Thursday 20 September 2018

Private James Henry Wilson, died 20 September 1918

Today marks the 100th anniversary of the death in France of my great great uncle, Private James Henry Wilson.

James was born on 31 January 1898 in St Helens to Henry Wilson and his wife Elizabeth Ann (Austin) of 141 Grafton Street in the town.

In the 1901 Census, three year old James was living at 23 Rivington Street, St Helens with his father (aged 27), mother (aged 27) and siblings Jane (aged 4) and my great grandfather Austin (aged 2). Elizabeth's brothers, John Austin (aged 21) and Frederick Austin (aged 19) were also living there.

By 1911, 13 year old printers' errand boy James was living at 141 Grafton Street with henry (aged 37), Eliabeth 9aged 36), and siblings Jane (aged 14), Austin (aged 11), Elizabeth (aged 8) and Jessie (aged 1).

James was later employed at Pilkington Glass Sheet Works, and is remembered on the Pilkington Roll of Honour.

As war broke out, Henry enlisted in St Helens. He served with the 1st / 5th Battalion of the South Lancashire Regiment, and died of gunshot wounds (shattered arm) on 20 September 1918, just seven weeks before the Armistace was declared. He is buried at Houchin British Cemetery III.E grave 26.

James is also remembered on the Knowsley Road School Memorial, St Helens, on the St Helens Roll of Honour, and on the cenotaph in Victoria Square, St Helens.

He was one of seven St Helens men to die in battle that day alone:

Private Thomas Bolton (KIA)
Private William Bracken (KIA)
Private William Cunliffe (died of wounds)
Private Thomas Flannaghan (KIA)
Private Thomas French (died of wounds)
Private Edward Pye (died of wounds)
Private James Henry Wilson (died of wounds)

Remembering them all and everyone who has given their life for their country, in any battle for any side. 

At the Going Down of the Sun, and in the morning, We Will Remember Them.

Dulce et decorum est

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