HANSON, John Henry

Private John Henry Hanson
R/387283 (Royal) Army Service Corps, 96th Remount Squadron

John Henry Hanson was born in 1888 at Westwood, son of Isaac Hanson a pit banksman born in Huddersfield and his wife Mary (nee Disney) from Keyworth. In 1901 and also in 1911 the family was living at Old Westwood (Palmerston Street), Westwood.  John was one of 7 sons, Arthur b. 1883 Keyworth, Archibald Neville  b. 1885 Long Eaton, John Henry b. 1888 Keyworth, Sidney Herbert b. 1890 Keyworth, George Ernest b. 1892 Westwood, Samuel Disney b. 1898 Westwood and Oswald b. 1901 Westwood. Five of the brothers served in WW1 and are recorded on the Jacksdale War Memorial as having survived..

The Absent Voters Roll of 1918 records that John is serving with The Army Service Corps, at No 2 Base Remount Depot and the 1919 Roll says he is with the 96th Remount Squadron.  No 2 Base was established at Le Havre by January 1915 but it is not known when John joined them. He would have been selected as suitable for this work as he would have had experience of working with horses, possibly as a coal miner ‘ganger’. At the outbreak of war in 1914 there were 5 Remount Depots and 4 Remount Companies with a strength of 1,200 horses and mules.  A year later the strength had increased to over half a million animals. By 1917 nearly 21,000 men and officers were serving in the Remounts. Over the course of the war 1.18 million horses and mules had been purchased by the British Remount Service at a cost of £67.5 million for purchase and training.

The Great War, edited by HW Wilson, provides the following account, ‘ The outbreak of the war gave to the Remount Department of the British Army, … the task of raising the supply of Army horses from 20,000 to 140,000 before the First Expeditionary Force was equipped sufficiently to move out of the country.  Most of these horses were raised in the highways and byways of Great Britain itself. They were bought either with the owner’s consent or without it; in other words they were commandeered, for no private interests could be let stand in the way, and a man who grudged the sale of his horse found it taken by force and a fair price put in his hands. In justice to the nation, it must be recorded that the number of unwilling sellers was rare in the extreme. Many people were naturally reluctant to part with old favourite animals but they saw the nation’s greater need and yielded them up…….. Many a farmer’s dogcart and country woman’s gig was stopped on the high road and its horse bought, as it were, right out of the very shafts.  There might be many protests, but the horse was bought in the shafts as it stood. If the owner promised to forward the animal immediately upon his return home, he was allowed to have the use of it to complete his drive. If not, the animal was taken forthwith and handed to soldiers who accompanied the Government buyer to take charge of his purchases. The trap – now horseless – was left at the nearest inn.’ 

John’s regimental details are taken from the 1918/19 Absent Voters Roll but we have not been able to locate any service information for him.

In 1921  John married Dora Kensit and they had children Harry, Grace and Doreen.

John died in the Basford District in 1946, aged 58 years. His father Isaac Hanson died in 1931, aged 74 and his mother Mary died in 1919, aged 60 years, both are buried at Westwood, St. Mary’s.