James Colclough, Private 37114, 1/4th Battalion, Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry
Killed in action 9th April 1918 in Palestine, aged 19
James Colclough was born in 1898 and baptised at St Paul’s Church on 9th November, the son of Annie and Moses Colclough, a labourer of 124 Black Road, Macclesfield. James’ younger sister Alice was born the following year.
In 1911, at the age of 12, James was living with his family at Court 1, 9 Fountain Street, Macclesfield and working part-time as an embroiderer. He then had another sister, Phyllis, who was born in 1906.
James was educated at St Paul’s School and attended St Peter’s Church and the Young Men’s Bible Class; he was also a keen member of the Parish Church football team. Prior to his enlistment, James was employed at Adshead and Geeson’s Dyehouse, off Green Street.
James enlisted at Macclesfield on 16 February 1917 and after completing his initial training he was drafted out to Egypt with the Egyptian Expeditionary Force, leaving England on 28 November 1917.
James was killed in action on 9 April 1918, aged 19 years. His death was reported in the Macclesfield Times on 3 May 1918:
News has reached Mr and Mrs Colclough, Fountain Street, Macclesfield, that their son, Pte James Colclough, Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry, was killed in Egypt on April 9th. Nineteen years of age, he was educated at St Paul’s School, and was a member of St Peter’s Church and the Young Men’s Bible Class. Pte Colclough was formerly employed at Messrs Adshead and Geeson’s dyeworks, Green Street, where there were originally twelve employees. Eleven have joined the colours, in addition to one of the principals, Lieut E E Adshead, and Pte Colclough was the last to enlist and the first to fall. Three of the others have been wounded and one discharged. Pte Colclough entered the Army on February 16th, 1917, and went to Egypt on November 28th. He was a footballer of considerable promise, and for several seasons played with the Park Lane and Parish Church teams.
A report of the memorial service held at St Peter’s Church, Macclesfield, was printed in the Macclesfield Times the following week:
A memorial service was held at St Peter’s Church on Sunday evening last, attended by the friends and relatives of Pte James Colclough… His home is at 6 Fountain St, Buxton Rd. The vicar described him as a splendid Christian character, who was held in high esteem… Pte Colclough was a regular attender of the morning and evening services at St Peter’s Church; he was a member of the Men’s Bible Class, and the vicar was glad that he should have been associated with the St Peter’s Parish. During the service Pte Colclough’s favourite hymn, “Jesu, lover of my soul,” was sung.
Private James Colclough is buried in Grave Ref. T.57 at Ramleh War Cemetery, Israel. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission holds casualty details for Private James Colclough, and he is listed on the Imperial War Museum’s Lives of the First World War website.
In Macclesfield, Private James Colclough is commemorated on the Park Green, Town Hall, St Michael’s Church and St Peter’s Church war memorials, and on the Macclesfield Ancient Order of Foresters Roll of Honour.
The floral tributes laid when the Macclesfield Park Green war memorial was unveiled on 21 September 1921 included one with the words “In memory of James Colclough, from his workmates and employers, Adshead and Geeson.”
Cheshire Parish Baptism Registers: (Find My Past) St Paul’s Church, Macclesfield
Census (England & Wales): 1911
Commonwealth War Graves Commission website
Lives of the First World War website
Macclesfield Times: 3 and 10 May 1918, 23 September 1921 (photo supplement)
Macclesfield Courier: 24 September 1921