DURKIN, John Pte. 15853

John Durkin was recorded on the 1901 Census as living at 108 Standish Street in Chorley, being born in the town in 1884. He was working as a Collier prior to enlisting on the 22nd September 1914. Whilst in the Pals (and still in Chorley in early 1915) he married his girlfriend, Anne Loughlin, at Sacred Heart Church on the 16th January – they had been courting for seven years and eventually set up home at 33 Lyons Lane.

John Durkin served with the Chorley Company on the Suez Canal in early 1916 before going to France in the spring of that year. He would have been at Serre on the 1st July 1916 but his service record does not record him being wounded during the war. What his record does show is a few brushes with Army discipline during his time in training in the U.K. and whilst “in the field” in France. On the 6th November 1916 John Durkin was given 10 days Field Punishment No. 1 for being drunk and using obscene language to a Warrant Officer.

In 1917, he was admitted with sickness to the 22nd CCS (Casualty Clearing Station) at Bruay, near Bethune, on the 12th April, and was sent back to the U.K. via Boulogne from No. 2 General Hospital at Wimereux (on the Channel Coast) on the 16th. He was treated for nearly two months at Norfolk War Hospital in Thorp, near Norwich.

John returned to France with the 7th Battalion of the East Lancs. Regiment on the 7th September 1917 only to be hospitalised again back to the U.K. on the 1st November, spending four months at a hospital in Sheffield (cause unknown). He was sent back to France on the 9th May 1918, returning to the Chorley Pals (or at least the 11th Battalion, East Lancashire Regiment) on the 15th September. Just over a month later he was transferred to the 328 Prisoner of War Company in the Labour Corps as Private 653659.

He was not with them long, being examined for demobilization at Prees Heath in Shropshire over the Christmas period and finally leaving the Army at Nottingham on the 19th January 1919, returning to 33 Lyons Lane in Chorley. He was awarded a pension in early 1919, being paid 11/- (55p) for 12 months, due to him suffering 40% disability caused by deafness, DAH (“Disordered action of heart”) and TB (Tuberculosis). His medal roll index card indicates that he applied for his medals in February 1927, giving his address at 83 Worthy Street off Lyons Lane in Chorley.

John died in Chorley in 1942.