Rolls of Honour: Eccleshill, Park & St Luke’s; Holy Trinity, Idle
Regiment: Machine Gun Corps
John Harold Collinson
John Harold Collinson was born in Eccleshill on the 26th May 1895 and baptised at St Luke’s Church, Eccleshill on the 14th July 1895 the son of Arthur and Elizabeth Collinson. Arthur’s occupation is given as a cloth presser living at 19 Moorside Terrace. Arthur and Elizabeth married at St Wilfred’s Church, Calverley on the 22nd December 1894. Another child, Hilda, was born in 1898.Very little is known about this family until the 1911 census when they were living at 37 Mount Terrace, Eccleshill. Arthur is now working as an insurance agent and John Harold is apprenticed to a stuff merchant. Both he and his father had an interest in church music, John being the organist at Idle Parish Church and his father Arthur the choirmaster.
John enlisted on the 4th of February 1916 in the 18th Battalion of the Machine Gun Corp. which had just been formed. He served on the Western Front rising to the rank of 2nd Lieutenant 99792. He had just returned to France after home leave when the major German spring offensive began in 1918. It was launched from the Hindenburg Line in the vicinity of St Quentin on the 2lst March 1918 and it was on this day that John was killed in action. He was 22 years of age.The fighting lasted until the 23rd when a near 40 mile breach had been made in the British line. It was some time before his family
heard the news as we can gather from a piece published in the Shipley Times & Express on 31 May 1918.‘Captain W Burns wrote to the parents of Sec-Lieut John Harold Collinson of 37 Mount Terrace, Eccleshill, who was believed to be wounded and missing since 21st March.He wrote: “The latest news we have of him is that he was fighting the enemy desperately about 9a.m.“He was in charge of four guns in the forward zone but they were overwhelmed by superior numbers and only a few of his men got back. They tell me he killed many of the enemy himself.No one saw him fall and he may
be a prisoner. His brother officers send you their deepest sympathy in your anxiety and trouble. They hope your son has not fallen and are all proud of the fight he made.”The missing officer was granted a commission before going out last October. He was organist at the Idle Parish Church for 18 months, his father being the choirmaster there.’John is buried at Pozieres British Cemetery in memory of the Officers and men who fought on the Somme battlefield 21st of March to 7th August 1918.He left his effects to his father Arthur Collinson Esq. who received £59.16.0d on the 25th October 1919 with a War Gratuity of £9.0.0d. His father had also received a bequest from John’s Will on the 11th June 1918 of £49.10.2d.
Researched and written by Jean Britteon, to whom many thanks