James William Hartley
Date of birth: 1885
Date of death: 26.8.1916
Area: Newton Hill
Regiment: King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry
Family information: Husband of Emma Hartley nee Johnson
Service number: 19591
Shortly after the outbreak of war in 1914, James William Hartley enlisted in the Army, joining the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry. On 7th August 1915, after a period of training, Private James William Hartley was posted to France to join the 7th Battalion, KOYLI.
On completion of their training, the 7th (Service) Battalion, King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry had sailed for France on 22nd July 1915. The Battalion landed at Boulogne and assembled with the rest of the 61st Brigade, 20th (Light) Division, before moving to Flanders. The 7th Battalion, along with the 61st Infantry Brigade moved, by march, to the Armentieres area, where they received instruction in trench warfare.
Towards the end of September 1915, the 7th KOYLI went into the line in the Laventie sector, three miles north of Neuve Chapelle. The Battle of Loos started on the 25th September, but the 7th KOYLI only played a small part in the action. The 7th KOYLI remained in Flanders for some time and in February 1916 they were deployed in the northern part of the Ypres Salient. This was a particularly active area and the battalion sustained a number of casualties. In May 1916 the 7th KOYLI was withdrawn to Calais for rest and recuperation, but were suddenly recalled to the trenches in the Ypres Salient.
The Battle of the Somme began on the 1st July 1916, but the 7th KOYLI did not move south from the Ypres sector until 25th July. On 28th July they arrived at Mailly-Maillet and began tours in the front line within the Redan sector.
On the 20th August 1916 the 7th KOYLI entrained at Candas, for Mericourt on the Somme and from there marched to Morlancourt. The 7th KOYLI went into the trenches opposite Ginchy on the 22nd August, during the Guillemont operations. At 19.30 hours on 25th August, when the battalion was being relieved on the front line, the German artillery put down a heavy bombardment just in front of Buff Trench and Battalion HQ. The relief was suspended and not completed until 01.30 hours the following morning. During this four day tour in the line the 7th KOYLI incurred 50 casualties, one of whom was James William Hartley.
Private James William Hartley was killed in action on 26th August 1916, but his body was not recovered from the battlefield. His name is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the missing of the Somme battlefield. The Memorial bears the names of more than 72,000 officers and men of the United Kingdom and South African forces who died on the Somme sector before 20th March 1918 and who have no known grave.
James William Hartley is not included on the memorial plaques at either St Mary Magdalene Church or Parkside Methodist Church at Outwood. However he is remembered on the memorial at St Andrews Church, Wakefield.
James William Hartley was born in 1885, the son of Joshua Hartley and his wife Jane, formerly Stringer, of Newton Hill. His father, Joshua Hartley, a brick maker, died in 1890 at the age of 39 years, leaving a widow and seven children. In 1891 the family was living at 103, Jacobs Well Lane, Eastmoor but later moved to Providence Place, Wakefield.
On 1st January 1901 James William Hartley attested for the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry at Pontefract. At this time he stated he was 17 years old, lived with his mother at Jacobs Well Lane, Wakefield and was employed as a screener at Park Hill Colliery. However, on 17th January 1901, he was discharged by purchase, on the payment of £1.
In 1902 his mother Jane Hartley married Albert Carter, a stoker at the local gas works. Later, in 1905, James William Hartley married Emma Johnson, the daughter of Joe and Sarah Johnson of Wakefield. That same year, their son Cyril was born at Outwood. A second son, Ezra, was born in 1908, his birth being registered at South Kirby. On the 1911 census James William, his wife and two sons are shown living at Gills Square, Newton Hill. At this time James William Hartley was employed as a coal hewer at a local colliery.