SNAILHAM, James Cpl. 15349

James Snailham

James Snailham

James Snailham was born to his mother, Ellen, in Brindle on the 13th March 1898 being baptised in Brindle St. James’ Church on the 24th April. Before joining the Pals he worked at Swansey Mill in Whittle-le-Woods and lived with his mother, Ellen Nelson, at 10 Dickinson Terrace, worshipping at St. John’s Church in the village.

James left Chorley on the 23rd February with the Pals for training at Caernarvon but on the 10th April the new C.O., Lt. Colonel Rickman, transferred a number of men (and boys) to the Training Battalion – one of these ‘men’ was James. He did manage, however, to get back to the Pals before they left for Suez in December 1915 but was placed in ‘Z’ Company – the Burnley Pals. Here, James found himself on Guard duty on ships going up and down the Canal and said “I enjoyed these sails down the canal; it gave me the chance to see things I would not have seen if I had not done it”.

He went over the top at Serre on the morning of the 1st July 1916 with the Burnley Pals, starting from Campion Trench. James managed to get to the German wire and was wounded in the legs. He was wounded again, in the arm, whilst crawling back to the British lines where he met and was helped by Private Tom Mather. James was initially treated at an Advanced Dressing Station at Colincamps before being taken by ambulance to No. 35 Casualty Clearing Station at the Citadel in Doullens, whereupon the shrapnel was removed from his leg. He was shipped back to England, arriving in Southampton around the 3rd July and received further treatment at a Manchester hospital.

After recovering, he was transferred to the 6th Battalion of the East Lancashire Regiment where he served in Mesopotamia and was taken ill, spending two years in hospital in India. However, he admitted to John Garwood how he was posted out of the Chorley Pals in 1916, saying “After I had recovered from my wounds, I thought ‘I am not going back to all that’. I was only 18 and I went absent. When they caught up with me I went in front of an Officer. He said ‘Why did you go absent?’ and I told him I did not want to go back to all that. He said ‘Do you want a Court Martial or will you accept my punishment?’  I said I would accept his punishment and he said that he was going to send me to a place I could not run away so he posted me to the 6th East Lancashire’s in Mesopotamia”.

James was demobilized on the 19th December 1919 and returned to Swansey Mill before going into insurance. He married Mary Ellen Livesey at St. John’s Church in Whittle-le-Woods during 1924, setting up home in the village. James then owned and ran a Grocery shop on Chorley Old Road, Whittle-le-Woods until he retired in 1963. His first wife died and he re-married, moving to Yorkshire where he died at Wakefield in October 1991.