BAMBER BRIDGE IN WORLD WAR 1
680555 PTE. J. H. WHITTLE. R.F.A.
James Henry Whittle was born in the first quarter of 1883 at School Lane, Bamber Bridge and baptised at St Leonard’s on 25 February. At the time, his family was living in houses belonging to Eccles mill. His father was Edward Whittle (b. 1851 in Bamber Bridge), a joiner working at the mill. His mother was Margaret Ann Livesey (b. 1850 in Darwen). Edward and Margaret were married at St Leonard’s in 1871 and they had 11 children, though one died young. The children were: Richard (b. 1871), Joseph (b. 1873), Alfred (b. 1876), Thomas (b. 1878), John Charles (b. 1880), then James Henry, then Doctor Harold (b. 1885), Margaret Maud (1887-1891), Elizabeth (b. 1889), Catherine (b. 1890) and finally Edward (b. 1893). Edward died in 1902. Margaret Ann continued to live with 8 of her children but by 1911 they had moved to 12 John Street, Bamber Bridge.
In 1903, James Henry married Mary Ellen Kenyon (b. 1884 in Preston). They moved to 197 Chorley Road, Walton Le Dale and had four children: Edward (b. 1904 but died before his first birthday), Maud (b. 1906), Thomas (b. 1908) and Elizabeth (b. 1910).
James enlisted in the Royal Field Artillery and was given service number 680555. It seems he enlisted in Preston rather than Bamber Bridge and he was posted to “B” Battery of 286 Brigade (most of the other Briggers were in “C” Battery). So he landed in France in February 1917 and fought in the defence of Armentières before moving to Ypres in October that year.
James was engaged in the fighting in the defence of Ypres – the Third Battle of Ypres, or Passchendaele. He died of wounds at 61st Casualty Clearing Station, at Dozinghem, on 3 November 1917. He was 34 years old.
Rank: Private (Wheeler)
Service Number: 680555
Date of Death: 03/11/1917
Regiment/Service: Royal Field Artillery, “B” Bty, 286th Brigade.
Cemetery/memorial reference: XV. D. 12.
Cemetery: DOZINGHEM MILITARY CEMETERY
Additional Information: Son of Edward and Margaret Ann Whittle; husband of Mary Ellen Whittle, of 197 Chorley Road, Walton-le-Dale, Preston.
James’ brother Edward enlisted with the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment. His service number was 38343. His papers say he was ‘deemed to have enlisted’ on 2 March 1916 although the papers were not signed until November 1917. He seems to have been exempted from military service on medical grounds as he was suffering from ‘ankylosed morbal coxae’ (a condition similar to arthritis) and his exemption was reviewed in 1918 but he did not serve abroad.