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James Roscoe was born in Chorley in 1892 the son of Robert and Mary Ann Jane Roscoe (nee Whittle). His father was a native of Chorley whilst his mother hailed from Bridport in Dorset and the couple married in the church of St. Peter in Chorley on the 10th February 1877. James had four sisters and two brothers; Mary Ann (1881), Sara (1883), Margaret (1886), Thomas Henry (1888), Asenath (1889) and William (1894).

Robert Roscoe passed away in 1900 and in the census of the following year James was living with his widowed mother and four of his siblings at 22 Corporation Street in Chorley. His mother was employed as a winder in a cotton mill, his sisters Sarah and Margaret were both weavers and his brother Thomas Henry was a warehouse boy. By 1911 Mary Ann had moved the family to 14 Geoffrey Street in Chorley, she no longer had a job but James and the rest of his siblings were all employed in the cotton industry, James as a cotton mule piercer. Sadly, Mary Ann Jane Roscoe passed away in 1912 aged 53 years.

On the 1st September 1914 James enlisted at Chorley, joining the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment with the service number 12736. His medical inspection report states that he was 5`5” tall and weighed 110lbs. He had a 35” chest, brown eyes and light brown hair and his only distinguishing feature was said to be a mole on his right shoulder. James was unmarried and prior to enlistment he had been working as a spinner in a cotton mill. He confirmed his home address as 14 Geoffrey Street in Chorley. On the 9th September 1914 he was posted to the 10th Battalion Loyal North Lancashire Regiment.

James embarked for France with the 10th Battalion on the 31st July 1915 landing in Boulogne the following day and coming under the Command of 112th Brigade in the 37th Division. From the middle of September 1915 until the end of June 1916 the 10th Battalion was in more or less the same area around Gommecourt, taking their turn in the trenches in and about Bienvillers, Hannescamps and Humbercamps. On the 18th June 1916 the Battalion went into support billets in Bienvillers, remaining there for four days before returning to the trenches on the 23rd;

Extract from the 10th Battalion War Diary

23rd June 1916

The 10th Bn Loyal North Lancashire Regiment relieved the 6th Bedford`s in the trenches at 17:30hrs, relief being completed by 19:15hrs.

24th June 1916

This morning we heavily bombarded the enemy line opposite Gommecourt – this bombardment lasted all day. At 16:30hrs the firing ceased and aeroplanes went up to see what damage had been done. Trenches in a bad muddy condition.

25th June 1916

Enemy active with minenwerfer and large shells. Heavy bombardment practically all day both on our immediate front and on the following points; Essarts, Pigeon Wood, La Brayelle Fme, the `Z` and Gommecourt.

26th June 1916

Another severe bombardment by our artillery, enemies reply much feebler than preceding day. Trenches still in a very bad condition rained 2 or 3 times during the day.

27th June 1916

Bombardment in the morning. At 14:00hrs we discharged some gas – the enemy retaliated with great vigour. Casualties up to date: 46 other ranks.

28th June 1916

Gas was again repeated at 10:30 pm last night. Enemy retaliation rather than feeble. Casualties nil.

29th June 1916

At 4am this morning the 7th and 6th Battalions Leicester Regiment did a raid which was most successful.

The Battalion War Diary notes that for the month of June 1916 the casualties suffered by the Battalion amounted to; 16 other ranks killed and 2 Officers and 50 other ranks wounded. Sadly, James Roscoe was one of the 16 men killed, his date of death recorded as 29th June 1916.

As both of James` parents had died, his sister Sarah Roscoe became, for official purposes, his next of kin and after the war she took receipt of the three medals her brother was entitled to; the 1915 Star, British War and Victory Medals and she would also have received his Memorial Plaque and Scroll in recognition of his sacrifice. Sarah also had to provide documentary evidence of his nearest living relatives, these being his brothers and sisters; Thomas Henry Roscoe, 25 Sandown Road, Cheadle Heath, Stockport, 662187 Private William Roscoe, Lenham, Kent. Margaret Jones (nee Roscoe), 22 Oxford Road, Chorley and Asenath Roscoe of 12 Geoffrey Street, Chorley, Sarah was also living at 12 Geoffrey Street.

James was buried with honour in Bienvillers Military Cemetery;

Photo taken July 2016

Janet Davis

Janet Davis

Janet Davis has been researching her family history for many years and through this she discovered many relatives who served in WW1. This interest then led Janet to do many walking the battlefield tours with her husband. In April 2013 she discovered this website and volunteered to help. Janet believes that there are lots of stories still to be told, most of them very sad but at the same time they are a fascinating insight into the men, their families, what they did and where they came from.
Janet Davis

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