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James Byron was born in Kearsley in 1890. He was the youngest child of Robert Byron b.1844, a coal miner, and Agnes Byron née Sherratt b.1847.

James’ father Robert died in 1894.

James first appeared on the 1891 Census living at 12 Antelope Street, Kearsley with his mother and siblings Mary b.1872, Walter b.1877, Ernest b.1879, Arthur b.1882, Clara b.1885 and Frances b.1888. Mary and Ernest were working in cotton mills while Walter was employed as a colliery labourer.

(An older sister, Ellen Ann b.1868, appeared on the 1881 Census.)

In 1901 James was living at 48 Cross Street, Kearsley with his mother and siblings Arthur, Clara and Frances. He attended St. Stephen’s church.

James married Margaret Alice Greenhalgh in 1908. The couple appeared on the 1911 Census living at 44 Manor Cottages, Kearsley with their son Stanley b.1899. Another son, Frank, was born in 1913. In 1911 James was working as a coliery drawer underground at one of the pits operated by Clifton and Kearsley Coal Company.

He sailed to Gallipoli with the 6th Battalion on 15th June 1915 and was killed in action at Chunuk Bair on 10th August 1915.

The official despatch states;

“The two battalions of the New Army chosen to hold Chunuk Bair were the 6th Loyal North Lancashire Regiment. The first of these arrived in good time and occupied the trenches. Even in the darkness their commanding officer, Lieut-Colonel H.G. Levinge, recognized how dangerously these trenches were sited, and he began at once to dig observation posts on the actual crest and to strengthen the defences where he could; but he had not time given him to do much.

The second battalion, the Wiltshires, were delayed by the intricate country; they did not reach the edge of the entrenchment until 4am, and were then told to lie down in what was believed, erroneously, to be a covered position. At daybreak on Tuesday 10th August, the Turks delivered a grand attack from the Chunuk Bair Hill-Q against these two battalions, already weakened in numbers, though not in spirit, by previous fighting.

First our men were shelled by every enemy gun, and then, at 5.30am, were assaulted by a huge column consisting of no less than a full division, plus a regiment of three battalions.

The Loyal North Lancashire men were simply overwhelmed in their shallow trenches by sheer weight in numbers, whilst the Wiltshires who were caught in the open, were literally almost annihilated. The ponderous mass of enemy swept over the crest, turned the right flank of our line below, swarmed round the Hampshires and General Baldwin’s column, which had to which had to give ground and were only extricated with great difficulty and very heavy losses.

Towards this supreme struggle the absolute last two battalions from our general reserve were now hurried, but by 10am, the effort of the enemy was spent. Soon their shattered remnants began to trickle back, leaving a track of corpses behind them, and by nightfall, except prisoners or wounded, no live Turk was left upon our side of the slope.”

HELLES MEMORIAL

THE HELLES MEMORIAL

At the time of his death James was 25 years old. His name appears on both the Kearsley War Memorial and the Helles Memorial.

Rank: Lance Corporal
Service No: 11342
Date of Death: 09/08/1915
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 6th Bn.
Memorial: HELLES MEMORIAL

Note: His Medal Index Card shows the surname incorrectly spelled Byran.

DBBC

DBBC

This article has been reproduced with kind permission from the DBBC young roots heritage project. The young people identified and researched the the servicemen pictured in a 1916 Bolton Journal and Guardian supplement who were killed at Gallipoli. You can visit their website by clicking on the DBBC logo.
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