Lance Corporal John Athey

Lance Corporal John William Athey, 1st/7th ( Territorial ) Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers. He was killed by shellfire whilst in a dugout in France, aged 22, on the 17th November 1916 at the end of the Battle of the Somme. He had been born in Belford and was the son of Joseph and Margaret Ann Athey of Beal Station, Berwick-upon-Tweed and is buried in Caterpillar Valley Cemetery, Longueval, Somme, France. Before enlisting he had been employed as a forester on the Haggerston Estate, Berwick. During the period from the 13th November to 19th November the Battalion suffered the following casualties; 2 Officers and 19 Other Ranks were killed and 4 Officers and 101 Other Ranks wounded. In addition 2 Officers and 103 Other Ranks were posted missing. By November the autumn rains had turned the shell churned ground into a glutinous quagmire making all movement of men and guns difficult if not impossible. The colour photo shows a peaceful Somme landscape today.

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