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John William Blanchard


Christian Names

Service Number




John William



1st Btn, Coldstream Guards



Enlisted at






Date of Death

Where killed

Cause of Death







Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial

Panel 11


Next of Kin

Next of kin address


Joseph and Elizabeth Blanchard (Parents   Chippenham


Married and lived at 119 Market Place, Brantford, Ontario, Canada. Constable in the Brantford Police Department.

Brantford November 23, 1914

Brantford Reservist Among the Wounded Constable John L. Cobden Hit Twice Constable John William Blanchard and Private Arthur Frederick Barnes, Who Also Went from This City, Are Missing and it is Feared They are Among the Slain

Indications point to Private Arthur F. Barnes and Constable John Blanchard, late of the Brantford police force as the first Brantford men to give their lives for King and Country, after having answered to duty’s call, while residents of this city.

Mrs. J.L. Cobden, wife of Constable John L. Cobden, Saturday night received a letter from her husband, who is in a base hospital, though which one was not given because the censor had blotted it out. He had been wounded in the head and fingers, the first wound almost duplicating that received by him from a revolver in the hands of Murray, the local colored man who ran amuck last Christmas. Blanchard, he stated, was missing after a big battle, presumably that of the Aisne, while Barnes, as had been previously reported, was very seriously wounded, and according to his knowledge, had passed away in the hospital after the fight.

Constable Blanchard was very well known in this city, having been on the force for nearly three years. He resided at 119 Market Street, being married, with one young child. When the call came and Blanchard as a reservist answered it, Mrs. Blanchard gave up housekeeping, selling out, and with her child, left for her home in the old land. The Coldstreams were in the first expeditionary force sent abroad, being severely handled during the retreat from Mons, the reservists filling up the gaps thus caused. They took part in very heavy fighting, to such an extent, that, according to Cobden, there was not an officer left and so few men that the battalion could hardly be formed up again. Blanchard was a South African Veteran.

Brantford November 27, 1914

Cobden Says Blanchard is Likely Dead – First Brantford Man to Lose His Life in Present War – No Particulars – Letter Received Last Evening Does Not Go into Details

There are indications which point to the fact that ex-Constable John William Blanchard, of the local police force, reservist who rejoined his colors in the Coldstream Guards, was killed. He had previously been reported as missing.

Mrs. J.L. Cobden, wife of ex-Constable John Ladyman Cobden, also of the local police force, received another letter last evening from her husband, who is in a base hospital stating that he had only had one piece of cake in nine weeks. “This piece was from a cake sent by Mrs. Blanchard to her husband. I had it a week before he died,” said Cobden in his letter. This would indicate that Blanchard has indeed given up his life for his King and Country.

Cobden in his letter states that he is getting along nicely, “I am apparently possessed of an iron head, as a German bullet which hit me merely grazed the skull,” he commented. The wounds in his head and his fingers have practically healed, but his back was severely strained. It will be remembered that Cobden was buried alive by earth scattered by a German shell. He was hurriedly dug out by two Scots Guards men, or he would have been suffocated. As it was, the falling earth which injured his back and it is this which is keeping him in the hospital.

Brantford November 30, 1914

May Still Be Alive – If Ex-Constable Blanchard is Dead His Wife Knows Nothing about It

Contradictory to the news received here from his fellow soldier, Corp. J.L. Cobden, Pte. J. Blanchard late of the local police force, who was reported killed, may yet be alive and well.

This morning a letter was received by Secretary Treasurer A.K. Bunnell, thanking him for the cheque sent to Mrs. J. Blanchard, wife of the constable, who when war broke out went back to her home at Chippenham, Wiltshire England.

“My husband is safe and well,” said the letter, this being the only telegram to him. As the letter was posted on Nov. 17 it would seem that either Blanchard, who was missing, managed to make his way back to friendly lines, or else Mrs. Blanchard had not been notified of the fact that he was missing after a hard fight.

Brantford December 26, 1914

Private Blanchard is Still Alive – Former Policeman is Still Busy Mowing Down Germans

Constable John Blanchard reported probably killed by Constable Cobden, a fellow soldier in the First Battalion of the Coldstream Guards, is not dead, but is at present fighting in France or Belgium, without even having received a wound.

That was the pleasing word received here yesterday by Ernest Dobson, an employee of the Massey-Harris Company, and a brother of Mrs. Blanchard’s. The letter stated that Blanchard was at the front, and had not yet received a wound, even in the battle of the Aisne, when the British losses were so heavy.

It will be remembered that Cobden reported that Blanchard when last seen by him was fighting against a horde of Germans, nine lying at his feet, and as he was not reported that night, Cobden gave him up for lost, with the probability that he had been killed. Apparently Blanchard got away, and managed to hide; rejoining his regiment later, after Cobden had been taken to the hospital after having received his wounds, which have forced him to stay in a hospital in England.

The news that John William Blanchard was not killed will be received with great pleasure in this city where he has very many friends. He formerly resided on South Market Street.

Brantford January 22, 1915

Constable Blanchard a Prisoner – Captured by the Germans According to Word Received Today From His Wife

Word has been received in the city by local friends of Constable Blanchard, that he is now a prisoner in the hands of the Germans. The name of the place where he is confined was not stated.

The word came to the local police through Mrs. Blanchard, who stated that she had heard from her husband, that he was well, but that he had been captured by the Germans.

It is evident that at the time Constable Cobden, who was with Blanchard in the Coldstream Guards, saw him last fighting with his bayonet when the Germans charged, and was the last seen of him by his friends. After that time he was posted as missing and possibly dead, but the latest word gives assurance that he is living, though in the hands of the Huns.

Brantford February 23, 1915

Have No Word of Blanchard – Relatives are Trying to Trace Him Through Constable Cobden – Chief Slemin Gets Another Interesting Letter

Two letters from Constables Cobden and Blanchard, late of the local police force, who went to the front as reservists of the Coldstream Guards, were received by Chief of Police Slemin this morning.

The first was from Mrs. W. Blanchard, sister of Constable Blanchard asking to be put into touch with Constable Cobden, as relatives had been unable to secure any information respecting the whereabouts of Constable Blanchard. They had applied to the war office, but there it was reported that his name was not on any casualty list and that they had no word of him at all. The war office promised to notify them when such word was received, as Constable Cobden was with Blanchard in the fighting. Mrs. Blanchard, who resides in Chippenham, Wilts, desires to get into touch with him.

The last word received here about Constable Blanchard was that he was taken prisoner by the Germans.

Now Able To Walk

A letter was received in the same mail from Constable J.L. Cobden, who is still in the Hospital of St. John and St. Elizabeth, London. He states that he is now able to walk about a little, though his legs are still very weak under him. He is shortly to undergo treatment in electric baths for his back, which was injured when a German shell blew up in the trench he was in, burying him in it.

Cobden noted that in the same hospital, on the next floor, was a chum of his in the Coldstream Guards, who was brought to the hospital the same time as Cobden was, but neither knew until very recently that the other was there. The other man told Cobden that he was unconscious for two hours after being dug out of the trench by the Scots Guards.

Cobden remarked in his letter that during the fighting in Flanders and France they had lost track of the dates, as they had been fighting so regularly, having no men to relieve them that they were all tired out. He is getting along very nicely now, and expects that he will again go to the front with the troops.

Brantford May 3, 1915

Word From Blanchard?

The Expositor was informed this morning that Pte. James Hastings, a Brantford man with the 36th Battalion at Hamilton, had been informed by a Hamilton friend of John Blanchard, reservist, who left Brantford when the war broke out, that he had received a letter from Blanchard, who is a prisoner of the Germans. The news could not be verified here.

Brantford August 3, 1915

Blanchard is War Victim – Definite Word Received that Brantford Police Officer Killed

Following many long months of the most trying anxiety, during which the fate of her husband was unknown, Mrs. Blanchard, wife of Private John Blanchard, formerly of this city has at last received the unwelcome tidings from the war office that her husband died on the field of battle. A letter to this effect was received this morning by Chief of Police Slemin from Mrs. Blanchard, who left for England shortly after the outbreak of hostilities, and who has for many months made every endeavor to obtain some definite news regarding the condition of her husband. The letter which was received by Chief Slemin this morning is as follows:

Norwich, England.


I am writing just to tell you my dear husband is killed. I have just received the news from the war office, and the King’s sympathy, I am sending you the letter, which I received from Lord Kitchener, so you can see it. Would you please send the letter back to me when you have read it: Sir, I thank you very kindly for all you have done for me.

Mrs. Blanchard

Enclosed in the envelope was a small piece of paper, which will be dearly prized by Mrs. Blanchard throughout the rest of her life. It read as follows:

The King commands me to assure you of the true sympathy of His Majesty and the Queen in your sorrow.

(Signed) Kitchener.

It will be recalled that in November last, Chief Slemin received a letter from Pte. John Cobden, who also left Brantford at the outbreak of war to re-join his regiment, the Coldstream Guards, in which the former Brantford constable, who was a fellow soldier with Blanchard, stated that “poor Jack Blanchard with several others, was cut off from us, and was either killed or taken prisoner. That was on October 31, 1914, and we have seen or heard nothing of him since.” Since that time several communications, in reference to Private Blanchard has passed between Mrs. Blanchard and Chief Slemin, the latter volunteering several months ago to seek information through the war office. A blank form was sent in return to him, on which a description of Pte. Blanchard was asked the advice being offered that it would probably be some weeks before any trace of him would be found, since steps would be taken to communicate with the prisoners of war camps in Germany. The answer which Mrs. Blanchard has so recently received is the result of the efforts of the war office.

Ex-Constable John Blanchard was a valued member of the local police force and enjoyed the respect of a large circle of friends in all walks of life in this city. When war was declared one year ago, he was among the first to leave this city, he having received his summons to re-join his regiment the Coldstream Guards. In the fighting at the Battle of Ypres, the popular police officer received the wound which caused his death, he being last seen by his comrades fighting heroically with bayonets drawn against several swarthy Germans, who must have succeeded in overcoming him.

Newspaper details from http://www.doingourbit.ca/profile/john-Blanchard

Memorials Commemorated on:

Chippenham Town War Memorial


St Paul’s Church

St Andrew’s Church

Liberal Club

Hardenhuish Church

Causeway Methodist Church
Pewsham Street
Boys School
Congregation Church

Last updated - 24/09/2016



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