James Henry JOWLE
Rank: Private
Number: 6140
Date of Death: 24 June 1916
Age: 33
Cemetery: Citadel New Military Cemetery, Fricourt, Somme, France

Robert Jowle originated from Cheadle but at the time of the 1901 Census was landlord of the Wagon & Horses Inn in Chapel-en-le Frith. He was married to Sarah and they had four children at home. James, then 19, was the eldest and was working as an engineer's clerk. The younger children were George (15), Florence (13) and Robert (11).

In 1910, James married Esther Harrison at St Mark's Church, Bredbury and they are understood to have lived at 396 Stockport Road, Bredbury. The couple separated the following year. At the time,  James worked for Horsfield Ltd, a local engineering firm but, by the time he enlisted he was working for a company in Manchester. He joined up at Bury which is the Headquarters town of the Fusiliers.

The 10th Battalion went overseas in the summer of 1915 and it was reported in the local newspapers that, before he was killed, James had been wounded on two occasions. These are thought to have been relatively minor injuries and it is not known when they were received.

By late June 1916, preparations were well under way for the forthcoming "big push" which would later be designated as the Battle of the Somme. On 24th June, the Fusiliers were in trenches opposite the village of Fricourt in the southern part of the expected battlefield. The day saw the opening of the British artillery barrage that was designed to destroy the German defences. The bombardment would continue until 1 July. The Fusiliers' War Diary records that there was "a practically continuous bombardment of the enemy by our artillery.....Enemy replied with machine gun fire at night and a very (illegible) shelling of our trenches."  There is no daily record of casualties but the Diary does note "that they were not greater was due to the excellent trenches and dug-outs and also the large extent of front held." Presumably the reference to the front held suggests that the men were well spaced out.

After the War, Esther was living at "Woodside" in Bredbury. James family also arranged for his name to be included on the War Memorial at Chapel-en-le-Frith.

Updated: February 2008. My thanks to a descendent of James for information received. JH

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