John Webb WW1

Born in 1889 John A Webb, a lithographic artist, had most recently played for Friernhay when he appeared for Exeter City's reserves team during 1913/14. Work then took him to Nottingham ahead of the outbreak of war.Enlisting in Nottingham with the Robin Hoods, the territorial battalion of the Sherwood Foresters (Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment), on 14 October 1914 he trained for eighteen weeks before arriving in France on 28 February 1915. Proceding to the Ypres area, the Robin Hoods became one of the first territorial divisions to see active service as the battalion was soon engaged in the Second Battle of Ypres. Within days the battalion became embroiled in the battle for Hill 60 and it was there, a few miles south-east of Ypres, that John Webb perished on 18 April 1915 after less than two months at the Front.His death was announced in the Western Times on Wednesday 28 April 1915 and, on the following Sunday, the congregation at the Providence United Methodist church in Exeter - where John had been a member since 1908 - listened to a eulogy by the pastor. A subsequent article in the Methodist church's circuit magazine described how 'on the morning of his death he conversed with his friend of home and loved ones. A few hours later he received the fatal shot, and now lies buried in a grave, prepared by his comrades, away somewhere in Belgium.’A family headstone in Exwick Cemetery bears an inscription for him and reads ‘Until the Day Breaks’. John Webb is also  commemorated on the memorial at St James Park, in St David's church in Exeter, and at the Lindenhoek Chalet Military Cemetery not far from Ypres.

For more about
John Webb’s playing career see his entry in the A to Z of Exeter City players section of the Archive





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