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James Fazackerley was born in Preston on the 27th April 1897 to Nicholas and Alice Ann Fazackerley (nee Warren). When he was christened at St. Andrew`s Church in Ashton on Ribble his baptismal name was Victor James Warren Fazackerley although he appears on the Census records as Victor James or Victor J. all of his military records (including CWGC) refer to him as James.

Nicholas and Alice Ann both gave a home address in Lancaster when they married in St. Mary`s Church in Lancaster on the 30th March 1891 although they were both from Preston. After their marriage the couple returned to Preston to live and their first child Stanley Nicholas Fazackerley was born at 48 Woodplumpton Road in Preston in 1891. After James was born in 1897 the couple had a daughter who was born in 1900 and they named her Annie Isabel.

In 1901 James and his family lived at 66 Tulketh Brow in Preston where Nicholas Fazackerley was a building contractor. The 1911 Census shows the family still in residence at 66 Tulketh Brow, James` father was a bricklayer while his mother was assisting in the business. Stanley was an apprentice bricklayer, presumably working with his father and James was attending school.

James enlisted at Preston on the 7th September 1914 and like many others he lied about his age stating that he was 19 years and 4 months old when in fact he was only 17 years and 4 months old. He had his medical inspection which recorded his height as being five feet seven and three quarters and his weight as 147lbs. He had blue eyes and light brown hair and was said to be in good physical condition. He was issued with the service number 13195 and posted to “D” Coy (Preston Pals) of the 7th (Service) Battalion Loyal North Lancashire Regiment.pals

Photo of “D” Company (Preston Pals) taken during their training at Tidworth and published in the Preston Guardian 21st November 1914.

The 7th Battalion remained at home in training until the 17th July 1915 and then left Tidworth by train for Folkestone and from there made the crossing to Boulogne. The strength of the Battalion at this time was 30 Officers and 900 other ranks coming under the command of the 56th Brigade of the 19th (Western) Division.

Unfortunately James was wounded in action on the 5th July 1916 when the Battalion was involved in the Battle of the Somme. Although his service papers state that he received gun-shot wounds to his buttocks, the newspaper article below states that he was wounded in the legs by shrapnel. After being wounded he was sent back to England via the Hospital Ship St. Denis and was admitted to St. Thomas`s Hospital in London for treatment, arriving there on the 11th July 1916.

His family had the following information published in the Preston Guardian after they received the news that James had been wounded.13195 Private James Fazackerley 1st5th Battalion

James remained in hospital for almost 5 months until he was finally discharged on the 16th January 1917 and he was then granted leave until the 26th January 1917.

After returning from leave James was posted to the Command Depot at Knowsley Park in Liverpool. Whilst at the Depot a number of entries appear on his misconduct sheet, it seems that James had developed a habit of disappearing on a regular basis!

• 6/4/17 – “When on active service, absent from camp from midnight until tattoo on 11/4/17. Punishment; Forfeit of 8 days` pay.

• 16/6/17 – “When on active service absent from Camp from Tattoo until Tattoo on 24/6/17. Punishment; Forfeit of 9 days` pay and awarded 9 days Field Punishment No.2.

• 6/7/17 – “When on active service absent from Company Officers Parade. Punishment; 3 days confined to barracks.

• 6/7/17 – “When on active service breaking out of camp whilst a defaulter and remaining absent until reporting himself at Tattoo 17/7/17 (12 days). Punishment; Forfeit of 12 days` pay and awarded 14 days Field Punishment No. 2.

By the 7th September 1917 James was on his way back to France and after spending a couple of weeks at the Base Depot he was posted to the 1/5th Battalion LNL.

Sadly, James was reported missing after the fighting at Cambrai on the 30th November 1917. The Battle of Cambrai had opened some ten days earlier, 20th November 1917 but only the 164th Brigade was engaged. However, during the fighting on the 30th November, the remaining units, especially the 1/5th Battalion took their fair share of casualties.

Cambrai, 30th November 1917 – 8:30hrs

That morning a heavy fog hung in the air over the 55th Divisional front line, a line that had been heavily bombarded for the past 90 minutes.

The enemy penetrated the 1/5th sector at Holts. Bank, having advanced at a staggering rate, with overwhelming numbers into Pigeon Quarry, they had succeeded in seriously outflanking our men.

Massively outnumbered, and with the help of the Liverpool Scottish, the Loyals gallantly stood firm, and inflicted serious damage on the German soldiers, succeeding in holding Adelphi and Gloucester Roads until such time as they became so few in number, they were forced to withdraw.

Prior to the withdrawal, an element of Loyal North Lancs had already been cut off from the rest of the Battalion and was completely surrounded at Limerick Post. Somehow they succeeded in defending their encircled position, managing to reach their own line by 5:00hrs the next morning.

In this action the Battalion had paid a heavy price, 2 men had been killed, 3 Officers and 27 other ranks wounded, 2 Officers were wounded and missing, while 16 Officers and 384 non-commissioned Officers and men were missing.

Later, for official purposes James was presumed to have died on or since the 30th November 1917. As his body was never recovered from the battlefield and as such has no known grave, his name was later recorded on the Cambrai Memorial at Louverval. No effects were returned to his family.

After the war his mother would receive James` 1915 Star, British War and Victory Medals, along with a memorial plaque and scroll bearing his name in recognition of his service and sacrifice for his country.

The name of Private James Fazackerley is also remembered on the Roll of Honour in the Harris Museum and Library in Preston.

Rank: Private
Service No: 13195
Date of Death: 30/11/1917
Age: 20
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 1st/5th Bn.

Additional family information

13195 Private James Fazackerley 1st5th Battalion - Brother RFA214584 Gunner Stanley Nicholas Fazackerley, Royal Field Artillery

The news article also refers to James` brother Stanley Fazackerley, a well-known footballer. Stanley played for Preston North End Reserves in his teenage years. On the 13/5/1911 he sailed to New York with his father on the SS Mauritania and spent a season playing for the Charleston Club before returning to England. After arriving back in Preston newspaper reports state he had a trial with Preston North End but was rejected, after which he joined Accrington Stanley.

In season 1912-1913 he played 29 games for Hull City as an inside forward before signing for Sheffield United. At some point after the war broke out Stanley enlisted into the Royal Field Artillery and then spent a fairly long period based at Fulwood Barracks where he also played in the barracks team. He also made several guest appearances one of which was in December 1916 when he turned out for Preston North End to play in their derby match against Blackpool. On another occasion he apparently made an appearance for Chelsea F.C.

He went overseas to serve with the RFA in about October 1917 but on the 17th November 1917 the Sheffield Evening Telegraph reported on his return from the front due to a problem with his knee, this apparently related back to an injury sustained earlier in 1917 when playing for PNE against Manchester City. Whether he ever went overseas again is unknown.

Stanley remained with Sheffield United until 1920, having played 105 games and scoring 43 goals. While he was in Sheffield he married Miss Lily Sharp, a hotelier`s daughter. He then transferred to Everton F.C., playing in 51 games and scoring 21 goals. The Hull Daily Mail reporting under the date 3/3/22 published that “Stanley Fazackerley, the Everton inside right has been suspended by his club – until he obeys orders regarding training”. Stanley left Everton that same year and signed for Kidderminster Harriers until 1925. Now in the twilight of his career he joined Derby County before finally hanging up his boots on medical advice in 1926.

During his retirement years Stanley lived in Longridge for a while before returning to Preston where he ran the Palatine Hotel in Gt. Avenham Street for a number of years. Stanley died in Sheffield in 1946.

Janet Davis
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