Quorn WW1 Roll of Honour - John (Jack) Cawrey
Died 30th October 1917, aged 40
Growing up in Quorn
William Hardy Cawrey from Woodhouse Eaves and Sarah Banton from Ticknell in Derbyshire married in 1870, and started their married life on Meeting Street in Quorn. They had ten children, their eldest son being John (Jack) Cawrey born in late 1877. Life would have been hard for this large family as William only ever did labouring jobs, so money would have been tight and living conditions poor.
Jack’s mother, Sarah, died in February 1891, a few weeks after the birth of the family’s tenth child. Jack was only 13 years old and his youngest brother Joseph was a tiny baby. Sarah was buried in Quorn Churchyard, but her grave was unmarked, which was not unusual with poorer families. Baby Joseph died eight months later.
William continued to support his family and they lived in a small cottage which was part of what is now 73 Meeting Street. This is an unusual property, which is hidden completely from the street, behind numbers 85 and 83. The 1911 census shows Jack living with William, when he was the only child left at home. Two sisters and two more brothers had died between 1893 and 1906.
Jack enjoyed football and for at least one season he was trainer for the successful Quorn Havelock Football Club. He appears on a team photograph for 1907/08, when the club was top of the Loughborough and District lead. See Artefact 252.
Killed in action and buried in Belgium
When war broke out Jack joined the Leicestershire Regiment. He was killed in action on 30th October 1917, at Passchendaele in Belgium, known as the third battle of Ypres.
He is buried in the Tyne Cot Cemetery in Belgium, which is the largest Commonwealth war cemetery in the world, however it is likely that he was initially buried closer to where he fell, and his grave would have been marked with a wooden cross. In the 1920s many bodies were reburied, and the surviving crosses were replaced with gravestones made of white Portland stone. All war gravestones are similar in format, but relatives were offered the chance to add their own epitaph of no more than sixty-six letters including spaces. Jack’s grave (shown below) includes the words:
“Sadly missed by those who loved him”.
Relatives were charged for the epitaphs at the rate of 3½d (about 1 ½ p) per letter up to a maximum of £1. This caused a lot of resentment, as it was felt that the soldiers had paid many times over with their blood. Eventually the charge was made voluntary, but many poorer families had already been deterred.
1) Jack Cawrey.
2) Jack’s grave at Tyne Cot.
3) A modern photograph of 73 Meeting Street where the Cawrey family lived. There were two front doors where the porch is today.