John Sheldrake, the son of Thomas Sheldrake, a railway navvy & agricultural labourer, & Sarah nee Mayes was born 12th March 1889 in Hapton. John had 1? brother and 3? sisters. In 1891 John was living with his parents on the Street Hapton. By 1901 the family were living on the Street in Tharston. John’s mother, Sarah died in zzzz. In 1895, John’s father, Thomas married Esther Howell, 36 years his junior. In 1911, John was lodging with James Long in Forncett St Mary, his occupation at this time is not listed.
John enlisted in Norwich for a 3 year term with the 9th Battalion, The Norfolk Regiment on the 7th September 1914 aged 25, stating that he was, at this time, living in Forncett St Mary and that his occupation was a railway labourer. John’s regimental number was 14849.
John was in France with the Norfolk’s from August 1915 to October 1916.
On 1st March 1916 John transferred to the 120th Company of the Royal Engineers and on the 3rd of March 1916 was confirmed as a qualified plate layer. The primary objective of the 120th Railway Company of the Royal Engineers was to take standard gauge railways as close to the front as possible.
We can only assume that John was in France with the Royal Engineers. Evidence?
John was killed in action on 2nd October 1917 (do we know where?) and was buried at Maroc British Cemetery, Grenay, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France. Plot: II. M. 14. John had signed up for a 3 year term, or until the war was over. His total service was calculated at 3 years 26 days.
John is also remembered on the Forncett St Mary War Memorial.