Rank: Private
Service Number:WR/341159.
Regiment: I W and D Royal Engineers
Formerly: 7913, 3rd Bn. Cheshire Regiment
Died Friday 14th March 1919
Age 46
County Memorial Macclesfield
Commemorated\Buried Macclesfield Cemetery
Grave\Panel Ref: N/A

John Henry's Story.


John Henry Gain(e) was born in Macclesfield in 1872, the son of Mary (née Gilday) and Daniel Gain, a cotton winder and cotton spinner, both originally from Belfast, Ireland. In 1881, nine-year-old John was living at 12 Heapy St, Macclesfield with his parents and siblings William (22), Mary A (20), Joseph (19), Daniel (17), Elizabeth (14), Margaret (12), Sarah (4) and James (4 months).

On 31 December 1890 John enlisted at Ashton under Lyne, joining the 4th Battalion of the Manchester Regiment (Militia) with service number 3448. John stated that he lived at 26 Peter St, Congleton and was employed by Mr Johnson of Congleton as a labourer. He served in India for over six years, returned to the UK for one year from 21 November 1898 until 29 November 1899, then served in South Africa until 26 January 1901, qualifying for the Queen's South Africa Medal with clasps for the Transvaal and Relief of Ladysmith. John returned in the UK when he remained until he was discharged on 17 February 1903 at the end of his period of engagement.

John's father died in 1899; his mother lived until 1913.

John was recorded in the 1901 census as a Private in the 3rd Manchester Regiment, visiting his sisters Sarah Ellen Gain and Maggie, the wife of Herbert Moores, at 79 Mill Lane, Macclesfield.  He was also recorded as being in the barracks of the Manchester Regiment at Mossley Road, Ashton-under-Lyne. Three months later in June 1901, John married Sarah Jane Dale at St John's Church, Macclesfield; the couple lived at 6 Paradise Street, Macclesfield.

On 9 March 1903 John joined the 4th Battalion of the Cheshire Regiment (Militia). Almost five years later, on 27 January 1908, he transferred to the 3rd Battalion (Special Reserve), with service number 7913, for a period of six years' service.

John was recorded in the 1911 census at a boarding house in Elizabeth Street, Macclesfield, working as a builders' labourer.


As an Army reservist, John was mobilised on 8 August 1914 and a year later, on 10 August 1915, he was posted to the 1st Garrison Battalion of the Cheshire Regiment at Gibraltar, where he served until 7 February 1916. John was discharged on 15 March 1916 at the end of his period of engagement with the Cheshire Regiment.

John re-enlisted at Manchester on 31 December 1917, joining the Inland Waterways & Docks (I W & D) section of the Royal Engineers with service number WR/341159. He was posted to Bristol and later served at Chepstow.

John suffered from problems with his chest, was diagnosed with chronic bronchitis and emphysemia, and was discharged as permanently unfit for service on 6 July 1918. The service records noted that he had been separated from his wife for some years, and after discharge he intended to live at 79 Mill Lane, Macclesfield, the home of his sister Maggie and her family.

On 8 March 1919 John was admitted to Macclesfield Infirmary suffering from bronchitis leading to double pneumonia, from which he died on six days later on 14 March 1919. His home address was stated in the register to be 44 Charlotte Street, Macclesfield, where his wife lived.

John was buried in Macclesfield Cemetery on 20 March 1919.


Private John Henry Gain is buried in Macclesfield Cemetery. He is not known to be commemorated on any memorials.


GRO (England & Wales) Index: Births, Marriages, Deaths
Census (England & Wales): 1881, 1901, 1911
Cheshire Parish Marriage Registers (Find My Past): St John's Church, Macclesfield
British Army Medal Index Cards (Ancestry)
WWI British Army Service Records 1914-1920 (Find My Past)
Macclesfield Infirmary Admission Register (Cheshire Archives, ref. LGM 4/2)
WWI Pension Record Cards (WFA/Ancestry/Fold3)
Deceased Online: Cheshire East Burial Records

Research by Rosie Rowley, Macclesfield.