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James Hatton was born in Bolton in 1886 and was the son of Edward Hatton, a machine iron turner, and Mary Hatton (née Osborne).

James first appeared on the 1891 Census living at 37 Andrew Street with his parents and brothers John Joseph (b.1882) and William Henry (b.1883).

In 1901 the family were living at 50 Irving Street, Bolton with the addition of a sister Elizabeth (b.1893). By this point James was about 15 years old and was working as a plaiter down in a bleachworks.

On the 1911 Census his sister Elizabeth was living in the Catholic Girls’ Home in Clarence Street, Bolton – not an institution but respectable accommodation run by the adjoining Convent for girls who would have been homeless otherwise. She was also employed as a laundress at the home.

When war broke out James enlisted into the Army at Bolton and joined the 6th (Service) Battalion of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment with the number 11507.

He sailed for Gallipoli from Avonmouth aboard HMT Braemar Castle on 15th June 1915 and unfortunately would be reported missing (later presumed to have been killed) during the action at Chunuk Bair on the 9th August 1915.

The official despatch about the action 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.”

James is remembered on the Helles Memorial and his next of kin later received his 1914/15 Star, British War Medal and Allied Victory Medal. They would also receive a memorial plaque and scroll bearing his name and in recognition of his sacrifice. His war gratuity was paid to his father.

Helles Memorial

Helles Memorial

Rank: Private
Service No: 11507
Date of Death: 09/08/1915
Age: 29
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 6th Bn.
Memorial: HELLES MEMORIAL

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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