Rank or Title
Date of Birth
Date of Death
16 Jul 1918
War time / or Pre War occupation
Place of Birth
World War I Address
Place of Death
War Memorial Location
Soldier or Civilian
L-Cpl John (Jack) Hayden Healey MM, 102086, 15th Sherwood Foresters (Derby & Notts Regiment), was killed in action at Kemmel Hill, near Ypres in Flanders, on July 16, 1918. He was aged 29 and single and had been a journalist, latterly employed by The Luton News.
In a letter dated July 19th, 1918, to parents Arthur and Florence Ann Healey at 31 Court Road, Luton, a chaplain George Smissen informed them that their eldest son was killed in action three days previously.
Jack Healey was on the staff of the Beds Advertiser before and after its amalgamation with The Luton News. “He was a keen reporter, and a valuable all-round journalist,” said his obituary. “He also took a great interest in local sport, and was a regular occupant of the Press box on the Town ground.”
Six weeks previously, The Luton News reported that Jack had been awarded the Military Medal for what the official award described as being “a splendid example”.
The official account of the act read: “During the evening of ---- [blanked out] when the enemy put an intense barrage on our lines, communication with headquarters became almost impossible. This man, however, passed through the barrage and kept the company in communication with headquarters although he had been blown up with high explosive and badly shaken. His conduct set a splendid example to the men who were getting very much shaken.”
In a letter to his parents L-Cpl Healey said the incident in which he was blown up was “really very funny”. A chum of his who had “a pretty hefty wound” decided it was worth while risking the barrage to get to the aid post, and started about the same time. Part of the journey lay along the same route, but they decided it was no use going together, as it was important that he (Healey) should get along as quickly as possible. About ten minutes later the high explosive referred to “took a hand in the proceedings” and the next thing Healey remembered was his pal “trying to choke him with the neck of his water bottle”.
Jack Healey had joined up in February 1916 and was with the Bedfords for a considerable time, being made an instructor and subsequently receiving the rank of sergeant. He was transferred to the Sherwood Foresters and, as was often the case in such circumstances, reverted to the rank of lance-corporal.
He had been a member of Luton Conservative Club and a member of the local branch of the National Union of Journalists. He was also a popular pianist, especially at free-and-easy concerts back home.