Grave unearthed of early war victim

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THE grave of the first Wigan World War One casualty has been unearthed and will form the centrepiece of Wigan’s memorial commemorations for the hundreds of victims whose lives were claimed in the Great War.

Private John Bamber of Francis Street, off Prescott Street, died just weeks after the start of the war after failing to recover from a wound sustained on the battlefield.

His was the first military funeral to take place in the borough and he was buried at Wigan Crematorium in Lower Ince cemetery.

Private Bamber, 28, left behind a widow and a child.

Private Bamber had almost completed his term with the a Second Lancashire as a reservist when he was called to the front in France in August 1914.

After just three days he was wounded in the leg and was treated in foreign hospitals for more than two weeks. He eventually came home on leave but his wound hadn’t healed properly and he sadly died on November 10.

At the funeral, hundreds of people from all over the borough lined the streets to say farewell to the brave soldier, which was attended not only by his relatives and friends but also by many military personnel.

The number of mourners was so great at the cemetery that the gates had to be immediately shut when the funeral procession entered.