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This article was researched and written by Steve Wilson.

James Wallwork Forbes was born at Bolton in 1881 and was baptized at St Peters Church, Bolton on the 1st May 1881. On the 1881 census (taken on 3 April 1881) he resided with his father James Forbes, a joiner and his mother Eliza as lodgers at 35 Falcon Street, Little Bolton.

By the time of the 1891 census the family was resident at 23 Dale Street, Little Bolton. At this time he had been joined by three sisters Harriet (1884), Bertha (1886) and Betsy (1891). At this date he is recorded as being a scholar.

James Forbes enlisted in the Militia Battalion of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment at Manchester on the 26th September 1898. At this date he gave his occupation as a labourer employed at the Bolton Iron & Steel Company and his parents address was given as being 125 Clarence Street, Bolton. His middle name Wallwork was not recorded in the attestation papers or other documentation.

Forbes gave his age as being 18½ years of age (but appears to have actually been only 17½). He was 5’4” in height with brown hair and grey eyes. His service number in the militia was 5729.

Forbes is recorded as joining as a regular soldier in the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment on the 10th November 1898 on a short service enlistment and is recorded as serving previously with the 3rd Militia Battalion of the LNLR.

He was allocated the service number 5945 on appointment to the regular battalion.

The 2nd Battalion of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment were sent to South Africa arriving on the 20th March 1900 and Forbes is recorded in the medal rolls and records having service with the 17th Battalion of the Mounted Infantry.

Forbes was awarded The Queens South Africa Medal with clasps for Cape Colony, Orange Free State and South Africa 1901 & 1902. His medal has the addition of the Transvaal clasp. He did not qualify for the award of the Kings South Africa medal.

In the 1901 census Forbes parents and sisters are recorded as resident at 125, Clarence Street, Bolton with the addition of another sister Ada M. (1901)
Forbes married Mary Ann Guy at Bolton in Q2 of 1908 presumably after the completion of his service as a regular soldier and becoming part of the reserve forces.

Forbes is recorded on the 1911 Census as residing at 99 Radcliffe Road, Tonge, Bolton with his wife Mary Ann and a son Charles (1909). His occupation is recorded as iron boxer.

Forbes parents and siblings in 1911 were resident at 59 Merehall Street, Bolton.

Forbes is shown as posted to the British Expeditionary Force on the 15th September 1914 after being recalled to the colours. This would appear to have been with the 1st Battalion which was serving in France.

The next event recorded is his being posted to the depot at Preston on the 9th November 1915 and then discharged on the 15th December 1915 as no longer fit for War service as a result of a gunshot wound to his right shoulder. At this date he gave the address 59 Merehall Street, Bolton.

His service record is incomplete and there are no details concerning his injuries or the date sustained.

At the date of discharge James Forbes had a total of 17 years and 37 days military service with the Loyals.

Forbes was awarded the 1914 Star (with August-November 1914 clasp), British War Medal and Victory Medal. He was also awarded the Silver War Badge (No 59971) for his service in the Great War.


Paul McCormick
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