Baxenden Lads: Heys JE

8th March 1916

PTE. 17173 JAMES EDWARD HEYS of the East Lancashire Regiment was killed in action on March 8th 1916 in the area of the Somme in France.

James was born in Haslingden and enlisted there soon after the war began in August 1914. He was aged thirty two and lived at 3 Alliance Street, Baxenden, with his wife Bertha.

James was the first man in his battalion to be killed in action in France. He was a member of an ‘advance party’ sent to France to prepare the way for the rest of the battalion prior to its arrival a few days later.

James’ body is in Foncquevillers Military Cemetery. Foncquevillers is a village in the fertile, undulating country north of Albert between Arras and Amiens. During 1915 and 1916 it was part of the British front line, and the cemetery was started during the earlier fighting before the Battle of the Somme started on July 1st 1916 in the same area. It remained in use by fighting units and Field Ambulances until March 1917 with most burials in 1916. James lies with 625 other British and Australian soldiers. The cemetery itself is in quiet farming country amongst wooded areas.

James’ name is also on Haslingden Roll of Honour in Haslingden Public Hall.