Service Number 427833
Battalion 3rd Battalion
Regiment Canadian Infantry
Killed in Action: 31 August 1918
Buried Valley Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France
Commemorated at: Wetherby War Memorial
John William Swann was born on the 28th June 1896 in Linton, the son of George Swann and his wife Frances Kate Swann (nee Haldenby or Holdenby). John was one of at least four children. In 1901, John was living in Linton, but we have not found any record of John in the 1911 census. We do know that he emigrated to Canada leaving Southampton for Quebec on the 'Ascania' on 19th May 1913, aged 18.
On the outbreak of war, John decided to enlist in the Canadian Forces. His service record showing that he was medically examined and enlisted on the 14th August 1915 in the town of Moosomin in southern Saskatchewan and initially joined the 68th Battalion of the Canadian Infantry. After that John was transferred to the 46th Battalion and on the 23rd October 1915 he embarked on the SS Lapland to sail to the UK for training, disembarking in Devonport on the 30th October 1915. His training took place in the UK and on the 19th April 1916, he was at Branshott Camp in Hampshire, when he made a will leaving all his belongings to his mother, Mrs Kate Swann of 8 West End, Wetherby, if anything should happen to him.
The Wetherby News reported around this time on a number of local men who were serving with the Canadians:
About two months later, on the 16th June 1916, John went to France and disembarked on the 17th June and was posted to the 3rd Battalion Canadian Infantry, a unit he joined at the front on the 19th June. John served with his unit for about a month before being admitted to the 1st Canadian Field Ambulance, suffering with influenza. He was posted to 1st Divisional Rest station to recover, before rejoining his unit on the 1st August.
On the 12th October John was posted to 1st Canadian Infantry Brigade, and four days later was granted 10 days leave in the UK. He returned from his leave on the 29th October, and was soon posted from his unit to be attached to the 1st Canadian Trench Mortar Battery. This was probably supposed to be a temporary placement, but his record records that he was still with this unit on the 1st December and again on the 31st May 1918. Just after that John had another illness, this time being admitted to the 3rd Canadian Field Ambulance on the 22nd June 1918 suffering from myalgia. He was admitted to hospital but was discharged back to duty on the 27th June 1918, rejoining the 1st Canadian light Trench Mortar Battery.
On the 10th August 1918, John rejoined his original unit, the 3rd Canadian Infantry Battalion. 3 weeks later, on the 31st August 1918, John was killed in action. He is now buried in Valley Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France.
John's death was reported in the Wetherby News on the 13th September 1918:
A further Wetherby News report, on the 4th October 1918 gave John's family a few more details of his death:
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