Rank: Private
Number: 29665
Unit: 16th Battalion CHESHIRE REGIMENT
Date of Death: 19 July 1916
Cemetery: Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France

There is some confusion about the identity of James Dolan. Official records note that the above soldier was killed in action in accordance with the above information. He was born in Stockport and enlisted there. Other than that, no information exists.

However, the local newspaper reported that a James Dolan was killed whilst serving with an unnamed Battalion of the Cheshires on 15 October 1916. This man was aged 22 and lived, with family, at 34 Hawkins Street,South Reddish. He was the brother of Thomas Dolan, who was killed whilst serving with the 1st Cheshires. However, he does not appear on official commemorations in either the Regimental Roll of Honour or the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Book of Honour

To complicate matters further J & T Dolan are commemorated on the Stockport Art Gallery Memorial and the South Reddish Memorial (in the latter case as serving with the 14th Cheshires - which did not exist).

With the passage of time, it is not possible to be certain about identities but the balance of probabilities suggests that J Dolan is the brother of Thomas and not the other James Dolan. It is very possible that they are actually the same person. It is equally impossible to be certain as to the date of death.

On 16 July, the 16th Cheshires went into the front line between Guillemont and Delvile Wood, in the south of the Somme battlefield, at a position known as Waterlot Farm. These positions had been captured in the days since the start of the Battle on 1 July. A German counter-attack was expected and fresh troops were required. The expected counterattack was launched on 18 July and was repulsed but with heavy casualties. The next day, there was systematic German shelling which caused many casualties. I f James was killed this day, then it was almost certainly from shellfire.

There were no major actions involving the Cheshires on 15 October and, without knowing a Battalion, it is impossible to speculate what might have happened if James had been killed on this day.

Since the original research, further information has come to light which confirms that not only is this man definitely the James Dolan as described above, but that there was a third brother, William, who was also killed.

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