John Broadbent was born in Ashton-under-Lyne on September 4, 1872. His father, Timothy Broadbent, was a Pawnbroker and died when John was just 2 years old.
His mother, Mary Henshaw Broadbent (Wright) took over the Pawnbroker business when his father died and John lived with his mother and his uncle’s family at 243 Stamford St, Ashton-under-Lyne. He was educated at Stamford Academy, Ashton-under-Lyne and commissioned into the 3rd Volunteer Battalion, the Manchester Regiment on May 22, 1895.
In 1897 he married Mary Hannah Marland and they lived in Ashton. He was promoted to Lieutenant on December 16, 1896 and served with the detachment the Battalion sent to South Africa in the Second Boer War being promoted to Captain on June 13, 1900. He was promoted to Major on July 18, 1907 and was subsequently appointed to the 9th Battalion Manchester Regiment when it was formed on April 1, 1908.
By 1911 he and his wife had moved to Bella Vista, Castleton, where he was a large land owner, and were living there with a servant. Major John Broadbent resigned his commission with the 9th Battalion on April 20, 1912.
When war broke out he re-enlisted with the 1/9th and was awarded a commission as Second Lieutenant, dated September 5, 1914. This must have been quite a difficult decision for him as he was by now 42 years old and his wife was about to give birth which she did on September 13th when Mary Henshaw Broadbent was born (named after his mother who had died in 1912).
Nevertheless, he joined the Battalion at Chesham Fold Camp, Bury in September 1914 sailing with them to Egypt later that month. He served with them there throughout their training and preparations for action. He landed with the 1/9th in Gallipoli on May 10, 1915 as Transport Officer arriving one day after the main force.
Regimental records note that he was assigned for special duty in Alexandria for 16 days from September 11, 1915 and the Brigade war diary reports that 2/Lt. J Broadbent was sent sick to hospital on October 7, 1915. Two weeks later he was invalided to the UK on October 21, 1915.
In England, he rejoined the 3/9th Battalion at Codford, Salisbury Plain in January 1916 and on April 26, 1916 rejoined the 1/9th Battalion in Egypt. The London Gazette in 1917 notes that he was promoted to Lieutenant with precedence from June 1, 1916.He managed to take 4 days leave in Cairo from October 22-26, 1916 and took another 2 days, again in Cairo, from February 18-20.
He sailed with the Battalion from Egypt landing in France on March 11, 1917. He took two weeks home leave in the UK from May 6-21, 1917 and again from October 4 – 18th, 1917. Six weeks later he was sent to hospital sick and remained there from November 27 to December 28, 1917. He left the battalion for good to join the Territorial Force Reserve on January 10, 1918. He was subsequently awarded the Territorial Decoration (TD) for long service with the Territorials and promoted to Brevet Colonel on January 28, 1926.
After the war he became involved in politics and served as Mayor of Ashton-under-Lyne from 1923 to 1925. As a consequence, Broadbent Avenue in Smallshaw, Ashton under Lyne is named after him. In 1931 he became a Member of Parliament for Ashton and remained so until the election of 1935.
Colonel John Broadbent, T.D. died at his home in Castleton on June 9, 1938. He was 65 years old.