Rank: Driver
Number: 74616
Unit: 46th Battery, 39th Brigade ROYAL FIELD ARTILLERY
Date of Death: 28 July 1917
Age: 20
Cemetery: Coxyde Military Cemetery, Koksijde, Belgium

In the late 1880s, James Holland and Martha Marsden married at St Mary’s Church, Heaton Reddish. Over the years, they would have at least six children and, in 1901, James was the youngest. The family was then living in the Portwopod area of town where James earned his living as a spinner at one of the local cotton mills. By the time of the War, the family had moved to 42 Shawcross Street near Higher Hillgate.

His sister Annie married Willie Robinson in 1912 and went to live at 56 Shawcross Street. Just before the War started, John Holland married Alice Schofield and they set up home at 18 Ladysmith Street. James was engaged to be married when he enlisted into the army. His service number is a low for an artilleryman and dates to the very beginning of the War.

In July 1917, James and his comrades were at Nieupoort – the extreme northern end of the whole Western front where the trenches ran through the sand dunes and on to the beach. From the 26th, the British artillery opened a heavy bombardment of the German trenches on the opposite side of the river and on their machine gun emplacements. This continued for the next two days. Until about noon on the 28th, there was little German retaliation but then their artillery started a heavy shelling of the British rear areas with gas and high explosive shells. It was, no doubt, during this bombardment that James was killed.

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