James Henry FARMER
Rank: Private
Number: 35223
Unit: 8th Battalion CHESHIRE REGIMENT
Date of Death: 29 January 1917
Age: 24
Cemetery: Basra Memorial, Iraq

Between January and March 1890, Samuel Farmer married Lizzie Ramscar at St Matthew's Church, Grenville Street, Stockport. The first son, Samuel, was born later that year. James was born in the early part of 1892.

James' service number indicates he enlisted in the early part of 1916 and, after training, would have joined the Battalion in Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq). He is recorded, in Regimental records, as having died of wounds received. As such, it is not possible to be absolutely sure when he might have received them. However, the 8th Cheshires were close to the front line on the day James died, and the day before.

Neighbouring battalions had captured Turkish positions at the Hai Salient on 25 January. Immediately afterwards, 40th Brigade, including the Cheshires, started to consolidate the newly won positions and to dig new trenches. The Battalion's War Diary, for the 28th, records that enemy snipers were extremely active and considerably hampered the evening‘s work, but the trenches were ready by the next day.

On the 29th, the new trench was occupied by "D" Company and further improvement work was carried out. There was very little enemy firing during the day. At 6pm, troops of 14th Division made a further attack and again captured the Turks' new front line. At this point the enemy opened rapid rifle fire all along the line.

The Regimental History states that, between 20 and 31 January, 40th Brigade had dug 7.5 miles of trenches as well as consolidating 4 miles of captured trench. "It was all done in the open, but every man who fell digging saved many lives which would have been lost by advancing across the open." James was one of the Battalion's ten men who died during this period. Another local man was Samuel Platt.

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