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David Whittam was born in Preston in the September quarter of 1887 to Martha Whittam, a single lady. Martha already had two daughters prior to David`s birth; Elizabeth Ellen (1875) and Mary Ann (1880) and then the year after David arrived she had another son John (1888).

In 1891 David, his mother and three siblings were living in Paradise Street South in Preston with his maternal grandmother Mary Ann Whittam. In this Census David`s mother Martha is recorded as being single and working as a cotton weaver. His grandmother Mary Ann was the housekeeper and his two older sisters both worked in a mill, Elizabeth as a cotton `doffer` and Mary Ann as a `sweeper up`.

By 1901 David and his family had moved to 18 Townley Street but in this Census his mother has recorded her marital status as a widow. The family also had a visitor staying with them, an eighteen year old chap by the name of John Fisher who was a labourer in an iron foundry.

On the 31st August 1904 David attested into the Militia, joining the 3rd Battalion of the East Lancashire Regiment. He was single, aged 17 years and 9 months old and prior to joining the Militia he had been working for Mr. Nelson as a lap piercer in the Wellington Mill on Peel Hall Street. He is described as having brown hair, grey eyes and weighing 119lbs. David noted his mother Martha of 38 Barton Street in Preston as his next of kin. Around three months later on the 15th November 1904 David joined the 2nd Battalion of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment as a regular soldier.

On the 1st June 1905 he married Alice Nelson at St. Mary`s Church in Preston, the marriage details noting that David was a soldier. In the September quarter of 1905 the couples` first child Joseph was born.

In the Census recorded on the 2nd April 1911 David was in India with the 2nd Battalion LNL and Alice was boarding with Thomas Hothersall and his wife Winifred at 37 Peel Hall Street in Preston. David and Alice`s six year old son Joseph was living with his maternal grandparents Joseph and Mary Nelson in Brownlow Street.

Apart from his early service record there are unfortunately no other surviving papers to ascertain when David left India and returned to England. In the September quarter of 1911 Alice gave birth to a daughter and named her Florence. Another son, John Joseph was born in the December quarter of 1912 but sadly he didn`t survive and died the same year. David and Alice`s fourth and last child, another daughter, Winifred was born in the June quarter of 1914.

At the outbreak of war David was recalled to the Colours and joined the 1st Battalion LNL with the service number 8100. He disembarked in France on the 12th August 1914 with the British Expeditionary Force.

Sadly, David was killed in action on the 23rd October 1914 during the First Battle of Ypres. Read about the Valiant Charge here…..

The Commanding Officer desires to convey to all ranks of the battalion in appreciation of the fine piece of work performed on October 23rd near Bixschoote.

“In spite of stout opposition, and undeterred by it’s own heavy losses, the battalion made ground methodically and with certainty when the enemy was struck from both flanks by the battalion with a heavy rifle and machine-gun fire, and was then charged in a style worthy of the traditions of the 47th (the old regimental number) veterans of Taufaud, Quebec.

By inflicting a loss estimated at about 300 killed and wounded upon the enemy, besides securing important moral advantages, the battalion has played a brave part and deserves well of it’s country.

This action was fought in close and difficult country and was not won without loss to the battalion.

In view of the presence in the battalion of a number of recently-joined officers, and also of the large number of reservists, this action was all the more creditable to our arms, and provides a happy augury for any further efforts that may be demanded by the battalion.”

Not long after Alice received news of the death of her husband the following photograph and information was printed in the local paper;

8100 Private David Whittam 1st Battalion

The photograph of David shows him wearing the `Broderick` cap which was issued in 1902 but replaced in 1905, therefore it`s likely the photograph dates from around the time he enlisted into the LNL in November 1904 when he was about 18 years old.

David has no known grave and so his name was later inscribed on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial to the Missing.

After the war David was awarded the 1914 Star & Clasp as well as the British War and Victory Medals, his family would also have received his Memorial Plaque and Scroll in recognition of his sacrifice for his country.

David`s name is also remembered on St. Mary`s Church War Memorial Plaque in Preston.

St. Mary`s Church War Memorial Plaque

Alice Whittam remarried to Henry Hunt in the March quarter of 1915 and Alice and Henry went on to have at least two children together.

Rank: Private
Service No: 8100
Date of Death: 23/10/1914
Age: 28
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, “B” Coy. 1st Bn.
Memorial: YPRES (MENIN GATE) MEMORIAL

Janet Davis

Janet Davis

Janet Davis has been researching her family history for many years and through this she discovered many relatives who served in WW1. This interest then led Janet to do many walking the battlefield tours with her husband. In April 2013 she discovered this website and volunteered to help. Janet believes that there are lots of stories still to be told, most of them very sad but at the same time they are a fascinating insight into the men, their families, what they did and where they came from.
Janet Davis

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One Response to 8100 PTE. D. WHITTAM. L.N.LAN.R.

  1. david whittam says:

    thank you for doing this
    my name is david whittam gt grandson of the above
    I have the medals and memorial plaque

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