John Hirst Ainley 21 June 1918

John Hirst Ainley born in February 1899, was the eldest son of Mr and Mrs Hirst Ainley of Huddersfield in Yorkshire. He came up to Sidney House in September 1913 and stayed until July 1916. He was a good all-rounder at sport, playing for the House in fives, rugby and cricket and for the School in Colts rugby. He also played cricket occasionally for the XI as a medium pace bowler but “adopted rather a crouching attitude at the wicket.”

He was in the Rifle Brigade and was killed in the fighting following the Battle of Lys, on 21st June 1918 while waiting for stretcher bearers for a wounded colleague.

His Major wrote: “He was long enough with the battalion for me to realize he was just the type of officer we want out here – full of keenness and energy – the kind the men appreciate.”

The Chaplain of the First Army Infantry School wrote: “He put such splendid keenness and energy into all he did, and throughout kept a high standard, which, by his influence and perhaps unknowingly, he made attractive to many round him.”

He was buried, aged just 19, in Le Vertannoy British Cemetery, near Bethune. On his headstone his grieving parents wrote, “There is no death but forgetfulness.”

C Pendrill
Yarrow Fellow