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2895 Private James DuddleJames Duddle was born in Preston in 1884 to father William Duddle and mother Mary Alice Duddle (nee Tootle). William was a joiner born in Bolton and Mary was a weaver and native of Preston. Mary Alice already had a one year old daughter Hannah when she married William Duddle on the 27th July 1879 at St. Mark`s Church in Preston.

As well as James, William and Mary Alice went on to have another four children; George (1881), Elizabeth (1890), Mary Alice (1894) and Ellen (1896).  The family had been living together at 24 St. Walburge`s Street in Preston.

In 1898, James half-sister Hannah married Andrew Spellman. Two years later in 1900 William Duddle died which must have caused problems for the family because in the 1901 Census Hannah Spellman and her two year old daughter Margaret, along with James, his mother and the rest of the family are all living at another home at number 16 Peel Street. Both James and his brother George have jobs, George a cotton weaver and James a fitter turner (lathe operator). The family had also taken in a lodger, Emma Potts of Preston

At the next Census in 1911 the family are living at 24 Peel Street and by 1912 James was working as a skilled turner (lathe operator) for the firm of Atherton Brothers in their foundry located in Kent Street, Preston, a well-respected company of textile manufacturers. Also in this year James married a local girl by the name of Ivy Millan, the wedding taking place on the 6th April at St. Mark`s Church (still there but now converted into flats). Later that year on the 23rd of August they had a daughter who they named Ivy.

At the outbreak of WW1 James and Ivy are living at number 22 Hawkshead Street which was just off Marsh Lane (the house was demolished in the late 1960`s). James had no previous military experience but must have had a strong sense of patriotism because on the 17th of August 1914 he volunteered to join the army. Although very slight in stature, only 5`1” tall and weighing 107lbs (recorded in his army medical) he attested into the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment at Fulwood Barracks. He was issued with the service number 2895 and then posted to the 3rd (Reserve) Battalion at Felixstowe.

On the 18th May 1915 James embarked for France as one of many reinforcements for the 1st Battalion who had recently suffered heavy casualties in the fighting in an attack on the 9th May at Aubers Ridge.

On the 25th September 1915 (1st day of the Battle of Loos) at Minx mine close to the town of Loos, the Battalion carried out a major assault on the German lines. This attack soon ran into major difficulties through poor weather causing their own gas to be blown back on them and failure of artillery to breach the German wire. The result was heavy casualties amongst the Battalion and it’s supporting Battalion on its right flank. The resultant losses were 15 Officers and 489 other ranks killed and wounded.

James was amongst the men wounded on that day and his active service casualty form reads;

Wounded in action. Gunshot wound to groin. 25th September 1915

Died of wounds 28th September 1915

Buried at Bethune Cemetery, Row K, grave number 39

For a detailed account of the Battalion actions at the time read 2nd Lieutenant Alan George Hilton Livesey (click here).

Below is the report of James` death which appeared in the Preston Guardian.2895 Private James Duddle 2

Ivy Duddle was later sent her husband’s personal effects which included; 1 jack knife, 1 coin, 1 handkerchief, 1 brooch, 1 postcard, 1 button, 1 cloth bag and a wallet.

A pension of 15/- per week was awarded to Ivy and her daughter with effect from 3rd April 1916.

Ivy later acknowledged receipt of her husband`s 1915 Star, British War and Victory Medals.

Ivy Duddle remarried to Andrew Duerden in 1920 but Andrew died in 1932 leaving her a widow again. In 1937 Ivy again remarried, this time to Edward Whalley. Ivy herself died in 1945 and Ivy her namesake daughter died in 1987.

Rank: Private
Service No: 2895
Date of Death: 28/09/1915
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 1st Bn.
Cemetery: BETHUNE TOWN CEMETERY

Ron Crowe

Ron Crowe

Ron has had an interest in WW1 for most of his adult life, reading many books and accounts of the war. He has visited most of the western front on several occasions and visited the various museums, including the Verdun battlefield. He volunteered for the St Marys project at MoL, and having enjoyed the experience felt he would like to do more. These lost stories of old soldiers needs to be brought back to life both for relatives to see what their great grandfathers did, and the modern young generation to see the sacrifices made by them for them
Ron Crowe

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2 Responses to 2895 PTE. J. DUDDLE. L.N.LAN.R.

  1. Linda Allsop says:

    Thank you for adding the information on James Duddle. The lodger who his mother took in called Emma Potts was my great-grandmother. In 1903 Emma married Robert Sanderson. He was also a soldier in the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, please see R Sanderson service number 6766.

  2. J Michael Darlington says:

    No wonder they called them the PALS regiments…many from a close knit community. Private James Duddle, son of William, was the nephew of William’s sister Hannah Duddle.( a different Hannah to the one above). Hannah Duddle married my grandmother’s brother John Stopford in 1895. My grandmother Ada married James Darlington 18th April 1907. Three of James Darlington’s cousins Edward, William and Joseph were killed on the Somme battlefield For further insight please see the entry on this site for 17128, Private Edward Darlington.
    At the date of the 1911 Census Hannah Stopford nee Duddle (widowed in 1904) was living at 22, St Warburge’s Street with her three sons and widowed mother age 72. From your account above, Hannah’s brother William, James’ father, (died 1900) had previously lived next door at No 24.

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