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James Hough was baptised at St. Saviour`s Church in Bamber Bridge on the 8th October 1893 the son of Benjamin and Elizabeth Hough (nee Darlington). His father was originally from the village of Longton and his mother had been born in Westmorland, the couple married in the Parish Church of St. John in Preston on the 28th December 1875.

When James` parents married his father was a platelayer on the railways and was living in Back Canal Street in Preston and his mother Elizabeth also living in Back Canal Street was the daughter of a canal boatman, Thomas Darlington. The couple went on to have at least another ten children; Emily (1876), Mary Ann (1878), Thomas (1879), William (1882), Robert (1884), Margaret (1886), Edward (1887), Agnes (1890), Joseph (1891) and Florence (1895).

By 1891 the Hough family were living at Rimmer Cottage in Walton le Dale and James` father was a general labourer while his two eldest siblings, Emily and Mary Ann were both employed in one of the local mills as `cotton doffers`. The 1901 Census record shows the family now living at 1 Cambridge Street in Walton le Dale, Benjamin Hough was still a general labourer, Emily, Mary Ann and 14 year old Margaret were mill workers, Thomas was a locomotive cleaner, William and Edward were both labouring in an iron foundry while Robert was labouring at the India Rubber works.

In 1905 James` mother passed away at the age of 50 and the following year his father remarried to widow Grace Massey, after their marriage they moved to Ashmoor Street in Preston taking Grace`s two children, 17 year old Lawrence and 10 year old Florry with them. James` sister Mary Ann Hough had married Henry Harrison in 1902 and the 1911 shows James together with his brother William and sister Agnes living with Mary Ann, Henry and their two children at 5 Cambridge Road in Walton le Dale. James was now working as a cotton weaver in the one of the mills in the area.

At the outbreak of war, James enlisted into the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, signing his papers on the 6th September 1914. He was 21 years and 4 months old and pre-war had been working as a weaver. James was slightly taller than average standing at 5`7” and he weighed 135lbs and had brown hair and brown eyes. For official purposes James named his father Benjamin Hough as his next of kin. James was issued with the service number 14170 and posted to the 8th Battalion LNL.

In July 1915 the Preston Guardian published a photograph of Benjamin Hough with five of his sons` and one of his sons in law.

Left to right; Father, Benjamin Hough; Private William Hough; 8856 Private Robert Hough, 1st Bn Lancashire Fusiliers; 14170 Private James Hough*; Farrier Sgt. Joseph Hough, 11th Lancs. Batt. R.F.A.; Private Edward Hough, 3rd Bn LNL and 20063 Private Robert Alstead (son in law) 6th Bn LNL.

James embarked for France on the 25th September 1915 with the 8th Battalion and was a member of `A` Coy, the Battalion coming under the Command of 74th Brigade in 25th Division. A month after landing in France the Battalion was transferred into the 7th Brigade of the same Division.

In December 1915 the Battalion was in and out of the trenches at Ploegsteert Wood, the weather had been extremely wet and was now very cold and because of this trench duty was reduced to five days, the men had to spend a lot of time repairing parapets and dug-outs that had fallen in during the wet weather. According to James` papers he was wounded on the 16th December 1915 with shrapnel wounds to both legs, both hands, face and also had a compound fracture of his left leg. He was admitted to 76th Field Ambulance and then No. 8 CCS at Bailleul before being evacuated to England on Christmas Eve 1915 via the Hospital Ship Copenhagen. On arrival in England he was transferred to North Evington War Hospital in Leicester for further treatment.

James remained at home recovering until he was posted back to the 3rd Battalion on the 7th August 1916. Just over two weeks later on the 24th August 1916 he embarked for France for the second time. After landing back in France he joined the Infantry Base Depot in Etaples and then on the 23rd September 1916 he was attached to the HQ XVII Corps and the following day he joined the 230th Coy Royal Engineers. James remained with this unit until 29th September 1917 and was then attached to the 350th E & M (Electrical & Mechanical) Coy R.E. He had two weeks leave 7/12/17 – 21/12/17 and then on the 7th May 1918 he was posted to the 2/4th Battalion Loyal North Lancashire Regiment.

When James joined the 2/4th Battalion they were in Brigade Reserve at Coigneux, shortly afterwards they went into the front line, mainly occupying Stout Trench which was on the old British front line, east of Fonquevillers and Hebuterne. Here they experienced a lot of heavy shelling and enemy aircraft were frequent visitors to the area. The Battalion remained around this area until the last week in August, eventually going up to the Hindenburg Line.

On the 11th November 1918 when the Armistice was declared the Battalion was in billets in Hellemes and James was on leave 6/11/18 – 20/11/18. After returning from leave he remained with the 2/4th Battalion until returning to England where he was finally demobilised to Class Z on the 1st June 1919.

For his war service James received the 1915 Star, British War and Victory Medals.

On the 8th October 1932 he married Edith Handley at St. Saviour`s Church in Bamber Bridge, his home address at the time was 17 Oxford Road and Edith was living in the same street at number 31.

In 1939 James was still living at 17 Oxford Road in Walton le Dale and his occupation was an `electric welder`. The record indicates that he was still married although his wife was not recorded as being at the property at the time.

ADDITIONAL FAMILY INFORMATION

All of James` brothers survived the war apart from 8856 Private Robert Hough, 1st Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers. The newspaper record notes that he had been wounded twice, once at Ypres and also at Hill 60. His death occurred on the 13th August 1915 when he was amongst a large number of reinforcements bound for Gallipoli, the ship carrying the men, the RMS Royal Edward was hit by two torpedoes fired from UB-14, the ship went down by the stern within a few minutes of being struck, her location was about 11 kilometres off Kandelioussa, a small Greek island.

Robert`s name was later added to the Helles Memorial. He was entitled to the 1914 Star, British War and Victory Medals and his family would also have received his Memorial Plaque and Scroll in recognition of his sacrifice.

20063 Private Robert Alstead, 6th Battalion LNL. Robert married James` eldest sister Emily Hough, Click here to read his story…….

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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