Private John Daykin, MM, 26/189, Northumberland Fusiliers
John Daykin was born in Bishop Auckland, Durham in 1887, the youngest child of County Durham couple John Daykin and his wife, Sarah (nee Graham), who had married in Bishop Auckland in 1872. The couple had moved to Ossett sometime in the 1870s, but the births of their seven children suggest that the couple returned to the north-east in the early 1880s or that possibly Sarah returned to her family home to have some of her children. In 1891 John Daykin senior was a coal miner living on Dale Street, Ossett and by 1901, the family were living on Ryecroft Street, Ossett. John junior was aged 14 years in 1901 and working as a butcher’s assistant.
In 1909, John Daykin (junior) married Harriet Beetham in Ossett, and by 1911 the couple had one child, Stanley Daykin, born 1910. At that time, the Daykin family was living at 32, Junction Lane, Ossett and John worked as the colliery blacksmith at nearby Roundwood Colliery. The couple do not appear to have had any more children before or after the war.
John Daykin’s army service record has not survived, but a medal card for a Private John Daykin, service number 26/189, Northumberland Fusiliers, records the award of the British and Victory medals, but not the 1914/15 Star, indicating that he did not serve overseas before the 31st December 1915. In common with many, his medal card does not record the award of the Military Medal.
"Another Ossett Soldier Awarded The Military Medal - Private John Daykin, Northumberland Fusiliers, son of Mrs. Daykin, 58, Junction-lane, South Ossett, has been awarded the Military Medal. Private Daykin who is 32 years old, formerly worked at Old Roundwood Colliery, but left Ossett to work elsewhere shortly before the beginning of the war. In writing home to tell his mother of the honour conferred upon him, Private Daykin says 'A man who wins the Military Medal must do a very daring action in the line, and I can always say that I am very proud to wear the ribbon; the medal will be sent home. You should see the report that has come through from headquarters - every word the truth. I have read the report, and the General shook me by the hand'. It appears that the gallant soldier gained the award for carrying through a message under heavy fire, the result of which was to save the lives of a great number of men who were in a position of danger." 1
1. "Ossett Observer"