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Additional information for:
John Wilfred 
Submitted by Vivien Aizlewood Date Added: Wednesday 12 February, 2020
John Wilfred Watthews was born in Holmfirth, West Yorkshire on 29 January 1893, the eldest of the five sons and one daughter of Dr Herbert Watthews and his wife Elizabeth. In the 1911 census, the family are living at Holly Bank, Holmfirth and John Wilfred aged 18 is shown as a medical student.

Having attained his MB qualification, John Wilfred served in the war in the RAMC and was awarded the Military Cross in September 1917, followed by a Bar to this award the following year.

On 10 November 1917, the local newspaper, the Holmfirth Express reported the first award with the following article: “Many friends in the district will be pleased to learn that token of distinctive merit has been granted to a member of a well-known and highly respected Holmfirth family, the Military Cross having been awarded to Captain John Wilfred Watthews, the eldest son of Dr. and Mrs. Watthews, Holly Bank. To have gained his captaincy at the age of 24 years was in itself is a worthy achievement - to have secured the MC at this age is doubly so. Our young townsman joined his Majesty's forces on June 1st last year, and, fresh from six months experience as house surgeon at Edinburgh where he had graduated at University, he went out with the R.A.M.C., and was soon attached to the field ambulance. Plenty of scope was quickly afforded for the young volunteer to put into practice the zeal and the knowledge of which he is possessed, for he went through the Somme engagements and the Arras attacks, and has latterly been on the Ypres front. The young man soon made a favourable impression and his progress was a natural sequence to his enthusiasm and devotion. Just after ‘Jackie’ - to take liberties with the young officer’s Christian name - received his Captaincy his younger brother fell in action, and, as further evidence of the family’s loyalty, it may be maintained that although the war has made a gap in the family circle, Dr. Watthews' third son is now in training. While perforce Capt. Watthews has been actively engaged from boyhood in counties other than Yorkshire, nevertheless he is well known in this district, and his many friends joined with us in congratulating this young officer upon his distinction, along with the expression of the hope he will have the best of fortune in his future activities.”

The award of a Bar to his MC was reported by the Holmfirth Express on 11 May 1918: “John Wilfred Matthews, M.C., Captain R.A.M.C., son of Dr. and Mrs. Watthews, of Holmfirth has been awarded a bar to his Military Cross which he obtained last October. The “Gazette” records that the Cross was awarded because “His evacuation of the wounded both during and after attack was carried out with wonderful organisation and skill. He worked continuously for 48 hours, attending to the wounded under shell fire.”
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