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James Knowles was born in Preston in 1889.

On the 27th February, 1909 James married Mary Jane Prendergast at the Emmanuel Church, Preston.

The Census of 1911 shows James with wife Mary Jane and a baby son also called James all boarding in the household of Mrs. Jane Graham, widow and living at 7 Back Sydney Street, Preston. James was a piercer in a cotton mill.

James attested on 8th September, 1914 at Preston, he stated on his papers that he had previously been a volunteer with the Loyal North Lancs. Volunteers.

His medical report shows that he was 5`3” tall, weighed 134lbs and had a 36 inch chest, he had a fresh complexion, blue eyes and red hair and no distinguishing marks.

On the 22nd September, 1914 James was posted into the 9th Battalion LNL.

James then embarked at Folkestone on 25th September, 1915 and sailed for France with the Battalion.

On the 27th October, 1915 James was appointed unpaid L/Cpl and then on the 1st January, 1916 was officially appointed paid L/Cpl.

James was killed in action on 7th July, 1916 during the opening week of the Battle of the Somme.

On the morning of the 7th July, the 9th Battalion took part in the 12th Divisions’ attack on Ovillers and trenches on Pozieres Road. At 08:50 hrs, following an intense artillery bombardment, the Battalion advanced and secured their first objective.

They spent the remainder of the day attempting to achieve a foothold at Pozieres Road, where they were finally established well after night-fall.

The following article was printed in the Preston Guardian on 5th August, 1916.



“An official intimation has been received at his home, 107, Moor Lane, Preston that Lance Corpl. Jas. Knowles L.N.L. Regiment, was killed in action on July 7th. He was 27 years of age and leaves a widow and two children”.


James was awarded the 1914/15 Star, British War and Victory Medals and is remembered with honour on the Thiepval Memorial.

Rank: Lance Corporal
Service No: 14307
Date of Death: 07/07/1916
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 9th Bn.

This research was conducted by Janet Davis. Thank you.

Janet Davis
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