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James Dunn was born in 1886 in Farnworth, Lancashire. He was the son of John and Alice Dunn.

His father, John Dunn had previously served in Royal Scots Greys, and three of his brothers also served during the Great War. Christopher Dunn (10th/ Loyal North Lancs), William (Suffolks) and Sam (unknown).

James Dunn enlisted in the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment on 8th December 1915 at Farnworth. Given the date, this was probably under the Derby scheme meaning that he would be paid as an Army reserve, but go back home and work with a promise he would serve if called up.

Prior to enlisting, James was employed as a foreman in the ring room of the Century Spinning Company cotton mill in Farnworth. He lived in his parents house at 143 Brackley Street, Farnworth and had no previous military experience.

James was mobilized on 21st August 1916. At his medical he was described as being 5ft 5in, weighing 134lbs. He was 30 1/2 years old.

He was posted into the 10th (Service) Battalion, setting sail from Folkestone on 2nd December 1916 he landed in Boulogne to join them in the field.

This was just two weeks after his brother Christopher had been killed serving in the same Battalion.

Within a week of being in France, James was admitted to hospital with a problem with his feet, I.C.T (inflamed connective tissue) which is often associated with marching. At the end of the month he was admitted again with the same problem.

On 31st March 1918, James was wounded in action, he had received gunshot wounds to his foot.

On 6th May 1918, he was posted into the 9th (Service) Battalion; and on the 27th of the month was reported as being missing in action.

Battle of the Aisne 

Due to intelligence reports on the 26th May, the 25th Division who had been in reserve were ordered to Muscourt, a couple of miles south of the River Aisne, in support of 8th Division who were north of the River at the front line.

At 01:00hrs on 27th May 1918, a huge German bombardment hit the entire area. Following this shelling of gas and high explosives, 8 German Divisions began to at attack at 04:00hrs. The Division north of the River was overrun, with the Germans crossing the River by mid-day.

The units of the 25th Division were thrown into action, but were unable to halt the advance of the German Army at the second line partly due to the French on their left having retreated leaving a 2 mile opening. The British were surrounded, the CO of the 9th Battalion had been killed; and they retreated. By the following morning had secured the high ground in the area north west of Montigny.

All battalions of the Division had lost a great number men, James Dunn was lucky to have been captured.

He had been taken as a prisoner of war and was held in captivity for the next six months until war was over.

On 11th December 1918 he was repatriated to England, being demobilized to Class Z Reserve on 13th March 1919.

James had bronchitis and a very bad cough through exposure and starvation. This had started about two months after being taken prisoner.

Paul McCormick
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