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John William Keirl (1893-1918)

From Tudhoe. Died of pneumonia nine days before the Armistice.

John Keirl was born in Tudhoe in 1893, the son of a colliery labourer, and from the 1911 Census he too worked above ground in the local colliery. Sadly, John’s Army papers have not survived, so it is not known when he joined the Army. It is known, however, that he served as 95966 Private Keirl with the 13th (Service) Battalion DLI. This battalion served on the Western Front and in Italy during the Great War

On an unknown date during the war, John Keirl was seriously wounded and sent home to a hospital in Britain, where he died of pneumonia on 2 November 1918, just nine days before the end of the war.

In 1918, a flu pandemic – ‘Spanish flu’ – swept the world, killing an estimated 100 million people world-wide. In Britain, some 250,000 died, with almost 3,000 deaths in County Durham. The pneumonia that killed John was almost certainly the result of this flu.

For further information:
Commonwealth War Graves Commission:,-john-william/

North East War Memorials Project:

For further information about Spanish Flu, see the Imperial War Museum’s blog:

Civil Parish: Tudhoe

Birth date: 1893

Death date: 2-Nov-1918

Armed force/civilian: Army

Residence: 25 Tudhoe Colliery, Spennymoor, County Durham.

Employment: 1911 Census: Colliery labourer.

Family: Parents: William Henry & Judith Keirl.
Widow: Hilda Keirl.

Military service:

95966 Private, 13th Battalion DLI.

Medal(s): British War Medal, Victory Medal.

Memorial(s): Buried Spennymoor (Tudhoe) cemetery.
War Memorial, Tudhoe Colliery, Spennymoor.

Gender: Male

Contributed by Durham County Record Office