Lance Corporal 16788 James Wilde

Killed in Action on Saturday, 22nd July 1916, age 31.
Commemorated on Pier and Face 3 C and 3 D of Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France.

18th Bn., Lancashire Fusiliers. 104th Brigade of 35th Division.

Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Tipton, Resident: Tipton.

First landed France & Flanders, post 31st December 1915.
Medal entitlement: British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Commemorated on the Tipton Library Memorial.
Commemorated here because he appears on a Tipton memorial.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/821547/

Genealogical Data

The spelling of this surname is recorded in numerous ways (Wylde, Wild, While and Wilde); I have followed the version used in his Army records and by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Birth of James Wylde registered December quarter 1884 in Dudley.

1901 Census
221 Dudley Port, Tipton, Staffs.
Henry Wild (64, Miner, born Green Lane, Derbyshire), his wife Elizabeth (61, born Tividale), and their 3 children: George (22, General Labourer, born Dudley Port), Mary (20, Servant, born Dudley Port), and James (16, Iron Caster, born Dudley Port).

Marriage of James While and Lucy Richards registered June quarter 1903 in Dudley.

1911 Census
174 Dudley Port, Tipton, Staffs.
James Wilde (27, Moulder in Iron Foundry, born Tipton), his wife Lucy (27, born Tipton), and their 3 surviving children of 4 (but only 2 are recorded): George (7, born Tipton), and Leslie (2, born Tipton). A further child, Stanley, was born on 14th April 1911. Also living there was Mrs Elizabeth Richards (46, widow, mother-in-law, born Tipton) .

James is the Uncle of James Ernest Wilde who was killed in 1917 and also recorded on this web-site - click: James Ernest Wilde.

Personal Data

The 18th Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers was initially a Bantam Battalion for men less than the 5' 3'' required for other infantry Battalions. By the end of 1916 the quality of Bantam replacements became sub-standard; in common with the other Bantam Battalions, replacements from then on were average conscripts. As James Wilde died in 1916, it can be assumed that he was a Bantam by height.

After James's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £5/17/7d (5 pounds, 17 shillings and 7 pence); this was paid to his widow and sole legatee, Lucy, in August 1917. James's War Gratuity was £6/10/0d (6 pounds and 10 shillings), this was also paid to his widow in September 1919. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that James had enlisted in approximately January 1915.

Action resulting in his death

On the 20th July 1916, the 18th Lancashire Fusiliers took over the front line from Trones Wood to Maltz Horn Farm. At 5 pm on the 21st orders were received to mount a strong raid on the enemy trenches running from a point south east of Arrowhead Copse to Maltz Horn Farm with the aim of destroying the wire to allow attacking troops to pass.

The attack took place in two columns at 1.30 am on the 22nd July. The left column was unable to reach the enemy trench, the right column reached its objective but was forced to retire. In his report upon this action the Brigade Commander was of opinion that the time allowed was too short to permit of proper organization of attack, and the continuous shellfire impeded the officers in the necessary preparations.

8 men of the 18th Lancashire Fusiliers were killed on the 22nd July, including James Wilde. After the action James was missing, as reported in the Birmingham Daily Post, and his body was never identified. James has no known grave and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme.

Newspaper Cuttings

Birmingham Daily Post 30th August 1916
The following casualties amongst warrant officers, non-commissioned officers, and men are reported under various dates:
LANC. FUS. - Wilde, 16788, Lce-Cpl, J., (Tipton).