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Lance Corporal John William Steers HIGGS

4th Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment 4311 & 10269
King’s Royal Rifle Corps

John was born in Spratton on 17 March 1900, the son of John Higgs, a shoemaker, and his wife Elizabeth (née Steers) who came from Lowick. When John was still a baby, the family moved to Lowick to live with his grandparents and later they moved to Northampton where his father found employment in the boot and shoe trade. 

John was clearly desperate to enlist.  He first volunteered to join the 4th Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment on 31 May 1915, when he was 15.  He gave a Northampton address. He was discharged the next day, “having made a mis-statement as to age on enlistment”. He volunteered again the next month in June 1915, this time giving his address as Spratton and his date of birth as 17 March 1897, thereby adding three years to his age.  He was discharged again on 16 January 1916.  His service record states: “He did not serve abroad with the Expeditionary Force.  He was discharged at Strood, Kent, having made a false declaration as to his age”.

He finally managed to join the King’s Royal Rifle Corps as soon as he reached the age of 18 in March 1918.  He gave his address as 25 Herbert Street, Northampton.  During his training he was stationed in Colchester and then employed on garrison duties, before becoming a physical training instructor.  He did not serve overseas and was demobilised in October 1919.

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