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James Bolan was the son of Sarah Bolan of 5 Aughton Street, Preston and husband of Annie Bolan of 43 Crown Street, Preston.

He enlisted into the Territorial Force on 18th September 1914 at Preston and was given the number 2687* then 2741. He gave his previous occupation as being a spinner.

Four days after he enlisted, on 22nd September 1914, James signed an agreement that would allow him, as a Territorial soldier, to serve overseas.

bolan-1

Private James Bolan landed in France with the 1/4th Battalion on 4th May 1915 and just over a month later, on 15th June, was wounded in action at Festubert.

15th June 1915
At 18:00 hrs the attack was launched by the 4th Loyal North Lancashire and the 6th Scottish Rifles. The attack was at first successful; the west end of the German salient was carried, and the attack pushed on to the main German line near the Rue d’Overt, and for a time the third German trench was occupied and held. Unfortunately the attack by the Division on the right of the 51st made little or no progress, and when night fell the 154th Brigade had penetrated the German line on a narrow front, but had both its flanks in the air. The attack consequently failed, but as stated in the Divisional History, “great praise is due to the 154th Infantry Brigade for their advance in the face of heavy artillery and close range rifle and machine gun fire. There is little doubt that had the operations on the flanks been successful, they would have had every prospect of holding their gains.

James was sent back to the UK for treatment and returned to the front on 5th December that year. On the 1st January 1916 he was admitted to the Field Ambulance as being ‘sick’ and rejoined for duty the next day. Between 18th March and 14th April 1916 he spent another period in hospital with sickness. A week after rejoining the Battalion he was again admitted to the Field Ambulance where he was treated for scabies until 1st May.

On 18th September 1916 Private James Bolan was granted Class 1 Proficiency Pay.

On 1st November 1916 he became attached to a Trench Mortar Battalion (Royal Artillery) within which he served until 7th December 1916.

In January 1917, when the Territorial Force were renumbered, James was given the new style number 200712. He spent 10th to 22nd January 1917 sick.

Between 19th February and 19th March 1917 he was attached to 164th Brigade headquarters working as a runner. He was awarded a Good Conduct Badge on 22nd February.

Between 2nd to 18th May 1918 he was treated at the 4th Stationary Hospital for scabies. In October he was treated for an Internal Cruciate Tear’ of his right knee which would see him out of action for over a month. He was permitted a period of leave to the UK between 15th to 29th January 1918.

Private James Bolan was killed in action on 9th April 1918. The Battalion history does not mention the specifics of the Battle on this date at Givenchy, except to hint that the men did well;

Givenchy, April 1918

The country to the north of the spur was dead flat for miles, and the roads were all overlooked from the crest of the hill. Every effort had been made to strengthen the position by the construction of a series of tunnels for shelter during bombardments, but the exits from these were not of the best. A certain amount of cementing had also been done. By April 9th the GIVENCHY—FESTUBERT area was a mass of apron fencing stretching back in depth for several thousand yards.

The dangers of this tunnel system and the difficulties of negotiating the mass of wire in this area necessitated careful practice in the action of the troops holding it. Posts were manned daily from the tunnel system, this action being timed and every Officer, N.C.O., and man thus learnt his way about the whole system of defence.

The action of the Battalion in support was definitely laid down. No counterattack across the open was to be made on account of the number of apron fences ; in the event of the enemy penetrating at any point into the line, further penetration was to be stopped by the supports, and when the enemy was pocketed he was to be cut oft by movement along the trench system against his flanks and rear. All posts and strong points were wired in all round, and had orders to fight to the last even if surrounded. All this careful preparation bore fruit later, on April 9th, which was, as a battle, a most remarkable example of the value of taking the British soldier into your confidence and making him understand why he was ordered to do something.

A local newspaper reported his death;

200712 PTE JAMES BOLAN 1ST AND 4TH

Private James Bolan is remembered on the Loos Memorial and on the Roman Catholic St. Ignatius War Memorial in Preston. His name is also on the Roll of Honour at the Harris Museum.

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St. Ignatius War Memorial

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St. Ignatius War Memorial Panel

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Roll of Honour at the Harris Museum

His wife Annie received a widows pension of 20/5 a week for herself and their daughter Lily which began on 4th November 1918.

Shortly after the first anniversary of James’ death his mother placed a memorial in the Lancashire Evening Post (11th April 1919). 

bolan

Rank: Private
Service No: 200712
Date of Death: 09/04/1918
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 1st/4th Bn.
Memorial: LOOS MEMORIAL

* Both numbers 2687 and 2741 appear on several of James’ records. There was already a 2687 serving with the 1/4th Battalion (Private Harold Poole, later 200686) so it looks like this number was double allocated thus James’ number being changed to 2741.

Paul McCormick
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Paul McCormick

Paul McCormick is the creator and administrator for the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment website. Since 2010 he has been researching the soldiers that served during the First World War and sharing their stories on his website. You can contact Paul through the website 'Contact Me' page or on Twitter and Facebook.
Paul McCormick
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2 Responses to 200712 PTE. J. BOLAN. L.N.LAN.R

  1. Andy Farrell says:

    James was my Mum’s Uncle and she has asked me to pass on her thanks for this Paul.

    Much appreciated.

    Best wishes

    Andy

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