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James Molloy was born on 25th May 1896 in Preston, Lancashire. His father was also named James Molloy and worked at a carburetted water-gas plant. His mother was called Margret. James had an older brother named John (b. c1893) and a younger brother named Joseph (b. c1900)

In 1901 the family were living at 7 Deepdale Mill Street, Preston. They had a 21 year old female boarding with them, a relative named Julia A Molloy.

In 1911 the family were living at 8 Thornton Road, Preston. By this time, James had another younger brother, William (b. c1904) and two young sisters, Margret (b. c1907) and Emily (b. c1910). James was working as an errand boy at a supply store.

In (or around) August 1914, James enlisted in the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment and was posted into the 1/4th (Territorial) Battalion. Later that month they began their training in Swindon with the other battalions of the North Lancashire Brigade.

In November 1914 the Battalion moved to Sevenoaks, Kent to continue their training.


Private James Molloy (bottom left) in 1914 at Sevenoaks

On 4th May 1915, James and the Battalion embarked on the S.S ‘Onward’ at Folkestone, sailing for Boulogne. They were soon part of 154th Brigade in 51st (Highland) Division who were involved in the defense of Ypres. It was here at Ypres that the Germans had first used poison gas, the month before James arrived.

S.S Onward

1/4th Battalion embarked S.S Onward bound for Boulogne

Later that month they moved to the Artois region, initially remaining in reserve during the early stages of the Battle of Festubert. On 25th May they entered the trenches about one mile west-north-west of Festubert. The trenches in this sector were particularly muddy and water-logged; and the Germans were found to be targeting them with shrapnel and high-explosive shells daily. It was here the Battalion took their first casualties.

On 7th January 1916 they transferred to 164th Brigade in 55th (West Lancashire) Division.

At the beginning of 1916 the Division was in the Hallencourt area, from here they proceeded to the Wailly – Bretencourt area (South of Arras) by 16 February. Here they remained for several months engaged in typical trench warfare. On 25th July 1916 the Division moved down to assist in the Battle of the Somme that had been raging since the beginning of the month. They took part in the following battles;

  • The Battle of Guillemont (4-6th September)
  • The Battle of Ginchy (9th September)
  • The Battle of Flers-Courcelette (17-22nd September)
  • The Battle of Morval (25-28th September)

It is known that during 1916 James was wounded, he sent a postcard home to his brother Joe informing him of such.


Private James Molloy in 1916 after being wounded

At some point James transferred the Labour Corps (service number 280757); before returning to the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment (his ‘1917 style’ service number 200654). James was later to transfer to the Machine Gun Corps (service number 146345) with whom he finished his active service before being demobilized.

James Molloy died aged 65 years old.

Unfortunately no service papers survived.

Paul McCormick
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