James Henry GROVES
Rank: Private
Number: 23919
Unit: 9th Battalion ROYAL WELSH FUSILIERS
Date of Death: 9 July 1916
Age: 25
Cemetery: Wimereux Communal Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France

Little is known about James' early life. He had been born in Weaverham, the son of farm labourer William Groves and Mary Groves. When the Census was taken in 1901, the family, which comprised 7 children,  had moved to Stockport and was living in a "two up, two down" property. Later they moved to the Bredbury and Woodley area and, when War came, James enlisted at Hyde. His service number is sufficiently low to suggest that he may have been an original member of the newly formed 9th Battalion, which went overseas in July 1915.

James died at a "base hospital" on the Channel coast from wounds he received in action. As such, it cannot be known exactly when he received his injuries. The Battle of the Somme had opened on 1 July and the 9th Battalion took part in the attack. The main attack had gone in at 7.30am but the Fusiliers were held in reserve until the afternoon when they were ordered forward to press the attack around the village of La Boiselle. In the event, the situation was so chaotic that the further attacks could not go ahead. The Fusiliers remained in this forward position, shelled by the Germans, until 4pm the next day when the attack was finally delivered. It was generally successful with the southern end of the village being captured after a hard fight with both sides making extensive use of grenades.

In the very early hours of the 3rd, the Battalion again attempted to move forward, throwing grenades in front of them to clear the way. They got into the middle of the village and continued to fight with pockets of Germans still holding out. This continued until midday when the Germans counter attacked in strength forcing the Fusiliers out of the village. 32 men had been killed since the beginning of 1 July and James was one of the 128 wounded. He will have been evacuated to a field hospital some miles behind the front line where his condition will have been stabilised, allowing him to be moved to the fuller hospital facilities at Wimereaux.

   
           
   
     
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