James Everatt SHARPLES
Rank: Private
Number: 33288
Unit: 8th Battalion BORDER Regiment
Date of Death: 3 August 1917
Age: 26
Cemetery: Menin Gate Memorial, Ieper, Belgium

Everatt was born in Marple and lived there all his life until he enlisted in the army. In 1901, when the Census was taken, the family was living at 24 Shepley's Buildings (but later moved to Hawk Green). Everatt's father, James was then aged 51 and worked as a platelayer on the railways. His mother, Mary, was 46. James had a number of siblings - Matilda (19, a cotton weaver), May (14, weaver), Janet (12), Eveline (6) and Norman (5). James, himself, was 10.

He enlisted into the army in early 1916, at Hyde, joining the Cheshire Regiment (service number 35673). It is known, from his medal entitlement records, available on-line at the National Archives, that he must have served overseas with the Cheshires before transferring to the Borders. It is possible that he was wounded or otherwise away from duty for a while and, when recovered, he was transferred as the Borders was more in need of experienced men.

The 3rd Battle of Ypres (Passchendaele) opened on 31 July, but Everatt did not go into action that day. On 1 August, the Battalion moved into close support positions, just behind the front line, near Bellewarde Lake to the north of the Belgium town of Ypres (now Ieper). The Battalion's War Diary records "Rained heavily all day. Men suffered from exposure and cold. Enemy shelled the position fairly continuously". The next day, it continued to rain and the Battalion maintained readiness to counter-attack any assault by the Germans on the positions that had been captured on the 31st.

The War Diary makes no reference to casualties on the day Everatt was killed, remarking only that 100 men, under Captain Gemmell-Smith were detailed to support an attack by the 11th Cheshires, but the attack was postponed due to the weather.

Further information about Everatt, including a photograph, is in the book "Remembered" by P Clarke, A Cook and J Bintliff, The authors conclude that Everatt was killed by shellfire. This seems the most likely cause of his death as an officer, 2nd Lieutenant Lait is know to have been killed by shellfire the same day. The authors also record that there was evidence that he was properly buried by his comrades. Over the course of the War, many front-line burial areas were destroyed by shellfire and the location of his grave is now lost. His name is inscribed on the Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing at Ieper.

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