DOUBLE FAMILY TRAGEDY OF FORMER CALDAY GRANGE PUPIL
John Hore was born in 1896 in Kingswear, Dartmouth, Devon and was the son of Philip Henry Hore. Subsequently, the family moved to Hoylake, where initially they lived at the Coastguard Station in Government Road, where Philip was the coastguard. Later, records show the Hore residence as 11 Ferndale Road and John studied at Calday Grange Grammar School.
Wartime tragedy was not new to the Hore family. John’s elder brother, William, had remained in the South West and joined the Royal Navy at Chatham in February 1910, aged 15. But he died on 22nd September 1914 aboard HMS Cressy, when on patrol in the North Sea with sister vessels, Aboukir and Hogue, all three were sunk by German submarine U-9, with the loss of 1,397 lives.
John Hore enlisted shortly after war broke out in August 1914 and joined the 4th Battalion of the Cheshire Regiment, the area’s territorial unit based in Birkenhead. He spent nearly a year training in the UK, and on 14th July 1915, the soldiers sailed as part of 159th Brigade, 53rd (Welsh) Division to join the battle on the Gallipoli peninsula.
The Cheshires landed at Suvla Bay on 8th August 1915 as part of an attack to support a breakout from Anzac Cove. The aim of the Suvla force had been to quickly secure the sparsely held high ground surrounding the bay and salt lake, but confused landings and indecision caused fatal delays, allowing the Turks to reinforce and only a few of the objectives were taken with difficulty. The battalion was rushed into a botched attack on Chocolate Hill and suffered over 400 casualties.
John survived this stage of the conflict but died during the last days of the doomed Gallipoli campaign. By then, the ill-judged attempt to force Turkey out of the war had failed and Allied troops on the peninsula had been reduced to trench warfare. On 8th December 1915 John was killed in the Green Hill area at Suvla Bay – ‘shot through the head by a sniper’. He was aged 19.
Ironically it was on this date that Lord Kitchener sent General Birdwood the following telegram: ‘Cabinet has decided to evacuate positions at Suvla and Anzac.’
John’s body was one of the unusually high proportion of unidentified bodies buried in the Green Hill cemetery, which is unlike Western Front Commonwealth cemeteries in that it does not have Portland limestone headstones standing upright. According to the Caldeian journal of June 1916, John Hore was described by his commanding officer as “one of the most reliable and capable of my Section, and a general favourite with all”.