John Willie Lax

John Willie Lax photograph with wife Florence and daughter Doris

John Willie Lax with wife Florence and daughter Doris, taken about 1914.

Mr Brian Denham has provided this photograph and new resources about John Willie Lax, for which we are most grateful.

John Willie Lax was born July 13, 1881 at Aycliffe, Co. Durham.

John's parents were William Lax, born 1846 at Aycliffe and Sarah Ellen Bland, born 1867 at Aycliffe.

John had 1 brother and 7 sisters:

Henrietta Rebecca born 1868

Amelia Annie born 1870

Elizabeth Westgarth born 1872

Thomas Henry born 1874

Meggie Lyal born 1879

Nellie Bland born 1884

Ruby Jane born 1887

Septima Hannah born 1891


John married Florence Hill February 20, 1909 at Fir Tree Parish Church. John was 28 and Florence 25. Florence was the daughter of Thompson Hill, a miner and was born at Toft Hill.

Their daughter Doris was born December 25, 1909 at Sacriston.

In the 1911 census John and family were living at 14, Gregson Street, Sacriston, Durham. John was 29, a Miner Bricklayer working at the colliery.


Two letters to Florence and one letter to Doris written shortly before he was wounded have survived:

April 22, 1918, April 23, 1918, to Doris

Army number: 18530.

Rank: Corporal.

Unit: 13th Battalion, Forest of Dean Gloucestershire Regiment.


John Willie Lax died of his wounds April 27, 1918 in B Ward, The Dublin, 83 General Hospital, B.E.F. France.

A letter from the sister of the ward was sent to his wife at 1 Croft Street, Sacriston. Letter part a. Letter part b.

A further letter was sent to Florence. Letter a. Letter b.

Source: The Commonwealth War Graves Commission


LAX , Corporal, JOHN WILLIE, 18530, 13th Bn. (Forest of Dean, Pioneers), Gloucestershire Regiment. Died of wounds 27 April 1918. Age 36. Son of Ellen and the late William Lax, of Aycliffe, Darlington; husband of Florence A. Lax, of 1, Croft St., Sacriston, Co. Durham. Grave Ref. IX. A. 37.

Joh Willie Lax Boulogne Cemetery

Florence Lax visited John Willie Lax's grave in August 1931.

With kind permission of the Evening Despatch, on Saturday, 4 May, 1918, the folllowing Roll of Honour death notice appeared:

Jack Lax Roll of Honour death notice, 4 May, 1918

Florence Lax at Menin Gate 1931

Florence Lax at the Menin Gate in Ypres

John Willie Lax grave

John Willie Lax's grave

Florence Lax's letter of August 14, 1931 describing her visit to Boulogne and other War Grave sites has been scanned by Brian Denham and can be read:

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