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Abraham Baines, son of Abraham and Emma Jane Baines (nee Reynolds) was born in Preston on the 23rd January 1891. His parents had married in St. Thomas` Church in Preston on the 5th June 1881 and he was one of seven children, five of whom survived; Sarah (1882), Henry (1884-1884), Henry (1885), Emma (1888), Elizabeth (1893-1893) and Elizabeth (1894).

The Baines family lived at 94 Haydock Street in Preston in 1901 where his father was a joiner by trade. Abraham received his education at English Martyrs Roman Catholic School starting there on the 1st October 1896 with the record indicating that he left on the 31st January 1900. By 1901 Emma Jane Baines together with sons` Abraham and Henry and her three daughters, Sarah, Emma and Elizabeth had moved into her mother`s home at 20 Richard Street in Preston. Abraham`s father was not listed as being present at the time but further investigation suggests that Abraham seems to have been a frequent visitor to court, this resulting over a period of time in various convictions for petty larceny etc. It seems that he spent a number of months in and out of prison as a result of his activities which probably explains why his wife Emma Jane and the children moved in with her mother Sarah Reynolds.

The 1911 Census shows Abraham, his brother Henry and youngest sister Elizabeth living with their mother at 12 Richard Street. His mother was working as a cotton winder while Abraham had found work as a French polisher for a furniture maker, Henry was a general labourer for Preston Corporation and Elizabeth was a `tenter` working in a mill. Abraham`s father was still not present with the family. A few months after the 1911 Census was recorded Abraham married Mary Amelia Dewhurst at the English Martyrs R.C. Church on the 12th August 1911 and then in 1913 their first child, a son, John was born.

Abraham enlisted into the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment on the 2nd September 1914 at Preston. He was issued with the service number 13880 and posted to the 8th Battalion LNL. The Medical Officer measured his height as five feet five and a half inches and his weight at 119 lbs. He had brown eyes and brown hair. He confirmed his occupation as a French Polisher and that he had served his time at Fisher`s in Preston.

He embarked for France on the 25th September 1915 which was a couple of weeks after the main body of the Battalion had sailed, the Battalion coming under the Command of 74th Brigade of 25th Division. A month later on the 26th October 1915 the Battalion was transferred into the 7th Brigade of the same Division.

Abraham suffered a brief period of sickness early in 1916 when he was evacuated to a field ambulance on the 17th February with `myalgia`, re-joining the Battalion on the 28th February. A few months later Abraham would receive the news that his wife had given birth to the couples` second child, a daughter Mary Agnes was born on the 25th June 1916.

The 25th Division had spent most of June 1916 in training to the west of St. Pol, but towards the end of the month it moved south to join the Fourth Army. When the Battle of the Somme opened on the 1st July the Division was around Warloy, some four miles behind the front line in the Fourth Army Reserve. On the 2nd July the 7th Brigade was transferred to the X. Corps and moved on to Aveluy Wood where it was held in corps reserve. Then on the following night the whole Brigade moved up to the front to relieve the 14th Brigade in the trenches, the 8th Battalion LNL forming the brigade reserve in dug-outs at Crucifix Corner. They remained in this area until about 2pm on the afternoon of the 7th July, orders were then received for the Battalion to move from Crucifix Corner up to the front line, “A” and “B” Companies were the first to go up, while “D” moved into the trenches near Campbell Post in the support line in front of Aveluy village, and “C” Company was placed at the disposal of the O.C. 3rd Worcestershire Regiment. “A”, “B” and “C” Companies were later moved into the trenches at the Leipzig Salient, captured that morning by the Wiltshire Regiment. By 8.30pm “D” Company had also been sent to the Salient and the defence of this position was then taken over from the Worcestershire Regiment. By all accounts it was no easy position to hold but as the evening and night wore on, no attack transpired, just desultory shelling and sniping and in the early morning of the 8th July the Battalion was relieved. In that brief period the Battalion casualties had amounted to 2 Officers killed; Second Lieutenants T. White and P. Walsh, 5 other ranks killed or died of wounds, 34 men wounded and 2 men reported missing.

Sadly, Abraham Baines was one of the 34 men wounded having sustained shrapnel wounds to his left leg. He was removed to a field ambulance and then later admitted to hospital at Wimereux but by the 9th July he was on his way to hospital in England via the Hospital Ship St. David. After arriving in England Abraham was transported up to a hospital in Birmingham.

Abraham`s wife was informed at some point and she made the journey to Birmingham to see him, sadly, Abraham finally succumbed to his wounds on the 27th September 1916, a note in his papers confirms that Mary Amelia was with him when he passed away. His official cause of death was registered as `shrapnel wound of leg` with the secondary cause of death stated as `septicaemia`.

His body was returned to his home town of Preston and he was later laid to rest in Preston (New Hall Lane) Cemetery.

After the war Mary Amelia Baines took receipt of her husband`s 1915 Star, British War and Victory Medals and would also have received his Memorial Plaque and Scroll in recognition of his sacrifice.

Abraham`s name is also remembered on the Preston Roll of Honour in the Harris Museum and Library in Preston.

The original submission form to have Abraham remembered on the Harris Museum Roll of Honour

Rank: Private
Service No: 13880
Date of Death: 27/09/1916
Age: 25
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, ‘B Coy’ 8th Bn.

Ron Crowe
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One Response to 13880 PTE. A. BAINES. L.N.LAN.R.

  1. Michael Baines says:

    Thanks for the entry, its given some information not previously known on my family tree, its a very sad story but typical of many others all over the country

    Is it possible to post a picture of Abraham to complete the story?
    Many Thanks
    Mike Baines (Great Grandson of Abraham)

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