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Johnnie Pool was born on the 13th August 1896 in Glenridding. His father Anthony worked at Greenside mine and the family lived in the Square Glenridding. John’s Grandfather Edward (married to Thomasin Curry) had been working in the Greenside mine for many years. John was the second child of Anthony and his mother Mary Jane. He had an elder sister Ada Beatrice (born 1895) and a younger sister (Clara Eunice) who was born in September 1898). John would have attended Patterdale School, and in his youth was a keen footballer, playing for Patterdale Football Team. By 1911 the family were still living in The Square Glenridding, his father was now a Roadman for the Council and John himself, aged 14, was an errand boy for the local grocers. As a youth his running ability verged on the legendary and one of his feats, involving a run from Ullswater Gate in Glenridding to the summit of Helvellyn (3,118ft) and back in 72 minutes had yet to be bettered at the time of his death (and probably never will be as legend has it that he achieved the feet wearing a pair of old wellies!). Before joining the army John was working as a gardener in Buttermere.
John signed up for the army on the 12th December 1915 and was mobilised on 20th January 1916. He listed his occupation as a “Chauffeur” on his sign-
It was while in the Tank Corps as a gunner that John chanced upon a section of infantry from the Border Regiment. Hoping for news of his friends from home he jumped out of his tank and recognised one of the men as his mate Albert Routledge. As By all accounts there was some confusion and much swearing at the start of the reunion due to John’s Splatter Mask (see picture below) which made him quite difficult to recognise as Albert’s friend from Glenridding!
On 18th June 1918 John was appointed a Tank Mechanic Class II and continued his service in France after the Armistice in November 1918, been made a Lance Corporal (1st Class) on the 16th July 1919. According to John’s son Eddie he had spent much of 1919 running for the Army in various competitions around Europe. He won one of these, a prestigious 10,000 metres race and was presented with a Cup fashioned from a French Artillery Shell which Eddie still keeps to this day. He was known from then as the Champion of Picardy, and during this time in France he won no fewer than 35 races in succession. Before the war John had run in many local fell races and was trained by Ray Lancaster. Aged just 23, in August 1919, John was Certified Class A medically fit and on 27th September 1919 he was finally demobbed and returned home to Glenridding.
John returned home and on the 15th February 1928 he married Mary Edith Holdway in Patterdale. It was a double family celebration as John’s sister Clara married Ernest William Thompson on the same day. John at the time was a Road Driver and Mary was from Beech House in Glenridding. John worked for the Greenside Carrying Company, driving loads from the mines to the railway at Troutbeck. In the early 1930's he began his own business with one lorry and continued until retirement. He undertook work for Westmorland County Council, but his main business was the local delivery of coal. He also used his vehicle for the transportation of hounds of the Ullswater pack to and from meets.
John’s skill as a fly fisherman, linked with an intimate knowledge of the lake waters made him a sought-
John and Mary stayed in the village all their lives, and for many years ran a successful kiosk from next to Beech House. It was here that their son Eddie was born in July 1930. John’s experiences in the First War were once again called upon in World War Two, when he used his old skills to teach the local Home Guard how to use a Lewis Gun.
Johnnie Pool died at home in Beech House in 1969 aged 73. As the Herald reported at the time he was a “Lakeland Personality -
His son Eddie followed his forebears into Greenside mine, raised his own family in the Dale, and has had an eventful life of his own. This has included being part of the heroic efforts to rescue 4 trapped miners in Greenside Mine on 7th July 1952 (for more information on this please see For more information on the Greenside Disaster please see Ian Tyler’s Book). Eddie took over his father’s business in the early 1960s and now lives in happy but very active “retirement” with his wife Ann in Patterdale.
Lance Corporal John Edward Pool
35721/200402 Border Regiment, Machine Gun Corps, Tank Corps
Born 13th August 1896, Glenridding. Died 19th October 1969 Aged 73.
Son of Anthony and Mary Jane (nee Bell) Pool, Glenridding Square
Married Mary Edith Holdway (Feb 1928), and lived at Beech House Glenridding
Father of Edward Anthony (Eddie) born July 1930 lives with his wife Ann in Patterdale
A Splatter Mask of the type worn by John and the rest of the Crew. No wonder Albert Routledge didn’t recognise him!
The Trophy John was awarded for winning the European 10,00o metres in France in 1919, fashioned from a French Artillery Shell, and is still kept with pride by his son Eddie
Mark I Tank as crewed by John Pool
John Pool’s Medal Card and below John Fishing on Ullswater later in Life