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James McCaul was born in Kirkham, Lancashire in August 1892. His father was also called James, and his mother Mary. James was the eldest child, having three younger brothers, John, David and Joseph, and two younger sisters Elizabeth and Margaret. The family all resided together at 106 Marston Street, Kirkham.

Soon after war broke out on 4 August 1914, Earl Kitchener, the Secretary of State for War, laid plans to raise a New Army of 70 Infantry Divisions. The Earl of Derby made the suggestion that men might be more willing to enlist in his new army if they could be assured of fighting alongside their own friends, neighbours and workmates.

Kitchener gave his blessing to this idea, and sanctioned the raising of these battalions by local councils, or even individuals, of what became known as ‘Pals Battalions’. The raising of the Preston ‘Pals’ was the idea of Mr. Cyril Cartmell, son of the Mayor of Preston, Councillor (later Sir) Harry Cartmell.

On 31 August 1914, Cyril Cartmell placed the following advertisement in The Lancashire Daily Post:

‘It is proposed to form a Company of young businessmen, clerks, etc., to be drawn from Preston and the surrounding districts, and be attached, if practicable, to a battalion of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment. Will those who would like to join apply here any afternoon or evening this week – the earlier the better. Town Hall, Preston – Cyril Cartmell 31st August, 1914”

At this time it was thought that the war would be over by Christmas’, and nobody wanted to miss out on the action. James McCaul was no different and enlisted the very next day, 1st September 1914.

James, who was still living at home and working as a spinner enlisted with the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment attesting for a period of 3 years service. He was immediately posted into the new 7th (Service) Battalion and given the service number 12807. James was 22 years old, 5 foot 2 inches tall and weighed 105lbs.

Within two days 221 Preston men had volunteered for service, and the ‘Preston Businessmen and Clerks’ Company’ made up D Company of the 7th (Service) Battalion, Loyal North Lancashire Regiment. Three other companies making up the battalion were filled by ‘Pals’ from Blackpool, Kirkham and the Fylde, and Chorley.

The men were medically examined at the Public Hall, and on Monday 7 September the ‘Pals’ paraded before an enthusiastic and patriotic crowd in the Market Place before marching along Fishergate to the railway station and leaving the town for their training.

On 17 July 1915, the 7th Battalion of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment embarked Folkestone and landed in Boulogne, France. The battalion formed part of 56th Brigade, 19th (Western) Division.

With the Division, James took part in The Action of Pietre, a supporting/diversionary action during the Battle of Loos, and the following phases of the Somme;

  • The Battle of Albert
  • The attacks on High Wood
  • The Battle of Pozieres Ridge
  • The Battle of the Ancre Heights
  • The Battle of the Ancre

During the final days of the Somme, at the Battle of the Ancre on 15th November 1916, James sustained shrapnel wounds to the head, leg and arm and was admitted to 49 Field Hospital. James subsequently died of his wounds four days later (19th).


James was 25 years old. James had served 2 years and 76 days of the 3 years he had originally enlisted for. James’ father, received his sons personal effects on 30 May 1917.

The three medals to which his son was entitled later arrived and were again acknowledged by James Snr;

  • 14/15 Star – 29 January 1920
  • Victory medal – 14 October 1921
  • British War Medal – 21 September 1921
James McCaul is buried at CONTAY BRITISH CEMETERY, SOMME. Grave Reference VIII. D. 15.
Rank: Private
Service No: 12807
Date of Death: 15/11/1916
Age: 25
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 7th Bn.
Paul McCormick
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One Response to 12807. PTE. J. MCCAUL. L.N.LAN.R

  1. Jack D. Harrison. says:


    Great article, but I must strongly urge you to just amend it, by adding that men from Fleetwood were also highly likely to have enlisted into the 7th and other Battalions of the L.N. LAN Regiment. I appreciate that it may be a small point to some, but Fleetwood was a thriving Port and Resort at that time, and Fleetwood was founded and was linked by Railway before Blackpool. I think the People of Fleetwood and the generations before us, deserve to be honoured; by having their town named. In addition; even some of our Fishing Fleet went off to their own War Service.

    PLEASE Put Fleetwood on the map and in the article. (web pages).

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