John William Valentine was born in 1893, his parents were John Valentine and Kate
Hester who had married in 1889. His father was a Shoe Finisher and his mother was a Shoe Fitter & Machinist. They started married life at Emerald Street which was near Blackbird Road, it was an area where the streets were named after Jewels and were demolished in 1949.
The 1901 Census shows the family living at 51 Harrison Street, the couple went on to have seven children, by 1911 Kate born in 1891 and was a Short Hand Typist, John William was a Clerk, Grace May born 1894 was in the Hosiery Trade, Sidney born 1896 was in the Shoe Trade Warehouse, Frank born 1899, Christine Elise born 1901 and Norman born in 1904 were at school.
Later the family moved to 34 Knighton Fields Road East, oldest child Kate married Herbert Whenham in 1915 and moved a few doors down to no 40 Knighton Fields Road East. Sadly they were not married for long as Herbert died in 1921, their son Herbert was only a year old when his father died.
When he was 24 John William was Called up for Service, he enlisted on 27/10/1916 and was posted to France on 13/1/1917, his paperwork shows he had Trench Foot by February. Later that year he was Killed in Action on 18/9/1917, and is commemorated on the Arras Memorial, Pas De Calais in France.
The Leicester Daily Post, dated 27th September 1917 reported that ‘Mr and Mrs J Valentine had received information that their eldest son Pte J.W Valentine 25 years of age, Yorks and Lancs Regt was killed in France on Sept 18th whilst on outpost duty. He joined up in September 1916 at which time he was a clerk with Messrs Waterhouse Reynolds and Co’. Based at no. 7 Upper Brown Street, Waterhouse Reynolds were Corset Makers.
John William’s personal effects were forwarded to his father in February 1918, and included letters, postcards, photo’s, 1 photo case, 1 religious’ booklet, 1 wrist watch and strap in box. His father was later awarded a pension of six Shillings.