James Blackledge

Information about birth

Date of birth:
Place of birth:
Wigan, Lancashire, England, United Kingdom

General information


Army information

England, United Kingdom
British Expeditionary Force
Service number:
Enlistment place:
Wigan, Lancashire, England, United Kingdom
 —  Royal Field Artillery, "C" Bty. 121st Bde.  (Last known unit)

Information about death

Date of death:
Place of death:
Dozinghem Casualty Clearing Station, Westvleteren, Belgium
Cause of death:
Died of wounds (D.O.W.)


Dozinghem Military Cemetery
Plot: III
Row: E
Grave: 11

Distinctions and medals 3

1914-15 Star
Medal — 12/08/1919
British War Medal
Medal — 14/01/1920
Victory Medal
Medal — 14/01/1920

Points of interest 3

#1 Place of birth
#2 Enlistment place
#3 Place of death (approximate)

My story

James Blackledge was born in 1897. He was the youngest child of Ann and Thomas Blackledge of Wigan, Lancashire. According to the 1911 Census, James worked as a spinner. Barley of age he enlisted in 1915 in his hometown of Wigan. By the time of the Battle of Passchendaele, James served as a driver with the Royal Field Artillery "C" Battery, of the 121st Brigade Royal Field Artillery, part of the Divisional Artillery of the 38th (Welsh) Division.

On 31 July 1917 the opening day of the offensive the 121st Brigade RFA supported the attack of the Welsh Division on the village of Pilkem. It fired among other on a German positions at Cactus Avenue, Cactus Reserve, Caddie Reserve and Caesar Reserve. The attack was a success and the Infantry was able to reach the Steenbeek stream at Langemark. According to the War Diary of the 38th (Welsh) Division the pioneers of the 19th Welsh Regiment made a track for field guns to the neighbourhood of Boche House, a farm on the outskirts of Pilkem village. The track was later extended to Iron Cross. The Batteries were well positioned at Boche house. They were out of sight from German observers, as they were shielded by the Pilkem Ridge. But the German artillery still managed to locate the guns. On 2 August 1917 Batteries below Pilkem Ridge were shelled and on 4 August 1917 the German artillery targeted the wider region of Pilkem village.

Driver James Blackledge was mortally wounded during the first days of August 1917. Possibly due to shellfire near Boche House. The 20-year old succumbed to his wounds on 12 August 1917 at the Dozinghem Casualty Clearing Station near the village of Westvleteren. He was buried on the adjacent Dozinghem Military Cemetery.

Files 1

Sources 6

"Passchendaele. The Day-by-Day Account", McCarthy C., London, Uniform, 2018, pg. 31-33.
Sources used
Further reference
Sources used
The Long, Long Trail
Sources used
War Diary 121st Brigade RFA
Further reference
War Diary HQ 38th (Welsh) Division
Further reference