WHITELEY, James Pte. 15680

James Whiteley enlisted at Chorley on the 21st September 1914, giving his next of kin as his father, Thomas, of 133 Pall Mall, Chorley.

He survived the Somme and was appointed Lance Corporal (unpaid) on the 15th July 1916 only to be deprived of his stripe later in the year on the 11th November for leaving camp without permission (the Pals were behind the lines at Coigneux and Courcelles). He was promoted back to Lance Corporal on the 22nd December 1916 only to lose the rank, again, when he was shipped back to a hospital in Glasgow, being admitted there on the 24th February. As the Pals were in training at Beauval (and had been for several weeks) it can be assumed that this was due to illness. He returned to his unit on the 4th July 1917, having missed the opening of the Battle of Arras in the spring.

James was gassed on the 5th September 1917 at the railway embankment near Vimy Station, resulting in him being shipped back to England for treatment at Keighley Hospital. He was there from the 10th September 1917 until the 18th March 1918. Upon leaving hospital, he was transferred to the 3rd (Depot) Battalion of the East Lancashire Regiment, and then to the 20th Battalion of the Manchester Regiment on the 21st June. A few weeks later he was transferred to the Army Service Corps at Prees Heath in Shropshire as Private T/408298. He was finally discharged from the Army on the 14th December 1918.

James Whiteley was born in Chorley in June 1884, the eldest of six children born to Thomas and Mary Jane Whiteley; he was known to worship at St. George’s Church. The 1901 Census had James living at 19 Gilbert Street with his parents, working as a Labourer in a bleachworks; he was not on the 1911 Census but his family were at 133 Pall Mall in Chorley. James married Elizabeth Duxbury at Chorley whilst on leave from the Army in 1918; they had a daughter, Lucy, born in Chorley in 1921.

A James Whiteley, aged 63, was recorded as having died in the Bolton (South) registration district in 1946.