CWG: Private John Friday

Private John Friday

John Francis Friday was born in June 1898 to John and Laura Friday from Gillingham in Kent. Laura passed away when John Jr was only ten years old, and his dad remarried, meaning John Jr had eight full and half siblings. John Sr was a farm labourer, and the family lived on the river front in Gillingham, Kent.

John’s military service seems a bit of a challenging one. A letter to Gillingham Police Station dated November 1916 stated that he had not received his call up papers, but that he would present himself that day for enlistment.

John eventually enlisted on 27th December 1916; his joining records show that he was 18 years and six months old, and stood at just under 5ft 3ins (1.57m) tall. He also noted that his preference was to be assigned to the Royal Engineers.

Private Friday initially joined the Manchester Regiment, and, while serving on the Western Front, seemed to have a bit of a rebellious streak in him. He was pulled up on misdemeanours such as neglect of duty on at least five occasions before being admitted to hospital in Calais in December 1917, suffering from trench foot. After serving some further time in England, he again found himself in France in the summer of 1918.

On 11st March 1919, he was transferred to the East Surrey Regiment, and was shipped back to England at the beginning of April. Sadly, it looks like John was stricken by poor health; he passed away on 6th July 1919, having contracted pneumonia. He was just 21 years old.

John Francis Friday lies at rest in the Woodlands Cemetery in his home town of Gillingham in Kent.


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