James Allan Wetton, Sapper 1765, 2/3rd North Midland Field Coy, Royal Engineers
Died of pneumonia 17th April 1916 in Macclesfield Infirmary, aged 22
James Wetton was baptised on 12th July 1893 at St John’s Church, Bollington, the third son of Martha Elizabeth (nee Broster) and William Wetton, a stone merchant; the Wetton family were large quarry owners. In 1901, seven year old James was living in Grimshaw Lane with his parents and siblings Lilla (12), Percy (11), William Stanley (10), Annie (5) and Joseph Victor (3).
James was educated at Macclesfield Grammar School. He did not follow into the family business but instead became an architect and surveyor, employed by Stone Urban District Council in Staffordshire.
By 1911, William Wetton was a ‘managing director stone quarries’ and had another son, Herbert Gordon, aged 6. James was not at the family home on census night.
James had just completed his apprenticeship as an architect and surveyor when he enlisted into the army at Hanley in Staffordshire. Whilst at home on leave from the army he became ill: the conditioned worsened and he died of pneumonia in Macclesfield Infirmary, after serving for only seven months with the Royal Engineers.
His death was reported in the Macclesfield Times of 21st April 1916:
BOLLINGTON SOLDIER’S DEATH – ALLEGED PREMATURE DISCHARGE FROM MILITARY HOSPITAL – MILITARY FUNERAL ON SATURDAY
We regret to state that Sapper James Allan Wetton, Royal Engineers, son of Mr WIlliam Wetton, stone merchant, Grimshaw Lane, Bollington, died from lobar pneumonia in the Macclesfield General Infirmary in the early hours of Monday morning. Sapper Wetton first became ill while on two days leave from his regiment, which was stationed at Sheffield, on April 1st. Dr Main was called in and stated that he was not fit to rejoin his regiment. This was communicated to the army authorities, who sent a telegram stating that if Sapper Wetton was not fit to come they would send an ambulance for him. This they did on the Wednesday and conveyed him to Princess Street Hospital, Manchester, in an open van. A week later he was discharged from hospital as better. Sapper Wetton returned home and, becoming ill, went to bed. Dr Main was again summoned, and said that Sapper Wetton was not fit to have been discharged from hospital. Three days later Dr Marshall, of Macclesfield, was called in, and he and Dr Main decided that Sapper Wetton was suffering from pneumonia and advised his removal to the Macclesfield General Infirmary. The young man was admitted to that institution on the 10th inst. and died as stated. We understand that enquiries are being made as to the reason for Sapper Wetton’s discharge from Princess Street Hospital…
The deceased was 22 years of age and received his education at the Macclesfield Grammar School. He obtained the London Chamber of Commerce certificate and was a member of the School football team. He enlisted seven months ago and had been with his regiment at Sheffield. Prior to joining the Army he was assistant surveyor to the Stone Urban District Council. He attended the Bollington Parish Church and Holy Trinity, Kerridge… He has a brother in the Army.
The funeral will take place at Rainow on Saturday with full military honours. The remains are to be interred in the family vault.
Sapper James Wetton is buried in the family grave marked by an obelisk-shaped memorial, grave ref. (old part) C. 10 & 11 in Rainow Holy Trinity Churchyard. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission holds casualty details for Sapper James Wetton, and he is listed on the Imperial War Museum’s Lives of the First World War website.
Brother of Percy Broster Wetton, who served as Private 84769 with the RAMC and survived the war.