Baxenden Lads: Duckworth JP

25th August 1918

PTE. 96484 JOHN (JACK) PILKINGTON DUCKWORTH of the King’s Liverpool Regiment was killed in action on August 25th 1918, a few miles from Arras on the road to Cambrai in France.

Jack lived with his parents, Mr. & Mrs. George Duckworth, at 473 Manchester Road, Baxenden. He was aged nineteen years. He was a regular attender at St. John’s Church and Sunday School where he played the harmonium every Sunday. He was a bright, intelligent youth, who, if he had lived, would have made an excellent musician. He was also a member of Baxenden Conservative Club.

Jack joined the Army on September 27th 1917 and went to France on Easter Sunday 1918. His regiment was one of many British, Australian and Canadian regiments which, supported by tanks and artillery, attacked the German positions in a massive assault which was to be the beginning of the end of the war. The attack was a success, with the Germans retreating seven miles in one day. Jack’s regiment suffered 286 casualties, however, and he was posted as ‘missing’. For two months his parents held the hope that he was alive and a prisoner of war, but these hopes were dashed with an official confirmation of his death.

Jack’s body was never found or identified, and his name is inscribed on the Vis-en-Artois Memorial to the Missing who fell in the 1918 advance in Picardy which led to the final victory in November 1918. The Memorial is near Arras on the Cambrai road. There are over 10,000 names on the Memorial, and 209 of his comrades of the King’s Liverpool Regiment are also named.