Moving service for Leeds soldier

Wreaths were laid at a moving ceremony to remember a Leeds soldier who died after catching a deadly infection during the First World War.

Private John McCormick, from Morley, joined the army in February 1916 and was sent to fight overseas on the front line in northern France.

But just six months later, the 30-year-old died after catching tuberculosis.

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And to mark 100 years since the soldier lost his life, members of Morley’s Royal British Legion held a service at Bruntcliffe Cemetery on Monday.

Mayor of Morley Bob Gettings, who attended, said: “The service was done in a really formal and sincere way.

“For some reason Private McCormick didn’t receive a military funeral, so watching the standard bearer lower the flag over his tombstone during the ceremony was really moving.

“It was first class, it couldn’t have been done better and I was proud to lay the wreath on behalf of the town.”

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The service was led by the Rev Mike Godfrey, from the town’s St Peter’s Church.

Research about the soldier was carried out by Morley Archive group and read out to people who attended the ceremony.

They found that Pte McCormick worked as a labourer with his father before joining the army.

He lived with his parents, James and Mary, a brother and two sisters on Albert Road, Morley. His parents were originally from County Mayo in Ireland but moved to Churwell in 1884.

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After falling ill during the Battle of the Somme in France, Pte McCormick was sent back to Toot Hill Military Hospital in England. There doctors discovered he was suffering from tuberculosis, and he died one week later.

He was buried at Bruntcliffe Cemetery.

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