John William Larter

John is listed on the War Memorial as one of those who gave his life during the First World War.

John was born on 27th May 1894 in Martham and was baptised as the first child of John Larter & Edith Mary Ann Cubit, nee Gallant. He had seven siblings, namely: Ethel May, born in1896; Oswald George 1896-1897; Eileen Hilda 1898-1898; Eileen Blythe 1903-1995; Florence Rose 1904-1905, Oswald George 1907-1965 and Harry Cyril born in 1910.

In 1901 & 1911 John lived with his parents at 2 Ross Villas to the south of the village green and when he was 16, he helped out his father as a house painter and decorator. In around 1914 or 1915 he enlisted at Great Yarmouth with the 9th Battalion, Norfolk Regiment as Private 15540. He was killed in action at Loos, France on 26th September 1915 aged 21. John has no known grave but is commemorated on Loos Memorial, Pas de Calais, France, panels 30 & 31. He is also commemorated on Martham War Memorial and on his parent’s grave in St Mary’s graveyard at section H, plot K20. His father applied for the award of the 1914 Star for War Services which was awarded to his son posthumously.

Memorial to John on his parent’s gravestone
War Memorial east side

The 9th (Service) Battalion was formed at Norwich in September 1914 as part of K3, Kitchener’s Third Army. In September 1914 it was attached to the 71st Brigade, 24th Division. The Battalion was assembled around Shoreham during September 1914 and it then spent 11 months in training after formation. Uniforms, equipment and blankets were slow in arriving and they initially wore emergency blue uniforms and carried dummy weapons. The battalion crossed to France between 28th August and 4th September 1915 where they joined X1 Corps and were sent up the line for the developing Battle of Loos. They disembarked at Boulogne almost 1000 strong, but 8 days later were reduced to 16 officers and 555 other ranks. The battalion lost a total of 1,019 men killed during the First World War.

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