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James Hardacre Sharples was born in the second quarter of 1884 in Bamber Bridge.  His father was Peter Sharples (b. 1845 in Bamber Bridge), a butcher by trade.  His mother was Ellen Hardacre (b. 1847 in Bamber Bridge).  Peter and Ellen were married in 1866 and they had 12 children, though three died young.  The children were: Grace (b. 1868), Thomas (b. 1869), Robert (b. 1871), Lucy (b. 1873), Margaret (b. 1880), Elizabeth (1882-1895), then James, then Richard (b. 1886), Henry (b. 1888) and finally Peter (b. 1890).  In 1911, Peter and Ellen and five of their adult children, were living at 326 Station Road.  All the children were cotton weavers.

James was 30 when War broke out and it looks as though he enlisted in late 1915 or early 1916.  He joined the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment and was assigned service number 23580 and posted to 8th Battalion.  8th (Service) Battalion was formed at Preston in September 1914 as part of K3 and came under command of 74th Brigade in 25th Division.  They landed at Boulogne on 16 September 1915 and the following month the Battalion transferred to 7th Brigade in same Division.  James would have joined the Battalion in the field in early 1916.

The Division was first engaged in a defensive fight when the Germans made an attack on Vimy Ridge in May 1916.  After that, they were withdrawn for rest and training, west of St Pol.  They moved to the area behind the Somme front in the third week of June 1916, in the area around Warloy.

7th and 75th Brigades with some supporting units received orders on 2 July to move to Aveluy Wood and Martinsart respectively, and came under orders of 32nd Division. On 3 July, 75th Brigade made a virtually unsupported and inevitably costly and unsuccessful attack in one of the awful, piecemeal, efforts to hold on to the minor gains made in the Thiepval area on 1 July. The rest of the Division relieved 32nd Division in the night of 3/4 July. More localised and equally ineffective attacks were made.  As the Somme offensive moved from its early phase (designated the Battle of Albert) to the next major push (the Battle of Bazentin), 25th Division continued to carry out operations on a small scale in the Ovillers area. Casualties were heavy, with no gains of any significance being made. Relieved by 48th (South Midland) Division during the night 16/17 July, the Division moved to Beauval.

From 23 July to 10 August 1916, the Division held a sector of the line north of the River Ancre. Once again, just as in the Bazentin battle, the Division is recognised as having been in action during the Battle of Pozières, without being in the area of most attention during the fighting. Relieved by units of 6th and Guards Divisions between 7 and 14 August, the Division moved to Bus-lès-Artois for rest and training.  Divisional HQ moved up to Hédauville on 18 August and the infantry moved into the trenches of the Leipzig Salient. A local attack by 7th Brigade on 21 August was carried out successfully, using for the first time a device known as a “push pipe mine” to destroy enemy defences before the infantry went in.  Further attacks were made on 23, 25 and 26 August.  At the end of the operation though the North Lancashires were unable to hold their position and were forced back to their original line.  James Sharples was killed on 26 August 1916, he was 32 years old.  25 other men from 8Bn were killed on the same day.

Rank: Private
Service Number: 23580
Date of Death: 26/08/1916
Age: 32
Regiment/Service: Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 8Bn
Cemetery/memorial reference: Pier and Face 11 A.
Memorial: THIEPVAL MEMORIAL

Other men from 8Bn killed that day:

7698 PTE THOMAS WOOD
3676 PTE THOMAS WILLIAM IREDALE
243026 PTE THOMAS JOSEPH MOORE
7978 PTE MILES NORRIS
4793 PTE ALBERT LEWIS
13843 PTE C BANNON
23013 LCPL JOHN HENRY BURTON
15417 PTE CHARLES CARR
15131 PTE E COOPER
13324 SJT ALBERT COWELL
15497 PTE WILLIAM GEORGE DAVIES
14013 PTE WILLIAM ENTWISTLE
17596 LCPL JAMES HERBERT GLEDHILL
24024 PTE LEONARD GREEN
12167 PTE SIMEON HILTON
12705 PTE HERBERT HITCHEN
12929 CPL FREDERICK LEIGH
15838 PTE CHARLES FREDERICK OLIVER MUSTARD
13629 PTE EDWARD McGRATH
24014 PTE J ORRELL
15634 PTE JOSEPH RAMSDEN
15357 PTE JOHN SANGSTER
13338 LCPL G SCOTT
15645 CPL ALBERT STRONGE
18007 CPL THOMAS THORNTON

Bill Brierley

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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