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James Daniel was born at 1 Adelphi Street in Preston, his birth was registered in the first quarter of 1893. His father, James Daniel was originally from Manchester and he married Alice Pilkington in Emmanuel Church in Preston on Christmas Day 1884. The couple had four sons altogether including James, the other three were; William Garner (1884), John Henry (1889) and Thomas (1901). After James` parents married they set up home at 83 Murray Street in Preston and James Daniel Senior was a cotton mill worker.
By 1901 the family had moved to number 58 Brougham Street which was a Public House named the Peel Castle. After his mother passed away in 1906, James, his father and brothers left the pub and moved down the road to number 46 Brougham Street. His eldest brother William married Mary Jane Atkinson in 1908 and the couple went to live at 7 Otway Street where William was employed as a house plasterer. By 1911 James Daniel Senior and his three sons were still living at the same address in Brougham Street and he had gone to work at the electric car works on Strand Road as a labourer while James and his brother John Henry both worked as piercers in one of the cotton mills.
Railway records show that by 1913 James had left his mill job and had gone to work on the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railways as a porter. In the September quarter of 1914 James` father remarried to a widow, Julia Castor whose husband Anthony had passed away in 1913 leaving her with five children; Robert Gregory, Annie Elizabeth, Julia, Leonard and Hilda. After their marriage James Daniel Snr. moved into Julia`s home at 47 Haydock Street.
James was still working on the railways as a `checker` when he enlisted into the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment on the 4th September 1914 and was issued with the service number 14184. He attested for 3 years’ service with the Colours and at his medical inspection it was shown that he was five feet six and a quarter inches tall and he weighed 134lbs. He had blue eyes and brown hair and had distinguishing marks of a scar on and below the left eye and a scar on his big toe. After his medical inspection James was posted to the 8th Battalion LNL.
The Battalion had been formed in September 1914 as part of Kitchener`s K3 Army Group, coming under the Command of 74th Brigade in the 25th Division. In December 1914 the Battalion moved from Preston to Boscombe, from there to Bournemouth in January 1915 and then back to Boscombe in March, then in the same month on to Romsey before finally in June on to Aldershot. The Battalion transport and machine gun sections left Aldershot on 24th September 1915 and sailed from Southampton to France, landing at Le Havre the same evening. They then set off for the town of Lillier, arriving on the 27th, the intention being to meet up with the rest of the Battalion. The remainder of the Battalion left Aldershot on the 25th September and sailed for France, landing at Boulogne on the 26th and going straight into billets. After a change of plan the main body of the Battalion finally reunited with the transport and machine-gun section on the 29th September at Armentiere. Here the Battalion stayed until the 6th October 1915 when they were ordered to Le Bizet where they joined the 9th Battalion LNL forming the reserve for the 74th Division. During the course of his training James had qualified as a machine-gunner, later joining the machine gun section of the Battalion.
It was on the 6th October the Battalion received its first casualty, Private Flanagan of “B” Coy, receiving a fatal head wound from a sniper, he died in hospital the following day. They stayed at Le Bizet either in or out of the line until the 26th October 1915 when they were transferred from the 74th Brigade to the 7th Infantry Brigade, after which they went into the trenches at Ploegsteert Wood after relieving the Durham Light Infantry.
The Battalion later received a letter of thanks and compliments from the Commanding Officer, Lt. Col. W.H. Biddulph on their transfer to the 7th Brigade.
“On departure of 8th LNL to join the 7th Infantry Brigade the G.D.C. (74th Brigade) desires to place on record his appreciation of the good work all ranks have performed since the raising of the Battalion. He is sure that the Battalion will under all circumstances uphold the tradition and reputation of the noble regiment to which they belong, and in saying farewell he wishes Officers, N.C.O.`s and men all good fortune in the future”.
At the beginning of November the Battalion came out of the line and were billeted at the `Piggeries` close to Ploegsteert, returning to the trenches on the 7th. On this day 17605 Private Knowle was killed by a sniper.
“Our own snipers acting under Lt. Jones located 4 German snipers and `dealt` with them, 2 were known to be hit and the other 2 ceased fire”.
The war diary reports that from the 12th November enemy snipers were now less active, but unfortunately the same day an enemy sniper killed 14716 Private J. Sefton of the machine-gun section, he was probably a colleague of James Daniel. On the 13th November they were relieved and moved into billets in Papot, a small village near Nieppe. The rest of November was relatively quiet with the Battalion moving in and out of the line. December 1915 saw the Battalion manning the same trenches with their billets still in Papot. There was a steady flow of casualties, many down to enemy snipers, the victims all being buried at Ploegsteert Cemetery.
After spending four months in the same location the Battalion was moved to Maizieres on the 16th March 1916 where they remained in Corps reserve until the end of the month. During April 1916 the Battalion spent time in the trenches at Mont St. Eloy where although casualties were relatively light, the Battalion still incurred some losses, some 35 men killed or wounded. May 1916 was again fairly quiet until the 18th/19th May when the Germans overran several British strongpoints of Broadmarsh Crater held by the Battalion to the left of the 8th LNL. The Battalion was ordered to provide 100 men to attack and retake the lost ground and the attack was carried out on the 19th May and was initially successful. The enemy counter-attacked on the 21st and intense fighting took place with many instances of valour, one of which later resulted in the award of the Victoria Cross to Lieutenant Richard Basil Brandram Jones of the 8th Battalion LNL for most conspicuous bravery.
Most of June 1916 was spent out of the line but the 1st July 1916 saw the Battalion at Lealvillers and under orders to march to Forceville to take part in an offensive to the North and South of the River Somme. On the 7th July the Battalion moved into bivouacs close to the Albert-Poziere main road. On the 9th they were ordered to relieve the 2nd Royal Irish Rifles and 11th Lancashire Fusiliers in a trench system south of Ovillers.
At lunchtime on the 10th July the Battalion was ordered to advance and take several strongpoints in the German lines along their front. This advance ran into heavy resistance in the form of bombardment and enemy fire. The gains were limited but the price paid was extremely heavy with casualties of 4 Officers killed in action, 5 wounded. Other ranks amounted to 33 killed in action, 156 wounded and 49 missing (believed killed). The following evening the Battalion was relieved and moved into dugouts at La Boiselle. Two days later on the 13th the Battalion was then ordered to support the 10th Cheshires on their attack on Ovillers. Further casualties were incurred with 2 more Officers wounded, 3 other ranks killed, 11 wounded and 4 missing. On the 15th , Ovillers, along with the German garrison of 2 Officers and 120 men was finally taken and the Battalion was relieved and moved to billets in Albert.
Sadly, James Daniel was one of the 33 men killed in action during the attack on the 10th July.
James` family later announced his death in the local paper, the Preston Guardian;
The only personal item that seems to have been returned to his family in Preston was James` Identity Disc which was received by his father on the 11th September 1917.
After the war James` family took receipt of his 1915 Star, British War and Victory Medals and they would also have received his Memorial Plaque and Scroll in recognition of his sacrifice.
On the 5th August 1916 a notice was posted in the local paper;
DANIEL – Killed in action in France on the 10th ult. Private James Daniel, aged 23 years.
“Somewhere in an unknown grave
Lies our brave soldier boy;
Some day we hope to meet him –
Some day, we know not when,
To clasp his hand in that better land,
Never to part again”
“They Will be Done”
Sadly missed by his Parents, Relatives and Friends
James` body was recovered and he was originally buried in one of the smaller cemeteries on the Somme battlefield. However, on the 25th May 1919 his body along with others was exhumed by a Canadian burial party and then laid to rest in Pozieres British Cemetery.
Service No: 14184
Date of Death: 10/07/1916
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 8th Bn.
Cemetery: POZIERES BRITISH CEMETERY, OVILLERS-LA BOISSELLE
Ron has had an interest in WW1 for most of his adult life, reading many books and accounts of the war. He has visited most of the western front on several occasions and visited the various museums, including the Verdun battlefield. He volunteered for the St Marys project at MoL, and having enjoyed the experience felt he would like to do more. These lost stories of old soldiers needs to be brought back to life both for relatives to see what their great grandfathers did, and the modern young generation to see the sacrifices made by them for them
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What do these fellows mean by saying ‘ I’ve done my bit’? What is their ‘bit’? I don’t consider I’ve done mine yet.
Lieutenant-Colonel Ralph Hindle DSO in 1917
Officer Commanding 1/4th Battalion. Wounded twice in 1915. Killed in action at Vaucellette Farm on 30th November 1917.
- What do these fellows mean by saying ‘ I’ve done my bit’? What is their ‘bit’? I don’t consider I’ve done mine yet. Lieutenant-Colonel Ralph Hindle DSO in 1917
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