RFA West Lancs Bdes
680201 BDR. J. HOTHERSALL. R.F.A.
James Hothersall was born in May 1893 in Preston and baptised at Preston St. Mary’s on 21 May. His father was James Hothersall (b. 1852 in Preston), a house painter and decorator. His mother was Margaret Strickland (b. 1854 in Chorley). James and Margaret were married in 1873 and they had ten children, though 4 died young. James was the youngest; his older surviving siblings were: Edward (b. 1875), Thomas (b. 1877), Frances (b. 1882), Jane (b. 1886), and Nellie (b. 1890). The family also owned a confectioner’s shop at 100 London Road, Preston. In 1911, James snr, Margaret and three of their children were living above the shop and James jnr was a clothlooker and packer in a cotton warehouse. Margaret died in 1912. In 1915, James jnr married Nellie Gertrude Berry (b. 1892 in Preston), a cotton weaver. They married in August that year, a couple of months before James went off to War.
James’ older brother Edward had served in the Army (see below) so there was a family tradition, and James must have been in the Territorials before the War. He had an original service number of 1195 which was later changed to 680201. James was initially posted to 276 Brigade and was almost certainly in “A” Battery and he landed in France with 55th Division on 30 September 1915. At some point he was promoted to Bombardier. He was later transferred to 42nd Division and served in “Y” Battery (Trench Mortar Battery) and also 42nd Divisional Ammunition Column. I don’t know when James was transferred to 42nd Division, but in 1918 42nd (East Lancashire) Division fought in Operation Michael and Operation Georgette and then during the Hundred Days Offensive they fought at the Canal du Nord and the Battle of the Selle during the Final Advance in Picardy. At the Armistice, the Division had just crossed the River Sambre. After that, units were moved to Charleroi where demobilisation began in December. James came home, having survived the War, only to die, almost certainly in the final phase of the influenza pandemic, on 14 April 1919. He was 25 years old.
Service No: 680201
Date of Death: 14/04/1919
Regiment/Service: Royal Field Artillery, "Y" Bty. 42nd Bde.
Grave Reference: W. CE. 27.
Cemetery: PRESTON (NEW HALL LANE) CEMETERY
James’ oldest brother, Edward, had served in the Army. He enlisted in 1900 and served in the Boer War. He served in a number of campaigns in 1901 but then left the Army at his own request. He was in 1st Provisional Battalion of the Imperial Yeomanry. Edward re-enlisted as a volunteer in 1908 with service number 93 in 5th Lancs. R.G.A. He was promoted to Bombardier. Edward was 39 when War broke out but it appears he continued to serve in the Royal Field Artillery and attested he was willing to serve abroad. He was given a new service number, 1678, which was later changed to 696081, and he was attached to 57th Divisional Ammunition Column. He was promoted to Sergeant. He landed in France with 57th Division in February 1917, but was discharged on 9 July the same year. According to his military records, this was the termination of his period of engagement and not related to wounds or sickness. Edward returned to Preston, to his wife and two daughters, and died in Preston in 1945.
James’ sister, Jane, was married in 1912 to Thomas Billington (b. 1889 in Preston). He was 201622 PTE. T. BILLINGTON. L.N.LAN.R. Tom enlisted in the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment and was posted to 2nd/4th Battalion. 2/4Bn was an infantry battalion which came under orders of 170th Brigade in 57th (2nd West Lancashire) Division. This of course was the Division which was supported by 286 Brigade artillery. Tom died of wounds at the Battle of the Scarpe on 1 September 1918. He was 28 years old.
Service No: 201622
Date of Death: 01/09/1918
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 2nd/4th Bn.
Grave Reference: I. F. 39.
Cemetery: BAC-DU-SUD BRITISH CEMETERY, BAILLEULVAL
Additional information: Husband of Jane Billington, of 30 Acregate Lane, Preston, Lancs.