James Gosling, Private 11558, 19th Battalion, Manchester Regiment
Died of wounds 30th July 1916 in the Somme, France, aged 28
James Gosling was born in Taxal near Whaley Bridge in late 1887, the son of Elizabeth Ann and Richard Gosling, a stone mason. In 1891, three-year-old James was living in Rainow Lane, Rainow with his parents and sister Harriet (6). Ten years later the family had moved to Hurdsfield Road, Higher Hurdsfield, and also included Walter (9) and Fanny (4). By 1911 James’ mother had died and his father had a new wife and mother-in-law living with him; James and his siblings were living together down the road in Higher Hurdsfield. James was then employed as a law clerk at a solicitors office.
James enlisted with the Manchester Regiment in Manchester a month after the start of the war, on 8th September 1914. His Army records describe him as 5 feet 4½ inches tall, weighing 118 pounds with a 34 inch chest, fair complexion, blue eyes, and brown hair.
In December 1914 the 19th Manchester Regiment joined with the 16th, 17th and 18th Battalions to form the 90th Infantry Brigade, which was part of the 30th Division. The men were initially stationed in hutments at Heaton Park in north Manchester, but left Manchester’s London Road Station for the journey to Belton Park near Grantham on 24th April 1915.
On 31st May 1915 at the Brunswick Methodist Church, Macclesfield, James married Florence Wright, who lived at Ivy Cottage, Rainow Road, Macclesfield. The couple had no children. A short time later Florence temporarily moved to 37 Alford St, Grantham, no doubt to be closer to James while he was training at Belton Park.
On the 7th September 1915, the battalion left Belton Park for Larkhill Camp, Salisbury, and Florence returned to Macclesfield. At Larkhill, the men were issued with their rifles and machine guns, and completed their musketry training. On 7th November 1915, having completed the training, the Battalion left Southampton on the SS Queen Alexandra, bound for France.
In July the Battalion was in the Guillemont area of Somme, France. Private Gosling was wounded by a gunshot wound in the abdomen, and he died of his wounds on 30th July 1916. His death was reported in the Macclesfield Times on 18 August 1916:
PRIVATE GOSLING KILLED BY AEROPLANE BOMB – Mrs Gosling, Ivy Cottage, Rainow Rd, Higher Hurdsfield, Macclesfield, has been informed that her husband, Private James Gosling, Manchester “Pals” has died of wounds received in France on July 30th. Mrs Gosling has received the following letter from Private R Skelley: “I was a friend of your husband Jim, and I deeply regret to inform you that he died of wounds caused by an aeroplane bomb which dropped just outside the tent where he was working on 30th July. I am only sorry that I was not with him when he died, but he gave your address to the fellow who attended him, asking me to write to you. I understand he had a bad wound in the stomach and died shortly afterwards. We were all so fond of Jim…
The deceased soldier was a native of Rainow and received his education at the Rainow Wesleyan School. He was 28 years of age, and enlisted in September, 1914, being drafted out to the front about nine months ago. Before joining the colours Private Gosling was employed at the head office of the Fine Cotton Spinners’ Association, Manchester.
In Macclesfield, Private James Gosling is commemorated on the Park Green, Town Hall, and St Michael’s Church war memorials. The floral tributes laid when the Macclesfield Park Green War Memorial was unveiled on 21st September 1921 included two with the words “In memory of our dear brother, J. Gosling.” and “In loving memory of Private J. Gosling, from Fanny and Arthur.”
GRO (England & Wales) Index: Births, Marriages, Deaths
Census (England & Wales): 1891, 1901, 1911
WW1 British Army Service Records 1914-1920
WWI British Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects
WWI British Army Medal Rolls Index Cards
Commonwealth War Graves Commission website
The 19th Manchester Regiment website
Macclesfield Times: 18 August 1916, 23 September 1921 (photo supplement)