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Private John William Cordiner 36700 1st  Battalion Cheshire Regiment
John was born in Llanferres in 1895, the youngest son of John Matthew and Catherine Cordiner (née Kerr - born in Ireland) He had an elder brother, two elder and two younger sisters residing at Rhos Farm, the family later living at Ty-Fy-Nain on Forestry Road. John enlisted in the village in early 1916 and joined the 1st Battalion after basic training as a draft replacement (the Cheshires had been fighting in France since August 1914) The first battle of the Somme started on July 1st 1916 after an eight day, largely ineffective, bombardment of the German positions with over 1.7 million shells of various calibres fired over a 30 kilometre front, and the explosion of 10 huge underground mines under the opposing trenches. The attack at 7.30am, in broad daylight, was a disaster with a scarcely credible 57,470 casualties on the first day, including 19,240 killed, most of those in the first few hours, and remains the blackest day ever for the British army. The Cheshires were involved from the end of July at both the infamous High Wood and Delville (Devil’s) Wood before going into reserve; and at the end of August were ordered to relieve the 14th Royal Warwicks, and moved to Chimpanzee Trench near Hardecourt, in preparation for an attack on Falfemont farm (battle of Guillemont) planned for the 3rd September. It was later that morning, probably before 10.00am that John was killed, aged just 21. The regimental diary states “casualties during the day were not very heavy, but amounted to about 23 other ranks” tragically, some of those from “shorts” of 75mm shells from a nearby French gun battery. John was one of 6 killed in action that day, also one officer and one other ordinary rank dying later of wounds received. The subsequent attack on the farm was driven back on the 3rd but objectives finally taken the following afternoon and the battalion withdrawn with an “estimated 460 casualties”- more than half of the diminished battalion number, and of which, only 300, all ranks fighting strength, were at roll call on the 6th at Citadel camp (now a cemetery) after relief by the Royal Irish Fusiliers. John is buried in Quarry Cemetery (Mountauban), then an advanced dressing station, with 583 other known ranks, postumately awarded the Victory Medal and British War medal (known colloquially as “Mutt and Jeff”) He left an Informal Will written on July 14th which read “In the event of my death I give the whole of my property and effects to my mother Mrs Catherine Cordiner Rhos Farm Llanferres Mold” He is also commemorated on his parent’s grave in Llanferres churchyard with the poignant wording “He did his duty faithfully” The 1st Battalion Cheshire Regiment suffered the highest casualties of all the Cheshire battalions in the war - a total of 1,259 other ranks killed or died of wounds / disease - more than the nominal strength (1,007) of a battalion. If you would like to read a fuller account of the 1st Battalion Cheshire Regiment in the Great War please visit this website page. Article by Noel Headley of Llanferres. You can contact Noel via the contact page
Chimpanzee trench
Quarry Cemetery Montauban
36700 Private J.W.CORDINER Cheshire Regiment September 1916 Age 21 Son of John Matthew and Catherine Cordiner of Llanferres Denbighshire "Jesus Wept"
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