James Read(e), Private 290640, 1st Bn. Cheshire Regiment
Killed in action 23rd October 1918 in France, aged 30
James Read was born in Macclesfield in 1888, the son of Mary (nee Woodward, a silk winder) and John Read, a brickyard labourer. The family name seemed to be spelled in several ways over the years: Reed, Reede, Read and Reade.
In 1891, two-year-old James was living at 1 Calamine Place with his parents and siblings Hannah Woodward (12), Matthew (9) and Samuel (6). By 1901 the family had moved to 6 Barber St and included three more children: Frances (9), Mary (7) and Bertha (2).
James married Charlotte Mottershead in 1909 at St Peter’s Church and the couple set up home with Charlotte’s parents at 70 Gunco Lane. Their son James was born later that year and baptised at St Peter’s Church. By the time their second son, Samuel, was baptised at St Peter’s church on 7 November 1911, they had moved to 1 Gunco Lane. A daughter, Ivy, was baptised at St Peter’s on 7 October 1913 but sadly died when just a few weeks old. Another daughter, Winifred, was born in April 1918 while James was away fighting in the war, and he never met her.
James joined the 1st battalion of the Cheshire Regiment in Macclesfield; it was part of 15th Brigade in the 5th Division and served on the Western Front in France and Flanders.
On 15 November 1918, the Macclesfield Times reported that James had been killed in action:
PTE JAMES READE, Ches Regt, whose wife and three children reside in Gunco Lane, Macclesfield, was killed in France on October 23rd. He enlisted shortly after the outbreak of war. Educated at St Peter’s School, he was formerly employed as a bricksetter.
Brother of Samuel Reade, who served as Private 291068 with the 2nd Cheshire Regiment and survived the war.
Private James Reade is buried in Romeries Communal Cemetery Extension, France, grave ref. IV. C. 16. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission holds casualty details for Private James Reade, and he is listed on the Imperial War Museum’s Lives of the First World War website.
In Macclesfield, Private James Reade is commemorated on the Park Green, Town Hall, and St Peter’s Church war memorials. The floral tributes laid when the Macclesfield Park Green War Memorial was unveiled on 21 September 1921 included one with the words “In loving memory of my dear husband, James Reade, from wife, children, mother, sisters, and brothers.”
GRO (England & Wales) Index: Births
Cheshire Parish Baptism Registers (Find My Past): St Peter’s Church, Macclesfield
Cheshire Parish Marriage Registers (Find My Past): St Peter’s Church, Macclesfield
Census (England & Wales): 1891, 1901, 1911
Commonwealth War Graves Commission website
Lives of the First World War website
Macclesfield Times: 15 November 1918
Macclesfield Courier: 24 September 1921