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Roger James Finch was born in Longridge in 1888 the eldest of seven children born to his parents William and Jane Finch (nee Walmsley). His parents married in 1886 and after Roger was born they had another five sons and one daughter; Charles (1890), Margaret Ann (1892), Frank (1893-1895), Frederick (1894), Herbert (1896) and William (1899-1900).

In 1901 the family home was at number 4 Pancake Row in Longridge where Roger`s father was working as a general labourer. Sadly, Roger`s father William died in 1905 and by 1911 Jane and three of her sons, Roger, Charles and Herbert had moved to 35 Preston Road in Longridge where Roger and Herbert were both cotton weavers and Charles a labourer. Their youngest brother Frederick was living and working on “Daniel`s Farm” in nearby Alston which was the home of James and Agnes Walmsley and their family. Their sister Margaret Ann had married Henry Loughran in 1910 and the couple had gone to live with Henry`s mother Mary in Hawarden Street in Nelson, East Lancashire.

In 1912 Roger married a widow Hetty Fletcher (nee Yates) who was literally the `girl next door`, Hetty was living at number 37 Preston Road with her father William Yates and three children from her previous marriage; Nellie (1904), Alfred (1906) and Mary (1909). Hetty`s first husband Walter Fletcher had passed away in 1909 the year their youngest daughter was born. After their marriage Roger and Hetty went on to have three children of their own; Agnes (1913), Herbert (1914) and Jane (1916).

After the outbreak of war Roger left his job in the mill and enlisted into the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment. He was allocated the service number 2303 and posted to the 1/4th Battalion. After a few months of training Roger sailed to France with the Battalion on the 4th May 1915 and was a member of “A” Company. The Battalion had only been in France for a few short weeks when they were ordered to take part in their first major action attacking enemy positions between Rue d`Overt and Chappelle St. Roch during the Battle of Festubert.

Extract from the Regimental History
At 6pm on the 15th June 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 fire and machine-gun fire. There is little or no doubt that had the operations on the flanks been successful, they would have had every prospect of holding their gains.

After the Battalion had been relieved and had reached Le Touret only 243 men answered the roll call. After their first general action a total of 431 men had either been killed, wounded or were missing. Sadly, one of the names on the missing list was that of Private Roger James Finch from Longridge and it would have been several months before his widow Hetty would finally receive confirmation that he had died on the 15th June 1915.

Roger`s three brothers all served in WW1 and shortly after Roger`s death had been confirmed their mother Jane had the following photographs and information printed in the Preston Guardian.FINCH-R J

Roger was awarded the 1915 Star, British War and Victory Medals and his widow Hetty would also have received his Memorial Scroll and Plaque in recognition of his service and sacrifice for his country.

As he has no known grave Roger`s name was inscribed on the Le Touret Memorial to the Missing.

Rank: Private
Service No: 2303
Date of Death: 15/06/1915
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 1st/4th Bn.

Additional Family Information

200239 (previously 1145) Private Herbert Finch, 1/4th Battalion Loyal North Lancashire Regiment. Herbert embarked for France with his brother Roger on the 4th May 1915 and he survived the war. He was awarded the 1915 Star, British War and Victory Medals.

13815 (previously 1146) Private Frederick Finch, Army Cyclist Corps. Frederick survived the war and was awarded the British War and Victory Medals and the Territorial Force War Medal.

680923 Gunner Charles Finch, Royal Field Artillery. Charles went to France after January 1916 and was killed in action on the 9th April 1918. His name is remembered on the Ploegsteert Memorial to the Missing. Charles was awarded the British War and Victory Medals.

The names of brothers Roger and Charles Finch are also remembered on the Memorial Cross in Grimsargh near Longridge (pictured below).Grimsargh WAR MEMORIAL 1 Grimsargh WAR MEMORIAL 2

Janet Davis
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One Response to 2303 PTE. R. J. FINCH. L.N.LAN.R.

  1. Neil Finch says:

    Very interested to read your research. Just a correction Roger and Hetty had a son Herbert and another baby which died.
    After the death of Roger my grandma Hetty married Richard Ashton they had 3 children Edward, Agnes and Jane.

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