The information displayed here is at the time of death.
John Patterson was born in 1886 at Bedlington, Northumberland, the son of James and Elizabeth Patterson. He attended Bede College 1906-1908. After leaving college he was employed as the first assistant schoolmaster at Bedlington Council School, living at 1 Hollymount with his family. He enlisted in the 8th Battalion Durham Light Infantry at Durham and served as Lance Corporal then Acting Corporal. Upon arrival on the continent 8 DLI were almost immediately thrown into action and suffered very heavy losses in the Battle of Gravenstafel Ridge, part of the Second Battle of Ypres. Patterson was probably killed at some stage during the engagement, or during the retreat from the untenable trenches forward of Boetleer Farm. There is still some confusion over his burial and date of death. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission publishes a Grave Registration Report that records he fell on 27 November, (when 8 DLI was in fact resting), and that he was buried at Passchendale in Wallemolen German Cemetery. As this cemetery was destroyed in subsequent fighting Patterson is today commemorated on a special memorial in Perth Cemetery (China Wall), east of Ieper, Belgium. Against this account, Bede Magazine notes Patterson as missing in its June 1915 issue, and as having been killed in its December 1915 issue, and the grant of probate to his mother in March 1916 records his death to have occurred between 26 April and 27 November. Other Bede men reported missing after the 25/26 April first engagement had their deaths confirmed a month later: why Patterson’s death should not have been confirmed for a further five months is a mystery. Patterson’s name is recorded on the Bede College 1914-1918 cross, plaque, and Roll of Honour. He is also remembered in the National Union of Teachers War Record 1914-1919 (1920). At Bedlington he is commemorated on plaques erected by the Mechanics’ Institute and the Social Club, and on the war memorial cross, and on panels in St Cuthbert Church’s Chapel of Remembrance. A plaque was also erected in 1921 at Bedlington Council Schools, accompanied by a photo of Patterson.
Place of Birth: Bedlington
Place of residence: 1 Hollymount, Bedlington, Northumerland (demolished)
Place of Employment: Bedlington Council School
Perth Cemetery (China Wall), West-Vlaanderen, Belgium
Bedlington Mechanics' Institute war memorial plaque
Bedlington Social Club war memorial plaque
Bedlington war memorial cross
St Cuthbert Church Chapel of Remembrance, Bedlington, war memorial panels
Bedlington Council Schools war memorial plaque was erected in 1921, accompanied by a photo of Patterson
National Union of Teachers War Record 1914-1919 (1920)
Bede College 1914-1918 Cross, Plaque, and Roll of Honour
Image of the cap badge of the Durham Light Infantry (King's crown version), taken by Usedtoknowthat on 6 June 2014, is reproduced under CC BY-SA 3.0 licence
David Butler; Clive Bowery; Joyce Malcolm
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