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James Foley was born in the parish of St Annes, Blackburn around 1893.

James was 21 years old when he enlisted in the Army ‘Special Reserve’, joining the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment on 5th August 1914 at Preston. James had served with the Regiment before (1912), but had been discharged under article 1058a, para 390 XVA.

Prior to enlisting he had married Rachel (nee Birkett), and had been working as a general labourer. They lived with their daughter Mary (born 15th October 1913) and James’ mother, Kate at 8 Almond Street, Blackburn.

At his enlistment medical, he was described as being 5ft 4in tall, weighing 117lbs and had blue eyes and brown hair.

James sailed to France on 22nd September 1914 to join the 1st Battalion. He was present, and ‘under-fire’ during the infamous retreat from Mons, and the First Battle of Ypres where he was slightly wounded.

On 26th November 1914 James spent 7 days in the 1st Scottish General Hospital in Aberdeen having been returned to the UK.

Suddenly one week ago attacked with abdominal pain, diarrhea and headache.. (spent) two days at Hazebrouck and three days near Boulogne, (before being) received here. No abdominal tenderness or abnormality to be made out. 29.11.1914 – Condition much improved. 04.12.1914 – Discharged on 14 days furlough of leave.

On 14th February 1915, at Blackburn, James died of Sarcoma of the bladder.

On 24th August 1915, James widow, Rachel was awarded a pension of 15/- a week for herself and one child. Her address at this time was 48 Union buildings, Blackburn.

Rachel later received the 1914 Star with clasp, British War Medal and Victory on behalf of her late husband. Rachel later remarried, she became Mrs Rachel Snape, and moved address to 45, Daisy Street, Blackburn.

James is remembered on in Blackburn cemetery, however there has been a slight error made by the CWGC regarding his regimental number.

This cemetery was recently subject to a clean up by the Army, after failing into disrepair. You can read the article, and see a photo of James headstone HERE.

Rank: Private
Service No: 2589 2587
Date of Death: 14/02/1915
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, Depot
Cemetery: BLACKBURN CEMETERY, H. R.C. 1650.

Paul McCormick
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