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John Dewey Place was born on the 26th November 1883, probably at number 3 Row Head in Glenridding. He was the youngest son of John Place Snr., a Lead Mine Agent, and the only child of his mother Mary Ann (nee Dewey) who had married the widower John Place Snr. in early 1882. John had a much older half-
He was probably educated at Patterdale School, however his father died in September 1891 and his mother took him to live in London. By 1901 he was living in Islington with his mother and working as a Solicitor’s Clerk. They returned to the Penrith area where John became a Wesleyan Preacher with his half-
In 1916 John was working as a farmer in Lavinia, Manitoba and on the 7th March he travelled the 200 miles to Winnipeg to sign up for the war effort. He joined the 8th Battalion of the Canadian Infantry Regiment which was also known as the 90th Winnipeg Rifles ( ‘The Little Black Devils’ ). It is likely John took part in and survived the legendary battle for Vimy Ridge, and in early August 1918, John’s Battalion was part of a major Canadian led offensive to take Hill 70 north of Lens. The primary objective of the assault was to inflict casualties and draw German troops away from the 3rd Battle of Ypres, rather than to capture territory. It lasted around ten days and there was extensive use of poison gas by both sides, including mustard gas. Casualties were high, the Canadian forces lost over 10,000 men the Germans lost over 25,000. We believe that Henry Thwaites, listed on the Roll of Honour, was also involved in these actions with John.
John was one of the wounded, sustaining a bullet wound in his left leg, so was evacuated to the Canadian Military Hospital at Etaples on the French coast. He was initially reported as seriously ill but never recovered and died in hospital, perhaps from Septicemia, on the 6th September 1917 aged 33 years.
John is buried at the Etaples Military Cemetery and is commemorated on the Patterdale War memorial and the Glenridding Village Hall Roll of Honour, along with his nephew, Edwin Place, son of his half-
Private John Dewey Place
234188, 8th Battalion, Canadian Infantry Regiment
Born 26th November 1883 Glenridding. Died 6th September 1917 Aged 33 in Etaples, France.
Son of John Place and Mary Ann (nee Dewey), late of Row Head, Glenridding
Uncle of Edwin Place
Canadian soldiers in a captured trench on Hill 70 in August 1917.
“He was a true patriot and had many noble and unselfish traits. It is characteristic of him that though promoted to be a corporal he took off his stripes so that he might take his place among the privates in the firing line, he as an unmarried man feeling that he was taking the place of someone who was more needed at home. In this and many other ways, Private Place welcomed the post of danger for the relief of others who, he thought, could be less easily spared. He died as he lived, a gallant Christian and a brave soldier.”
The moving tribute paid to John in his obituary in the Cumberland & Westmorland Herald 15th September 1917
A photo of the children at Patterdale School in 1889, which was likely to have included John. We have tried to identify as many of them as possible on our Patterdale School Then and Now page.
John’s casualty form from the archives listing his death and place of burial -