Private John William Dolling

Rank or Title

Date of Birth

Jan 1893

Date of Death

Jun 1937

Media files and documents

War time / or Pre War occupation

Straw Hat Blocker

Service Number

3/6577, S/9386

Place of Birth

United Kingdom

World War I Address

34 Grange Road [Now Butlin Road]
United Kingdom

Place of Death

United Kingdom

Grave Location

Crawley Green Road
United Kingdom

Soldier or Civilian

  • Soldier

John William Dolling spent 3 hours lying in water in a trench in France. His experience was reported in the Luton News on 1st December 1914. (see attached file)

John was born in Ampthill in January 1893, 1 of 6 children to James & Mary Jane.

In  August 1910 he joined the 3rd Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment (Special Reserves). At the time he was working for Davis & Clements in Frederick Street as a packer. He was described on his service record as 5ft  6 inches with a fresh complexion, hazel eyes & auburn hair with a 4 inch scar on his right ankle & a scar on his left index finger.

In 1911 he is 18 years old & working as a straw hat blocker & living with his parents at 67 Ivy Road, Luton. He has 2 sisters living here at that time, Rose is 22, a straw hat finisher & Amy is 14 years old & a straw hat machinist. They also have a lodger from Scotland staying with them, Joseph Marshall, 25, who is a pattern worker in a foundry.

On 29th July 1912 John marries Edith Maud Harris at Christ Church, Luton. In September that year they are living at 34 Inkerman Street & John applies to be an officer in the Metropolitan Police Force, whilst still serving in the Special Reserves. He trained to be a stretcher bearer whilst in the Reserves in 1912.

On 15th July 1913 their son Alfred John William is born.

On the outbreak of war, John was sent to France & in November 1914 he experienced life in the trenches. After his time in the water filled trench he was sent to No 7 Stationary Hospital, then on 27th November was sent home. He spent some time recuperating, then on 25th February 1916 was sent to India.

During his time in India, on 18th September 1917, he was transferred to 1/4th Battalion Royal West Kent Regiment. He served here until 26th March 1919, when he was sent home to 34 Grange Road & discharged on 25th April due to Rheumatism & sciatica.

John died in June 1937 aged 44. He is buried in the cemetery on Crawley Green Road.

Individual Location

Author: KarenC

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