John Mackreth (Ju./Ha./Sc. 1901-11)


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Lieutenant, Royal Engineers
Born: March 12th 1893
Died: September 5th 1916

Age at Death: 23

Killed in action, France, September 5th 1916

Son of Rev. E.F. Mackreth, Vicar of All Souls, Brighton and Madeline Mackreth. (Latterly of 47 Fitzroy Road, Regents Park, London)

Grave Reference: Thiepval Cemetery, France

A donation to the memorial statue has been made in honour of this soldier by Ellis Goodman CBE (Ha. 1951-53).

Obituary, Brightonian XV December, 1916
Mackreth entered the Junior School in May, 1901; he came into the Upper School in September, 1906, and was for a time in Hampden House, until May, 1907, when he became a boarder in the School House, where he remained until December, 1909. He then became a day boy again until he went to Oxford in 1911. He was always keen on the O.T.C. and rose to the rank of Corporal. The following extract from a senior officer to Mrs. Mackreth:- "I want to write as one who worked with your boy on the same staff since the Brigade came out to tell you how he worked day in and day out, and how gallantly he gave his life on the 15th of September in the great attack. His work was always good and thorough. No trouble was too great; risks he never counted. Officers and men alike - we all loved him. At noon on the 15th the situation had become critical, and the General decided to go forward to the front of the captured position about 3,000 yards forward from our Headquarters in a sunken road, 1,500 yards inside what had been the German lines. As soon as our runner brought the information through, Mackreth set out to lay a line forward to us. He was under heavy fire the whole time. He was struck by a piece of shell, and did not recover consciousness. He died as he had lived - doing his duty; he lives in the hearts of those who were privileged to work with him and to be his friends."

Lieutenant John Mackreth
John Mackreth was born in Brighton on 8 July 1893. His father Edmund Francis Mackreth was a clergyman. Some time in his youth the family moved to London where the household comprised his parents, his brother Vincent and two sisters. Shortly before his own death on the battlefield his father died of natural causes aged 51 leaving his mother, Madeline Mackreth, a widow.

John Mackreth was enrolled in the Junior House in 1901, aged only 8, before graduating from Hampden House and leaving in 1911 aged 18. He gained a commission in the Royal Engineers on the outbreak of war and in 1916 was serving in the Signals Company of 41st division on the Somme. He was killed on 15 September 1916, the date that the Tank was first used in action, and there being no known grave is memorialised on Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France.

Source: LEST WE FORGET PROJECT, Brighton College 2014/15

 

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