203146 PTE. J. BEAVER. L.N.LAN.R
This article was written and researched by Janet Davis. I have added information about the final few days of the military campaign.
James Beaver was born in Bamber Bridge, near Preston in 1889 the son of David and Margaret Beaver (née Kellett). David Beaver and Margaret Kellett married in 1881 in St. Leonard’s Church, Walton le Dale, near Preston. David and Margaret had another eight children: Susannah (b.1883 d.1883), John Edmund (1884), David (1886), Jane (1888), Margaret (1892) and then Mary Elizabeth and William (b.1894 d.1894) and finally Lily (1895). James’ mother Margaret died in 1897 and his father David remarried to a Sarah Ann McCall in St. Saviour’s Church, Bamber Bridge in 1902. David and Sarah Ann Beaver then had another two children, John (1905) and Thomas (1909). At the time of the 1911 Census James was living at home with his father David, step mum Sarah Ann, sisters Margaret and Lily and step brothers John and Thomas. The family were living at 12 Greenwood Street, Bamber Bridge. James’ occupation is recorded as a card room hand.
James Beaver enlisted at Preston on 30 September 1916 for the duration of the war and was given the service number 6915 which would later become 203146. He was posted to the 4th Battalion. The medical inspection report describes James as being 5’7” tall, weighing 125lbs and as having a 35” chest. James embarked at Folkestone bound for France on 26 January 1917 and was then posted into the 1/5th Battalion joining them in the field on 22 March 1917. On the 13 May 1917 James was taken to a field ambulance and then admitted to 17 Casualty Clearing Station with some sort of problem with his left arm. From there he was moved to 13 General Hospital in Boulogne and by 22 May 1917 he was on his way back to England via the Hospital Ship St. Patrick. Once back in England, James was transferred to Wharncliffe War Hospital, Sheffield for further treatment. James spent a total of 85 days in hospital from 22 May 1917 to 14 August 1917. The newspaper article says he was invalided home with shell shock.
By the 4 January 1918 James had been transferred back to the 3rd Battalion (Reserve). A couple of months later on 21 March 1918 he was embarking at Folkestone on his way to France for the second time. On the 24 March 1918 James was posted to the 9th Battalion and joined them in the field on 1 April 1918.
9Bn came under orders of 74th Brigade in 25th Division. The Brigade had already suffered heavy losses during the opening phase of the German Spring Offensive, where they were engaged along the Bapaume-Cambrai road. They were at Bienvillers when the German advance finally stopped. They had suffered some 350 casualties (killed, wounded or missing) in February and March. James was among six drafts amounting to 477 men who arrived in the early days of April, but they had little time to get used to the conditions before the Germans launched the second phase of the Spring Offensive, Operation Georgette or the Battle of the Lys. James Beaver died on 10 April 1918 from gunshot wounds he sustained to his hip and buttocks. At the time, 9Bn was facing the German assault at Croix du Bac.
Service No: 203146
Date of Death: 10/04/1918
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 9th Bn.
Cemetery: AIRE COMMUNAL CEMETERY