John Reading was the third of five sons on active service from the family of Mr and Mrs A. Reading, who lived at 'Wychbury', Norton Road, Stourbridge. He attended Stourbridge Grammar School from 1904 to 1909 and before his military service had been a bank clerk at Brierley Hill. He volunteered for the Worcester Territorials in April 1915 and joined the 1/7th Battalion. He was soon recommended for a commission and after training re-joined the battalion as Second Lieutenant. They were stationed in the Somme sector which was relatively quiet in the Autumn of 1915. Most of the time was spent at Hébuterne, a pleasant village, except for its proximity to the trenches. When the winter came, the appalling rain soaked the men continuously and the long sick-lists led to wastage greater than that caused by battle. In February 1916 the battalion took over the front line at Fonquevillers. Here there were German raids and shelling to contend with, some of which led to casualties. On 29th April Second Lieutenant John Reading was killed as a result of a mortar bomb exploding beside him. He was 22 years of age and the second of the brothers to die. He was buried in Hébuterne Cemetery (1 J 22) and commemorated on the Stourbridge, Oldswinford, St. Thomas's church and King Edward VI College Memorials. There is a fine individual memorial to him at St. Thomas's church. His brother, Captain Frederick Reading of the 3rd Worcesters was awarded the Military Cross in 1918 and the family came to own the local wine merchants, Nickolls and Perks and Rutlands.
Market Street, Stourbridge, West Midlands, DY8 1AQ
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