John was born in 1893. He was the son of Mary Ann Venner of (Godswell) Drayford, Worlington. In 1911 aged 19 he was living in and working as a general farm labourer for William Lake of Rull, Worlington.
|In Memory of:||Private John Venner 265352|
|Regiment:||1st/6th Battalion, Devonshire Regiment (Territorials)|
|Died:||At Sea 1st October 1918, aged 25|
|Remembered with honour:||Basra Memorial, Iraq, Panel 11|
John enlisted in the Devonshire Regiment who were posted to Mesopotamia. He was in the same regiment as Stafford Butt.
The conditions in Mesopotamia were generally unpleasant with unbearable heat. John was possibly wounded or suffering from illness and was transferred to a hospital ship where sadly he passed away. The sixth Devonshire Regiment Book entry of his death states that he was suffering from Pernicious Anaema. He was buried at sea on 1st October 1918.
His name is recorded on Panel 11 of the Basra Memorial.
1/6th Battalion Diary of the War
August 1914 : in Barnstaple. Attached as Army Troops to Wessex Division.
16 September 1914 came under orders of Devon and Cornwall Brigade.
9 October 1914 : sailed for India, landing Karachi 11 November 1914. Came under orders of 3rd (Lahore) Divisional Area at Lahore.
January 1916: joined independent 36th Brigade in Indian Army.
5 January 1916 : landed at Basra, and remained in Mesopotamia for the rest of the war.
12 May 1916: 36th Brigade came under orders of 14th (Indian) Division.
September 1916 : came under orders of the Tigris Lines of Communication.
A more difficult theatre in which to fight would be hard to imagine. Flies and mosquitoes attacked the troops, many of whom became sick. Soldiers froze during the winter nights, and were overcome by heat during the summer. Dust turned to mud when the banks of the Tigris overflowed during the rainy season.
John Venner was awarded the TRWM which is the Territorial Force War Medal. It was a special medal only issued after 1st May 1921 and had very special conditions attached to it. The Basra Memorial commemorates more than 40,500 members of the commonwealth forces who died in the operations in Mesopotamia from the Autumn of 1914 to the end of August 1921 and whose graves are not known.