John Birchwood  

Servicenumber : 289948
Rank : Captain
Regiment : East Lancashire Regiment
Unit : Attached to A Company, 9th Durham Light Infantry Battalion
Date of Death : 04-10-1944
Age : 37
Grave : Plot 12. Row A. Grave 10.
John Birchwood was a son of James Edward and Elizabeth Mary Birchwood. He was married to Anne Lucy Birchwood of Droylsden, Lancashire. He had at least two brothers: Frank and Alan James. They both served with the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Frank was killed on 1-10-1941 age 30. He is buried at Manchester. Alan James was killed on 14-12-1941 age 21. He is buried at Droylsden. 
On the forum of www2talk.com some information about John Birchwood can be found. Apparently Birchwood was attached to the 9th Battalion Durham Light Infantry of the 151st Infantry Brigade, 50th (Northumbrian) Infantry Division. He was a platoon commander of A Company.
On 28 august 1943 Birchwood was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the East Lancashire Regiment. 
On 4 october 1944 the 9th Durham Light Infantry Battalion was given the task of taking the village of Baal and the surrounding orchards. A Company would follow D Company (advancing to a road fork on the Bemmel-Baal road) and then capture an orchard south of Baal. 
The attack began at 14.00 hrs and D Company quickly reached its objective. Because the Germans were now very alert to the attack A Company had to fight hard to take their objective. They tried to move around the left flank of D Company, but ran into heave machinegun fire from a house and orchards. During this the CO of A Company, Captain Hudson was wounded and all three platoon commanders, among them John Birchwood, were killed.
Birchwood his name is mentioned on the War Memorial at Droylsden.
Picture: 23-09-2012

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