Private John Thomas Branston was born at Oakham on 29 March 1899, the only son and youngest child of Richard and Ada Branston, who later lived at Pickworth Road, Great Casterton. He had two sisters, Edith and Ada. John worked as a plumber and joined up aged 18 on 18 May 1917. He first served first with the East Yorkshire Regiment before transferring to the Machine Gun Corps. He was drafted to France on 1 April 1918, taking part in many battles during the last nine months of the war. On 29 October he was in the fighting around Cambrai, and was said to be "...in the best of health and spirits, this disposition being a feature of his life, wherever he was. Always smiling and happy." But he seccumbed to 'flu shortly afterwards and died on 4 November, a week before the Armistice. His parents only heard he was ill when they received a letter from the 2nd Stationary Hospital, France, on 6 November to say that he had been admitted there. But by then he was dead. John is buried in Abbeville Communal Cemetery Extension, grave V.A.39, and is remembered on the war memorial in Great Casterton church, and a plaque inside Little Casterton church which was once in Toll Bar Methodist Chapel. John is also remembered on the main war memorial in Stamford, and also on the war memorial outside St Martin's church in the town. It is not known if there is a direct link to Stamford other than the town being very close to his home in Great Casterton. John's cousin, John Thomas Branston Woodward, from Caldecott also died in the First World War. His mother was the sister of John Thomas Branston's father. John Thomas Branston joined up just seven months after his elder cousin was killed.
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