John ‘Jack’ Dakin (1890-1917)

John was born in Blackpool on the 13th of February in 1890 at Watson’s Lane. He was the eldest child of Edward Samuel Dakin and Annie Dakin (nee Tilly) and was also known as ‘Jack’ to friends and family. In 1901 he lived at 25 Church Street with his family. By 1911 they had moved to 44 Withnell Road and the census lists his occupation as being a Stone Mason. It is worth noting that this same record shows that Edward Samuel Dakin’s brother in law, William Tilley, is living with the family and his occupation is a Contracting Stone Mason and is described as an Employer. It looks like John became apprentice to, and worked with, William.

He enlisted in the army on the 7th Sept 1914. After joining the King’s Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment) for the Great War as a private he was soon promoted to Sergeant. He was in the 9th Battalion and his number was 13385. This was an infantry regiment and was part of the 22nd Division. In September 1915 he was posted to France. They then landed in Greece on the 7th November 1915. He was killed in action on the 28th April 1917 in Greece in what we believe was one of the Battles of Doiran. His family received a touching letter from a Corporal Cooper after Johns death.

John Dakin

© Linda Rowland 2013

He is buried at Karasouli Military Cemetery, Greece, and his grave reference is F.1388.

© Ann Stone 2011

The cemetery is near the town of Polikastro (formerly Karasouli) which lies some 56 kilometres from Thessalonika, between the River Vardas and the south end of Lake Ardzan, in the Department of Pellis.

The cemetery was begun in September 1916 for the use of casualty clearing stations on the Doiran front. At the Armistice, it contained about 500 burials but was greatly increased when graves were brought in from the following cemeteries: Hadzi Bari Mah Military Cemetery (moved April 1919) – used from 25 August to 17 September 1917 contained 61 burials, 46 of them men of the 10th Hampshires and 2nd Gloucesters, who captured an enemy salient on 1 September. Caussica Military Cemetery (moved November 1920) – begun in February 1917 and at the Armistice contained 62 burials from field ambulances. This cemetery was itself enlarged when graves were brought in from surrounding burial grounds in February 1919. Kalinova Military Cemetery (moved December 1920) – used by field ambulances from October 1917 to September 1918 and at the Armistice contained 52 burials from field ambulances. This cemetery was itself enlarged when graves were brought in from surrounding burial grounds in February 1919. The cemetery now contains 1,421 Commonwealth burials of the First World War, 56 being unidentified.

The history of 22nd Division

This Division was established in September 1914 as part of Army Order 388 authorising Kitchener’s Third New Army, K3. The units began to assemble in the area of Eastbourne and Seaford, with the artillery at Lewes, from September 1914. The Division remained in these areas, other than when the infantry moved for two weeks entrenchment training to Maidstone in April 1915, as it was trained and equipped.

The Division crossed to France in early September 1915, all units being concentrated near Flesselles by 9th of the month. But the stay in France was to be very short.

On 27 October 1915, the Division, having been moved by train to Marseilles, began to embark for Salonika. It completed concentration there in November, although the final artillery units were still coming in as late as 13 December 1915. The 22nd Division remained in the theatre for the rest of the war, taking part in the following operations:

1915
8-13 December: the Retreat from Serbia (Advanced Divisional HQ, 6th Brigade, 9th Border and 68th Field Ambulance only)

1916
10-18 August 1916: the Battle of Horseshoe Hill
13-14 September 1916: the Battle of Machukovo

1917
24-25 April and 8-9 May 1917: the Battles of Doiran

1918
The Division lost a number of units in mid 1918; they were transferred to France
18-19 September 1918: the Battle of Doiran

An Armistice with Bulgaria was signed on 30 September 1918.

By 18-20 October, units of the Division had marched back to Stavros. Here they embarked on destroyers with the intention of a landing at Dede Agach to continue the fight against Turkey. After one attempt was called off due to rough weather, the infantry finally landed on 28 October 1918. On reaching Makri, the Division learned that an Armistice with Turkey was imminent. Demobilisation began at Chugunsi and the Division ceased to exist by 31 March 1919.

The 22nd Division had suffered casualties of 7,728 killed, wounded and missing during the war but vastly larger numbers sick with malaria, dysentery and other diseases rife in the Salonika theatre.

Medals

His mother applied for his war medals after his death. The medals for the WW1 campaign are listed on the National Archives webpage.

Thanks to Ann Stone for additional information and photos for this article.

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