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Information from Commonwealth War Graves Commission website & Medal Rolls
Private John Frederick Blenco

16426 2nd Battalion Northamptonshire Regiment

Son of Mr Frederick & Mrs Eliza Blenco

Aged 20 years

Died 9th May 1915

Commemorated on the Ploegsteert Memorial
Panel 7.

Born at Kettering, enlisted at Rushden.
Evening Telegraph, Thursday 20th May 1915, transcribed by John Collins.

Rushden Soldier Missing

Mr. and Mrs. Blenco, of Woburn-place, Rushden, are very anxious concerning the fate of their son, Pte. Fred Blenco, of the 2nd Northants Regiment. The last letters sent to him have been returned marked ”Wounded” and “Whereabouts not known.” Pte. Blenco’s uncle, who is also a soldier, writes to say that his nephew was in the great charge at Aubers Ridge, and has been missing ever since. He is afraid there is little hope for him, as the losses of the regiment were so heavy. He says further, that Pte. Blenco went bravely into the charge, and far from being afraid, was very pleased about it. Mr. Blenco has written to the War Office, and is now anxiously awaiting news from that source. Pte. Blenco enlisted last November, and went to the front in Easter week.

The Rushden Echo Friday 11 June 1915, transcribed by Nicky Bates

Rushden Soldier Missing - The Battle of Aubers Ridge - 'Went into the Charge Like a Solider and a Man'

Mr and Mrs F Blenco, of 10 Woburn-place, Rushden, are feeling very anxious concerning their son Pte J F Blenco, 16426, A Coy, 2nd Northants Regt, from whom they have not heard since before the big battle of Aubers Ridge on May 9th. Moreover, several of Mrs Blenco's letters to her son, together with a parcel, have been returned marked "Present location uncertain", although one is also marked "Wounded in Hospital". Mr and Mrs Blenco wrote to the War Office, and have received a reply from that source officially reported Pte Blenco wounded.

Pte T Solomon, Mrs Blenco's brother, has, however, addressed a letter to his wife in which he expresses doubt as to his nephew having survived the charge. He writes:-

"We made a charge on the Germans on May 9th and we lost very heavily. We lost 440 killed and wounded in our regiment alone, so you can tell what a rough time we had. I am very sorry to tell you that young Fred [Pte J F Blenco] is among the missing and I think it is a poor chance for him of being alive, but he might be. They might have taken him to some hospital without sending his name to our regiment, but I doubt it very much. I do hope he is in some hospital for Eliza's [Mrs Blenco's] sake. The Germans are very treacherous, as if one of our men are wounded they shoot at him again if he moves until they kill him, so you can see what I mean by Fred having a poor chance of being alive. I am very pleased to say that he went into the charge like a soldier and a man. He was not afraid; in fact, he was quite pleased about it, and he was in the front all the time. He was one of the first to get into the German trenches and I suppose that is where he fell. One of his pals told me this. I did not see him, because he was not in my company. I wish he had been, as I would have looked after him a bit. I went to see him the night before the charge and he was all right, and glad that we were going to attack the Germans".

Pte Blenco enlisted on November 13th and left for the front on Thursday in Easter week. Before leaving Rushden he worked for Messrs. Ebenezer Claridge and Sons. He was 20 years of age on April 27th.

His parents would be grateful for any further information regarding their son, and trust that any of his comrades who should read this account will kindly communicate with them.

The Rushden Echo Friday 9 June 1916, transcribed by Nicky Bates

Rushden Soldier Missing Since the Battle of Aubers Ridge - Information Wanted

Mrs Blenco, 10 Woburn-place, Rushden has received no letter from her son, Pte John Fred Blenco, 16426, A Co., 2nd Northants Regt., since the battle of Aubers Ridge on May 9th 1915. She has heard that he was killed in action, but up to the present has received no official confirmation of his decease from the War Office, although he has been officially reported as wounded and missing.

An enquiry sent to the British Red Cross Association elicited the following reply: "I regret to say that the sad rumour which originally reaches you about your son is confirmed by the statement of Pte T Butler, No 10390 A Co., 2nd Northants, now at Harfleur, France. Pte Butler says that being hi the same platoon they advances together in the same attack at Aubers Ridge, near Franelles, on May 9th, at about 6.15 a.m. and Pte Butler saw your son shot in the body and killed between the lines. Pte Butler believes that the 5th Black Watch buried the dead, so that it is possible that some men were buried unidentified. We never take a single report of death as final, and we are continuing our enquires; besides watching the prisoners' lists from Germany for you son's name".

Mrs Blenco is extremely anxious for further information regarding her son, and will be very grateful to any of his comrades who can send her any news to relieve her suspense.

The Rushden Echo Friday 13 October 1916, transcribed by Nicky Bates

Rushden Soldier Killed - Pte J F Blenco

Missing since the Battle of Aubers Ridge, May 9, 1915, Pte John Frederick Blenco, Northants Regt., son of Mr and Mrs F Blenco, of 10 Woburn-place, Rushden, is now presumed by the War Office to have been killed on or about that date. The deceased, who enlisted in November, 1914, previously worked for Messrs. E Claridge and Sons Ltd, boot manufacturers, Rushden.

2011 - Correction to War Memorial

Richard Houghton, now of Lancashire, has been fighting to get his uncle's name corrected on the War Memorial. A new entry has been added to the War Memorial - WWI J. F. Blenco 1915 - the original entry being T. F. Blencoe.

Also reported in Northants Evening Telegraph 10th October 2011

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