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James Porter was born in Preston in 1890 the son of a grocer and provision dealer Charles Porter and Sarah Jane Lancaster. Charles and Sarah Jane married in Preston in 1880 and they went on to have nine children including James, all of whom survived; Thomas (1881), Margaret (1882), Charles William (1884), Mary (1886), Fred (1888), Emily (1893), Ernest (1896) and Stephen (1898).

In both the 1891 and 1901 Census the Porter family home was at 66 Moor Lane in Preston where James` father was earning his living as a grocer and by 1901 his two eldest children, Thomas and Charles had both joined him as assistant`s in the business.

The grocery business was obviously quite successful because by 1911 the Porter family had moved into an eight roomed property at Hughenden Terrace on Garstang Road in Preston. James`s four oldest siblings had married by 1911 and all but one had left home. Margaret the eldest sibling married Matthew John Barker in 1906 and they had two daughters, Doris and Emily. Matthew Barker was a soldier serving in the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment and so Margaret and the two girls were also boarding with the family in 1911. James` father was still running a grocery business and now James was helping him as his assistant. Mary, Emily and Ernest all had jobs, Mary was a dress maker and Emily was employed at the gold thread works, Ernest was an office boy working for a local solicitor and the youngest, Stephen was at school.

On the 26th August 1913 James married May Hall in the Moor Park Methodist Church and a son Stephen was born in the June quarter of 1914. Pre-war James had started his own grocery business in Meadow Street in Preston and he was still running the shop in March 1916 when he was called up for service. On the 10th March 1916 James placed a notice in the Lancashire Evening Post advertising his shop for rent;

 “Good grocery and provision shop, all cash trade; owner called up; with or without stock. Rent 8/6d, good living and oven. Apply James Porter, 68  Meadow Street, Preston”

A few weeks later on the 27th April 1916 another notice appeared in the Lancashire Evening Post, this time James was advertising the sale of his shop`s fixtures and fittings;

“ON SALE – GROCER`S FIXTURES, including flour bins, tea, provisions, flour, potatoes, scales, pillory bacon slicer, tea canister; sold together or separate –   Apply; James Porter, 72 Meadow Street, Preston”

The following month he joined the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment and was issued with the service number 24148. Unfortunately James` service papers have been lost so there are no further details available.

James sailed for France in August 1916 and after spending a couple of weeks at the Base Depot he was posted to the 1st Battalion.

Sadly, having only been with the 1st Battalion for a very short period of time James was killed in action on the 10th September 1916 in the Mametz Wood area on the Somme.

James` wife was notified of his death and a notice appeared later in the Preston Guardian.

24248 Private James Porter 1st Battalion

It is not known whether any of James` personal effects were ever returned to his wife and family back in Preston.

James` body was recovered from the battlefield and he was buried in Caterpillar Valley Cemetery, Longueval. His family had the following inscription placed at the foot of his headstone;


Photo by Janet Davis – July 2016

Photo by Janet Davis – July 2016

In the December quarter of 1916 not long after her husband`s death, May Porter gave birth to the couples` second child, another son and she named him James after his father.

After the war James was awarded the British War and Victory Medals in recognition of his service. May Porter would also have received her husband`s Memorial Plaque and Scroll in honour of his sacrifice for his country.

On the 11th June 1921 at Moor Park Methodist Church in Preston May Porter remarried to a widower John Rowland Taylor.

Rank: Private
Service No: 24148
Date of Death: 10/09/1916
Age: 25
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 1st Bn.

Janet Davis
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5 Responses to 24148 PTE. J. PORTER. L.N.LAN.R.

  1. Chris Porter says:

    Janet thank you so much for posting this. My grandfather was the Fred Porter mentioned in your article, so James Porter was my grand uncle. I knew about his death, but was uncertain about his service career, or rather lack of it! To see his photograph is quite extraordinary.
    Thanks once again.

    • Paul Marshall says:

      Can I also add my thanks for posting this. I’ve recently been researching my family history with information my Grandad had passed onto me. My great grandfather was Ernest, making James my great-great uncle.

  2. Timothy Andrew Porter says:

    Dear Janet and Chris, my name is Tim Porter and I am the elder son of Ron Porter (Ernest Roland), who was the second son of Ernest Porter, one of James’ brothers. Members of our side of the family are interested in linking together what we know of the wider family. The only thing I ever learnt from my father Ron about his Uncle Fred is that he was a cellist! We have some old Victorian photos of Charles Porter (Fred and Ernest’s father) which we should share. Well done Janet for piecing this article together. Thank you. Tim Porter

  3. Alan Frederick Porter says:

    Dear Janet, I first came by the Loyal Regiment site whilst following up on Porters listed on the memorial roll in the Harris museum & library. My great grandfather, Thomas Porter was a brother of James’s father Charles and James’s cousins (my grandfather Percy and his brother Thomas Albert) were also serving in France in 1916. They both came home, whilst their cousin, with his wife expecting their second child, was lost after barely five weeks – so terribly sad. Shop keeping of one sort or another ran in the family – James’s grandfather Thomas Porter started the ball rolling and his sons Charles (James’s father ),Rimmer,James and my great grandfather Thomas all followed suit. Many thanks for a well-researched resume of James’s life.

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