath at Bolsover War Memorial on November 17 during a private ceremony.

Pte John William Warner was a reservist, according to reports, and at the beginning of World War One in 1914 he rejoined the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards and was drafted to France in October.

In a communication he stated he had been in battle for eight days and was enjoying a rest. He expressed that the war would last a very long time.

Pte Warner also stated he would do his duty and was confident the Bolsover Rifle Club who had enlisted would also give a good account of themselves. One postcard which reached Bolsover bore a west Flanders postmark and it can be assumed he had been assisting in the opposition to the Germans fighting for the coast. Among research is a photo of his widow and their children who never got to know him after he died in action 100 years ago.