Signalman 13443 James Alfred Allcock

Allcock James 96 401x600

Died of Wounds on Friday, 14th July 1916, age 20.
Buried in Grave I. C. 5. at Corbie Communal Cemetery Extension, Somme, France.

12th Bn., West Yorkshire Regt. (Prince of Wales's Own). 9th Brigade of 3rd Division.

Born: Dudley Port, Enlisted: Leeds, Resident: Leeds.

First landed France & Flanders, 7th October 1915.
Medal entitlement: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Not commemorated on any Tipton memorial.
Commemorated here because identified as Tipton on 'Soldiers Died in the Great War'.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/21159/

Genealogical Data

Birth of James Alfred Allcock registered March quarter 1896 in Dudley.

1901 Census
56 Greenwood Street, Hunslet, Yorkshire.
Alfred Allcock (34, Caster - Nailworks , born Birmingham), his wife Amy (33, born Leeds), and their 5 children: Rosalind (15, Yarn Twister, born Leeds), Violet (10, born Leeds), Maud (7, born Dudley Port), James (5, born Dudley Port), and Amy (2, born Leeds).

1911 Census
17 Chambers Street, Hunslet, Yorkshire.
Alfred Allcock (45, Nail Carter , born Birmingham), his wife Amy (43, born Leeds), and their 7 surviving children of 9: Rosalind (25, Weaver, born Leeds), Maud (18, Weaver, born Dudley Port), James (15, Weaver, born Dudley Port), Amy (12, School, born Hunslet), John (10, School, born Hunslet), Walter (7, School, born Hunslet), and Lily (4, born Hunslet).

Personal Data

James was born in Dudley Port, but the family moved to Leeds/Hunslet by the time he was 3 years old.

After James's death his outstanding army pay and allowances of £2/16/0d (2 pounds and 16 shillings) was paid to his mother, Amy. His War Gratuity of £8/10/0d (8 pounds and 10 shillings)was also paid to his mother in September 1919. The value of the War Gratuity and his date of death suggest that James enlisted in August 1914.

Action resulting in his death

The 12th West Yorkshires landed in France in September 1915 and almost immediately were thrown into the second day of the Battle of Loos – part of the badly-treated Reserve 21st and 24th Divisions. The West Yorkshires had over 75 men killed in that action.

James Allcock landed in France on 7th October, and joined the 12th West Yorkshires as one of the replacements for the men killed and wounded during the Battle of Loos.

In an attempt to ‘stiffen up’ the New Army Divisions, some Regular and New Army Battalions were exchanged, and in November 1915 the 12th West Yorkshires joined the 9th Brigade of 3rd Division – pre-war Regulars.

When the Battle of the Somme began on 1st July, the 12th West Yorkshires were on the Belgian coast at La Panne. Over the next week they were moved forward until they took over a front-line sector near Montauban, this had been the German front-line on 1st July.

The south of the Somme front had seen some success on the first day and the subsequent capture of Mametz Wood opened the way for the next stage – the attack on Bazentin Ridge on 14th July. Seven Divisions were to attack the Bazentin Ridge, with 3rd Division about in the centre. The 3rd Division objectives were to capture the German Support trench line beyond the village of Bazentin-le-Grand and to establish a defensive line at the north of Bazentin-le-Grand Wood.

The 12th West Yorkshires were on the left of the Division with the Wood on their left flank, their start point directly south of Bazentin-le-Grand. The attack was to commence at 3.25am after a 5-minute hurricane artillery bombardment. The troops of 3rd Division were to creep forward so that they were within around 120 yards of the enemy line at zero hour; several casualties occurred because of “short” shells.

At 3.25am the men arose and advanced; there was heavy machine gun fire from the village and from the Wood, but the 12th made good progress.

By 4.30 am the Commanding Officer, Major Oswald, had sent back a report saying his Battalion had gained all its objectives in the front line and also a part of the German second line. As his casualties were heavy he requested reinforcements; a company of the 1st Northumberland Fusiliers was sent forward to strengthen the attack.

Ten minutes later the West Yorkshiremen were in the second line and were experiencing little or no opposition. At 5.26am another report stated that the Battalion had gained all objectives.

By 6.30am Bazentin-le-Grand was safely in the possession of 3rd Division, and they were consolidating their new position.

‘Soldiers Died in the Great War’ shows that 66 men of the 12th West Yorkshires died on that day; all are shown as ‘killed in action’ except James Allcock who is shown as ‘died of wounds’ and must have been evacuated from the battlefield. James is buried in Corbie Communal Cemetery Extension, which is about 15 miles south-west of Bazentin, and the location of No. 5 and No. 21 Casualty Clearing Stations.

Only 14 of the men killed have a known grave, the remainder are commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme.

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