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marlow 1James Marlow was born in the second quarter of 1887 in Preston. His father was William Marlow (b. 1853 in Preston) a joiner by trade; his mother was Annie Worthington (b. 1854 in Preston, d. 1900). James had 4 surviving siblings: Margaret (b. 1876), Catherine (b. 1878), John (b. 1882) and Charles (b. 1895). A sister Mary Ann was born in 1891 but died the same year. The family lived off Deepdale Road in Preston. James was married to Hannah Lovatt (b. 1887 in Preston) in October 1906 and they had four children: William (b. 1907), Hannah (b. 1909), James (b. 1910) and Catherine (b. 1914). In 1909, James moved with his family to the School Lane area between Bamber Bridge and Walton Le Dale and he worked as a firebeater at Orr’s cotton mill on School Lane.

James signed up in February 1915 and was posted to 6th (Service) Battalion L.N.LAN.R. which was part of Kitchener’s New Army and had been created on 8 August 1914. He arrived with other reinforcements from England at Suvla Bay on the Gallipoli Peninsula on 14 November 1915, 6Bn having first arrived in Gallipoli on 25 April 1915. By the time the new draft arrived in November, the decision had been taken to abandon the campaign and evacuate the Gallipoli Peninsula, but it would be an enormous and dangerous task to evacuate 80,000 men, with all their equipment and stores, from open beaches, under attack from an active and enterprising enemy. However, the Battalion did manage to withdraw and in mid-December sailed for Moudros on the Greek island of Lemnos. Around this time, British forces near Baghdad, in Mesopotamia, had come under severe attack and it had been decided that reinforcements, including 6Bn, would need to be sent. A month later they transferred to Egypt where they were re-equipped for their new theatre of war.

They left Port Said on 14 February, arriving at Basra on 5 March, where they transferred to river boats and proceeded up the River Tigris to Sheikh Saad where by 1 April they formed part of a British Army of 30,000 men and 127 guns whose objective was to relieve the British and Indian troops besieged by the Turks in the city of Kut-al-Amara. The British had some initial success in an attack from 6-9 April, during which James Marlow was missing presumed killed in action, although his death was not officially confirmed until 19 months later. James was 28 years old.marlow 2

During this action, 6Bn had 7 men killed, 6 officers and 79 other ranks wounded, and 4 officers and 165 other ranks missing. Ultimately, however, the attempt to relieve Kut was a failure; the city surrendered on 28 April, after 24,000 men had been killed, wounded or taken prisoner in trying to bring it aid. The loss of Kut has been described as “the most abject capitulation in Britain’s military history.” The army commanders were replaced, the army reorganised and re-trained and a new campaign was launched, eventually leading to the capture of Baghdad on 11 March 1917.

His effects of £2 12s 3d and a War Gratuity of £4 were returned to his widow. In 1918, Hannah remarried to John Mackantee and they moved to Lark Hill, Higher Walton. She died in Preston in 1962.

Rank: Lance Corporal
Service No: 20289
Date of Death: 09/04/1916
Age: 28
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 6th Bn.
Panel Reference: Panel 27.
Memorial: BASRA MEMORIAL

I am grateful to Janet Davis for supplying the photo and newspaper article.

Bill Brierley

Before taking early retirement in 2007 and returning to his native Lancashire in 2009, Bill Brierley was head of the School of Languages and Area Studies at the University of Portsmouth.Bill has researched his own family history and has developed a further interest in World War 1 especially as it impacted on the villages of Lostock Hall and Bamber Bridge, where his family originates from.Bill has also displayed his work at Lostock Hall library and contributed to other displays at Leyland Library and South Ribble Museum.
Bill Brierley

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