Private 15/1559 1st Leeds Pals, and later 026646 AOC

1882: James Earnshaw was born in Bramley, the eldest child of Thompson and Kate Earnshaw, Kate being a British subject from Canada. He had three siblings, Ann, John and Annie Elizabeth, and they lived initially in Harrison’s Yard, Bramley, before moving to Amen Corner, Hyde Park. (Find My Past 2015)

1901: Thompson was a boot maker and when James left school he followed his father into the leather trade, working at a tannery.

1902: His father died in October, and his mother two months later. James left the tannery, but whether as a result of his parents’ deaths is not known. He went to work for Leeds City Council as a tramway conductor, and also moved to 11 Carter Road, New Wortley. There he met the daughter of his landlord, Edith Jane Hardcastle, and in December 1905 they were married. They went to live at 24 Bright Street, New Wortley, but sadly Edith died in March of 1908, of TB.

1911: James was now living with his cousins the Firths, at 45 Morris Lane, Kirkstall, while Ann was married to William Hutchinson, and John and Annie were living with them. James continued to work on the trams, but now as a driver. He had met Eva Rowley, and they were married in December 1912. (Leeds Pals 2015)(Find My Past 2015)

1914: When war was declared they were living at 22 Station Parade, Kirkstall, with their son Charles, who had been born in June the previous year.

1915: James did not volunteer until June of this year, possibly reluctant to leave his wife and young son. He went for training at Colsterdale, and then with the battalion to Egypt.

1916: In the New Year they were all sent to France, to prepare for the Battle of the Somme, which James survived. But later in the war his health began to deteriorate, and he was transferred to the AOC as a train driver, with a new regimental number.

1919: On 8th February he was transferred to Class Z, and he was discharged as medically unfit and given a small pension. (Find My Past 2015)(Leeds Pals 2015)

He was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. (Ancestry 2015)

Researcher: Peter Taylor

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