113064 Pte. John Thomas Astridge was born in Wandsworth, England, on October 30th, 1885. He spent much of his youth living with grandmother, Anne, in Farnham, Surrey, and Eton, Buckinghamshire, latterly living in the Gardener's Lodge at Taplow House, working as a gardener.


Carrying on that trade when he emigrated to Canada, John was a florist at the time of his attestation into the 21st Battalion, in Kingston, Ontario, on November 3rd, 1914.


Having had four years of previous military experience, in the 41st Battalion, John was struck off strength with the 21st Battalion December 30th, 1914, after it was found that he was medically unfit.


Further attestation papers signed in August 1915, saw John in 'B' Company, with the 8th CMR, until that regiment was absorbed into the 4th CMR in January 1916 and he was assigned to 'A' Company.


At the time of John's loss, on May 12th, 1916, the 4th CMR was in the front line in the Sanctuary Wood and Zillebeke Dugouts area, when, in the early hours of the 11th, heavy and sustained enemy shelling fell upon the front line, communication and support trenches, leaving several men dead from 'A', 'B' and 'C' Companies.


Whilst John managed to avoid injury through this bombardment, he was subsequently struck down by a sniper's bullet on the 12th.


Pte. John Thomas Astridge is one of 12 men of the 4th Canadian Mounted Rifles known to lie at rest in Maple Copse Cemetery, near Sanctuary Wood, Ieper.




Biography credit: Mike Kavanagh; headstone image courtesy of 4cmr.com