photo courtesy of Chris Eaton
John James Platt was born in Royton on December 28th 1881.His parents were Thomas (a worker in one of the local cotton mills) and Sarah and at the time they were living in the Royley area. John was their third child and only son. His older sisters were Mary Jane & Sarah Ellen (who died in 1882 aged two) and younger were Martha, Mary Ann and Sarah. Mary Ann was to be the second of the Platt girls to die, at the age of nine in 1896. The 1901 census found the Platts living at 57 Middleton Road with John,19, working as a piecer in one of the local mills. Perhaps it was the Holly Mill as this was were he was working, as a minder, when he joined the army in 1916. By 1911 the Platts were living on Greenbank, John still being with his parents and sister Sarah. John was a member of Royton Oddfellows and Royton Cricket Club.
On December 9th 1915 John enlisted in Royton (as did John Willie Heys, who was to die with the 8th Loyal North Lancs ten days after John), he was immediately put on the Army Reserve and then waited for his call up. This arrived on March 20th 1916 and the following day he presented himself at the depot of the Manchester Regiment in Ashton-under-Lyne. He was allocated to the 27th Battalion and joined them in Southport on March 23rd. In May the 27th relocated to nearby Altcar which is where John remained based until he was sent to France, arriving there on August 29th 1916. John had been sent to join the Manchester Regiment's 16th Battalion who had been out in France since the previous November. It's very possible however that John never reached the 16th Battalion as he was transferred to the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, joining their 8th Battalion on September 9th. He was one of a draft of 64 men, unlike John the majority of them had already seen frontline service. The 8th Loyals had been out in France since September 1915 and had suffered losses throughout July and August in the Somme area. When John and the other new men joined them they were resting in a camp near Abbeville until late September when they went into the line near Thiepval. On October 2nd John James Platt was killed along with nine other men from the battalion. The units war diary doesn't mention them, only just that they were in the frontline at 'Hessian Trench' to the southwest of Stuff Redoubt.
John wrote home regularly to his parents so it raised some alarm when they had not heard anything from him for a while.A couple of weeks after his death a letter arrived at the home of John's comrade,friend and workmate Private John Wilkinson. In it he told his parents that John had been killed in action and asked them to break the news to his mother and father. The Oldham Chronicle then reported on October 28th that Thomas & Sarah Platt had now received the official notification from the Records Office at Preston that their son was dead.
The men from the 8th Loyal North Lancs who were also killed that day are named below. Four were part of the same batch from the 16th Manchesters, two of whom were from neighbouring Shaw and one from Oldham.
BAXENDALE THOMAS Serjeant 15427 from Bootle
GARSIDE BENJAMIN 30 Lance Corporal 27199 from Oldham
GREAVES ROBERT Private 27222 from Shaw
LAWLER NICHOLAS 26 Private 13583 from Widnes
McMANUS JAMES 18 Lance Corporal 16215 from Liverpool
REYNOLDS THOMAS Private 29517 from Bolton
RIDGWICK HAROLD Private 27244 from Shaw
TOWERS JOHN Private 24245 from Chorley
WOODCOCK ALFRED 20 Private 27193 from Manchester
Family headstone at Royton Cemetery
JOHN JAMES PLATT
Date of Death:02/10/1916
Regiment:The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment