Corporal John Leslie Patrick Gifford (18) was born in 2nd Qtr. 1898 to John and Helen Gifford in Cambridgeshire. His widowed mother lived at “Rothbury”, Hopes Green on the 6th June 1917 and at “The Anchorage” on 23rd April 1919 which is his Benfleet connection.
He lived at Balham when he signed up on 26th April 1915 to the 2nd Battalion of the Honourable Artillery Company. He was promoted to Corporal on 8th September 1916 and went to France on 2nd October 1916.
His battalion was holding Beaumont-Hamel when he was badly wounded on 6th December 1916 most highly likely from either an artillery shell or mortar grenade. He went into hospital until 6th February 1917. He was then invalided home and died in Napsbury Hospital on 11th March 1917 aged 19.
The cause of death was recorded as being shrapnel wound to the back, compound fractures of the spine and Sapremia (blood poisoning).