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James Richardson was born in Wigan in late 1879.

James married Margaret Alice Fleming at St George’s church in Wigan on 19th August 1899 and they had two children, Frank (b. 10/11/1901) and Martha (b. 27/01/1905). The family lived together at 11 Silver Street, Wigan.

At the time of his enlistment into the Army in Wigan, on 1st September 1914, he was nearly 35 years old and had been employed as a collier for the past 20 years at Pearson & Knowles near Wigan. He had no military experience.

The medical examiner noted that James was 5ft 2.5in tall and weighed 147lbs. He had blue eyes, auburn hair and was of a ruddy complexion.

James was posted into the 7th Battalion of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment and given the number 12326. He sailed to France with the main body of the Battalion on 17th July 1915.

During the fighting on the Somme on 23rd July 1916 James was wounded in action receiving a gunshot wound to the left knee.

On 23rd July the battalion was ordered into the attack again along the salient from High Wood through Delville Wood to Guillemont in an attempt to dislodge the Germans from their dominant position. The attack was a failure and a very costly one: 11 officers and 290 men were killed wounded or missing.

On 28th July 1916 he was posted back to the UK and transferred to the Reserve before the end of that year. His medal index card indicates that he received the Silver War Badge yet I have not been able to locate him on the roll.

He wrote a statement in April 1917 that he he hadn’t received a penny from the Army as compensation.

“I was wounded in the knee and was in hospital three months then sent to Command Depot and was transferred to class W to work in the mine. I was on light work for eight weeks and started in the coal but I cannot kneel too well…”

By May 1917 he was living at 56 Warrington Lane, Wigan and in November 1917 James reported that he was moving house again, his future address would be 55 Hollinhurst, Woodlesford, Leeds.

He was finally discharged to pension in May 1918 and in recognition of his contribution to the war effort James later received the 1914/15 Star, British War Medal and Allied Victory Medal.

Paul McCormick
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