HUGHES James Edward 1884 – 1915


G/14560 Serjeant James Edward Hughes, 7th Battalion, The East Yorkshire Regiment died of wounds, 15 November 1915, aged 31.  He is buried at Lijssenhoek Military Cemetery, Belgium[1] and commemorated on the Escomb War Memorial.

Family Details

James Edward Hughes was born in 1884 [2]at Tottenham near Coundon, the son of Joseph and Mary Hughes.  There were 9 children:[3]

  • Caroline bc.1878 at Tottenham
  • Margaret bc.1883 at Tottenham
  • James Edward born 1884 at Tottenham
  • Charlotte bc.1887 at Tottenham
  • Ethel bc.1889 at Tottenham
  • May bc.1892 at Evenwood
  • Ivy bc.1894 at Etherley
  • Harold bc. 1896 at Etherley
  • Percy Wilson bc. 1900 at Etherley

In 1891, the Hughes family lived at Toft Hill where 33 years old Thomas worked as a coal miner.[4]  In 1901, the family lived at Escomb village where Thomas was employed as a, “Colliery deputy overman”, 16 years old James worked as a, “Colliery Sanding Minder” (?) and 14 years old Charlotte was an Elementary School Pupil Teacher.[5]  By 1911, Mary was a 50 years old widow and together with her daughter 19 years old May ran the Escomb Post Office.  Also living there was 22 years old Ethel, 15 years old Harold and 11 years old Percy.[6]

Military Details [7]

2 November 1914, aged 30, James Edward Hughes enlisted at Bishop Auckland into the East Yorkshire Regiment, 9th (Reserve) Battalion and was given the service number 14560.  He was examined 30 October 1914 at Bishop Auckland and was considered fit for the Army.  He stood 5’9½” tall, weighed 168 lbs., was of good physical development and worked as a miner.[8]   He had a fresh complexion, grey eyes and brown hair.  He was C of E.[9]  His service details record that:

  • 7 January 1915, he was appointed Lance Corporal
  • 2 June 1915, he was appointed Corporal
  • 2 August 1915: Corporal J.E. Hughes landed in France.  He was posted to the 7th Battalion and appointed acting corporal
  • 22 October 1915, he was promoted to Sergeant

The 7th (Service) Battalion, the East Yorkshire Regiment was formed at Beverley 16 September 1914 as part of K2 (Kitchener’s New Army) and came under the orders of the 50th Brigade, 17th (Northern) Division.  By November 1915, units in the 50th Brigade were:[10]

  • 10th Bn., the West Yorkshire Regiment
  • 7th Bn., the East Yorkshire Regiment (7/EYR)
  • 7th Bn., the Yorkshire Regiment
  • 6th Bn., the Dorsetshire Regiment joined March 1915

Advance parties from the 14th Division left for France 6 July 1915.  Corporal J.E. Hughes landed in France 2 August 1915 and was immediately posted to the 7th battalion, having trained with the 9th (Reserve) Battalion in the UK.  The 14th Division spent its initial period of trench familiarisation and then holding the front line in the southern area of the Ypres Salient.[11]   The War Diary [12] reports that the battalion’s first trench duty took place 2 August at La Clytte and the first fatality was Sergeant F. Titterton.  There is no summary of monthly casualties but later research records that between 4 August and 15 November 1915, 7/EYR lost 56 Other Ranks killed in action or died of wounds, 13 in August, 17 in September, 13 in October and 13 up to 15 November when Sergeant J.E. Hughes died of wounds.[13] The battalion was in and out of the line on a regular basis and subjected to enemy shelling of positions.  Consequently, much work concentrated on repairing trenches and providing fatigue parties for the Royal Engineers.   During late October and November, the Battalion HQ was at the Ramparts, Ypres.  The weather was inclement and the wet conditions necessitated the use of gum boots, 50 pairs arriving 1 October and another 200 the following day.  An entry 4 November states:

“Men already looking fit again.  They pick up wonderfully quickly.  Indeed, they are never really “down”.  Their spirits being always excellent but bad trenches have meant practically no sleep & this wears men out.”

The following day, 1000 tubes of “Thermopede” arrived – it was a French preparation for the prevention of frost bite.  The battalion had been selected to try it out.

6 November, a working party of 4 officers and 200 men were provided for RE for work north west corner of Zillebeke Lake.

From 9.30pm, 7 November to 12.15am, 12 November, 7/EYR was back in the trenches where they again carried out repair work due to enemy shelling.  No sniping activity was reported.  During the night of the 9th, there was heavy enemy shelling. Two battalion bombers went missing.  A German attack was expected to take place on the 11th therefore a party of bombers consisting of 99 officers and men was brought in, however the attack did not materialise.  The War Diary reported:

“11.XI.15: On the alert all day – everything ready.  All arrangements most satisfactory.  Everyone disappointed the Germans did not attack, the preparations had been so thorough & with 100 extra Bombers the enemy would have had a very complete reception.  Our artillery shelled enemy supports intermittently all day and one shell from the enemy was replied to by a shower from our batteries.  Shells are unlimited & we can call for all the retaliation we wish.”    

7/EYR retired to billets.  The War Diary is signed off the 23 November and the battalion had not gone back into the front line.  There is no mention of any casualties.  However, later research records that between 7 and 15 November 1915, 7/EYR lost 12 other ranks: [14]

  • 7 November: 11952 Private H. Burgan killed in action
  • 9 November: 12576 Private R.F. Adams, killed in action
  • 11 November: 11919 Private T. Surgey, 11965 Private C.W. Turner and 12025 Private G.H. Turner killed in action    
  • 12 November: 13255 Private J. Beardmore, 11622 Lance Corporal G. Booker, 13256 Private J.H. Brown, 10971 Private W. Denman, 11130 Private G. Don killed in action
  • 13 November: 3/7064 Sergeant A. Robson died of wounds
  • 15 November: 14560 Sergeant J.E. Hughes died of wounds

Clearly, the above men died as a result of some form of enemy action, most likely the indiscriminate shelling which occurred throughout this tour of the front line.   Sergeant J.E. Hughes’ service record shows that 11 November 1915, he was wounded and treated at 51st Field Ambulance, “Admitted BW Head”.  This is short hand for bullet wound to the head but possibly his wound was sustained by shrapnel from shelling since there is no report of sniping activity in the War Diary.  The following day, 12 November 1915, he was transferred to 10 Casualty Clearing Station and 15 November 1915, Sergeant James E. Hughes died of wounds.[15] This CCS was located at Remy Siding near Lijssenthoek, west of Poperinghe and Ypres. [16]

Sergeant J.E. Hughes served a total of 1 year 14 days, 273 days at home and 106 days in France.[17]

Medals and Awards

Sergeant J.E. Hughes was awarded the 1914-15 Star, the Victory and British War medals.[18]

Medal Roll card index


Sergeant J.E. Hughes was buried at grave reference IV.B.15A, Lijssenhoek Military Cemetery, Belgium.

Pension and Effects

Sergeant J.E. Hughes’ mother Mary received his effects[20] and pension.[21]



G/14560 Serjeant James Edward Hughes, 7th Battalion, The East Yorkshire Regiment died of wounds, 15 November 1915, aged 31.  He is buried at Lijssenhoek Military Cemetery, Poperinghe, Belgium.  James was born at Tottenham, Coundon and lived at Toft Hill and Escomb where his mother and sister ran the Post Office.  He worked as a miner. James enlisted in November 1914 and entered France in August 1915 serving on the front known as the Ypres Salient where he was promoted to Sergeant.  He died on wounds at No. 10 Casualty Clearing Station, Remy Sidings, Lijssenthoek, Belgium.


[1] Commonwealth War Graves Commission

[2] England & Wales Birth Index 1837-1915 Vol.10a p.219 Auckland 1884 Q3

[3] 1891, 1901 & 1911 census Note: the first born name is undecipherable.

[4] 1891 census

[5] 1901 census

[6] 1911 census

[7] Army Form B.2065, Statement of the Services and Army Form and B.103 Casualty Form – Active Service

[8] Army Form B.178 Medical History

[9] Description on Enlistment



[12] 7th Battalion, The East Yorkshire Regiment War Diary August to December 1915 National Archives reference WO-95-2002-1

[13] Officers Died in the Great War and Soldiers Died in the Great War

[14] SDGW

[15] Army Form B.103 Casualty Form – Active Service


[17] Military History Sheet

[18] Medal Roll card index and Rolls dated 3 October 1919 & 14 August 1920

[19] CWGC

[20] UK Army Register of Soldiers’ Effects 1901-1929 Record No.231052

[21] Dependant’s Pension card index