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James Watson Blinkhorn from Heaton was 19 years old when he enlisted into the Army on 24th September 1914 at Bolton. James had been working as a collier before joining the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment. He was given the service number 16725 and was posted into the 8th Battalion.

James was unmarried, living with his parents (William and Ann) and had no previous military service.

During his training in England James committed a number of misdemeanors and received a number of Regimental entries for offences such as being ‘improperly dressed in town’, ‘not complying with an order’ to simply being late or missing parades.

The most serious offence was being absent without leave for three days in September 1915, for which he was docked 20 days pay. He sailed to France later that month on 25th September 1915 to join the rest of the 8th Battalion the majority of whom had sailed on the 6th.

On 10th July 1916,  during the Battle of the Somme, James sustained a gunshot wound to his head and was taken by 75th Field Ambulance to Number 3 Casualty Clearing Station. His wounds were not serious as on 21st July 1916 he was transferred across to the 1st Battalion and went back into action.

On 26th September 1916 Private James Blinkhorn was killed in action. In total he had served for 2 years and 3 days and had the day before passed his one year point in France. His body was not recovered and as such he is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the missing.

1st Battalion War Diary entry; 26th September 1916

IN FRONT OF EAUCOURT L’ABBAYE. 23:00hrs. In conjuction with the 2nd Royal Sussex Regiment and 50 Division on our left, the Battalion was ordered to attack the trench running from FLERS LINE to the CRESCENT in front of EAUCOURT L’ABBAYE. Dispositions ‘C and D’ Companies in two lines of two platoons each at 50 x distance followed by ‘B Company’ in one line of 1/2 platoon. ‘A Company’ moving up to the jumping off trench. Owing to extreme dark conditions, direction was lost and the attack failed.

The 1st Battalion lost 57 men during this failed attack.

James’ belongings were returned to his father, William Blinkhorn, at 1618 Chorley Old Road, Heaton, Bolton. He later took receipt of the 1914/15 star, Victory Medal and British War Medal to which his son was entitled; and the Memorial plaque and scroll in recognition of his sacrifice.

Rank: Private
Service No: 16725
Date of Death: 26/09/1916
Age: 21
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 1st Bn.

Paul McCormick
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