Our People - John Coupe
14 October 1914
#6924 Lance Corporal John Coupe
1st Battalion, King's Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment)
12th Brigade, 4th Division
Died of wounds 14 October 1914
Ploegsteert Memorial, Hainaut, Belgium. Ref Panel 2
John Coupe was born at Over Darwen on 8 July 1882 to William and Ann Coupe (nee Donnelly). William was an iron moulder and he founded William Coupe Limited by Many Brooks, Kittlingbourne Brow, Higher Walton on the site of the old Moon’s Mill foundry. John was the seventh of nine children born to the couple.
John started his working life as a brass moulder before enlisting with the 1st Bn, Royal Lancaster Regiment on 2 November 1901 when he was 18 years and 6 months of age. His service record survives and from that we know that he was 5 feet 3 inches and weighed 115 pounds. He had a fresh complexion, brown hair and grey eyes with a mole on his left shoulder and a scar on his left knee.
John achieved 2nd class musketry qualification in 1903 and a 3rd Class certificate of education on 28 May 1904. He was promoted Lance Corporal 22 February 1904 and was qualified as a nursing orderly 17 March 1904 and as a stretcher bearer on 24(?) March 1904, although he is listed as being granted an extra nursing allowance as early as 1 August 1902.
John was awarded the Tibet Medal in 1905 for services during the Gyantse campaign where had been employed as a nurse for eight months. He received a chest wound during that campaign. The campaign was part of the British expedition to Tibet and was intended to counter Russia’s perceived ambitions in the East and was initiated in large part by Lord Curzon, the head of the British India Government.
When he was discharged, John went to live with his parents at 44 Mount Pleasant House in Higher Walton. He had served 3 years and 264 days in total. He returned to his former occupation as a brass moulder.
In 1911 John was living at 36 Kittlingbourne, Higher Walton with his mother and father, his brothers Thomas and Isiah and sister Alice.
He was re-engaged with the colours with effect from 2 November 1913 and embarked for France 19 September 1914. His record initially states killed in action 13 October 1914, but this has been corrected later to read that he died of wounds the day after on 14 October 1914. It is not clear at the moment if he died at the Battles of Messines or the Battle of Armentieres. He was awarded the 1914 Star, British War and Victory Medal to add to his earlier Tibet Medal.
In a note from the war office within John’s records, his articles of personal property were sent to his next of kin, Mr W. Coupe, 36, Kittlingbourne, Higher Walton, Preston – John’s brother. Further to this, another note asks that any medals that have been won or that may eventually be awarded should go to his brother via the solicitors W. J. Woodcope in Bamber Bridge. In a later note from July 1919, John’s brother asks that his Bronze medal be forwarded to 42 Foundry Cottages, Higher Walton.
Locally, John is remembered on the All Saints, Roll of Honour and the All Saints Cross which stands outside the church. His name is on the Ploegsteert Memorial, Hainaut, Belgium (Panel 2)
The fortress of the Gyantse Jong with the British and Indian camp in the foreground
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