Pte. J. W. Alderton

Pte. J. W. Alderton

RX4/233280 Private John William Alderton,
Remounts Service, Royal Army Service Corps

Remounts men working with a new horse in the breaking yard (© IWM Q 54299)

John Alderton was the son of William and Frances Alderton who were farmers at High Gipton Farm in 1911, but by 1914, the family had moved to Bramley Grange Farm, between Scholes and Thorner. William Alderton had come to Leeds from Bury St Edmunds, in Suffolk, but Frances was from Leeds. John Alderton was employed on the farm, as was his step-sister, Lucy Maskill.

When John Alderton went into the Army, he would have been skilled with horses, and it was more than likely that those skills steered him towards the Army Service Corps. His service number has an RX4/ prefix to it, and this signifies his employment with the Army Service Corps Remounts Service.

No 4 Base Remount Depot in Boulogne © IWM Q 8530

The Remounts service was the branch of the Army Service Corps that was responsible for the supply of horses and mules for use by the rest of the Army. Horses were sourced from the UK, which maintained a more current horse census than the one for measuring the human population for use in case of the outbreak of war, and these were obtained by compulsory purchase. Horses were also bought from the Americas, India, New Zealand, and elsewhere.

In addition to training new horses and mules prior to them entering service, the Remounts Service looked after convalescing horses and mules that had been wounded, gassed or were otherwise sick before returning them to service once fit again.

For its service in the Great War, the Army Service Corps was given the title ‘Royal’, to become the Royal Army Service Corps.

After the Great War, John Alderton returned to farming at Bramley Grange, and in 1921, he married Emma Titchmarsh. 

During the Second World War, John Alderton served once more, becoming a Special Constable with the West Riding Police Force.

John Alderton died in 1967, and his widow, Emma died in 1982.