SKELTON - IN - CLEVELAND
"WE WILL REMEMBER THEM"
25020 Private JAMES EDWARD HART.
13th Battalion, Durham Light Infantry.
Killed in action, aged about 20, on the 17th September 1916.
Born at Kirkleatham, N Yorks and enlisted at Barnard Castle.
Son of James and Martha Hart of 5 Primrose Hill, Skinningrove, N Yorks.
The Thiepval Memorial.
Private James E Hart.
1901. James Edward Hart, aged 5, is living at 120 Zetland Row, Skinningrove, N Yorks. He was born at Kirkleatham, N Yorks.
His father, James, aged 38, is an Ironstone Miner. He was also born in Kirkleatham.
His mother, Martha H, aged 35, was born in Middlesbrough, N Yorks. By the time of the 1911 census she had 9 children and all are living.
He has 3 brothers, George, age 14, a horse-driver in the Mines, born Liverton; Arthur, 10 and John, age 2.
And 3 sisters, Ethel, 12, Laura, 8 and Ada age 6.
1911. He is now listed as just Edward, aged 15, and living at 5 Primrose Hill, Skinningrove, N Yorks. Not yet working.
He sent the above photograph to this address.
Laura is married to Thomas Naughton, age 30, who is living with them.
Ada is a General Servant and there are two additions to the family - Florence, 9 and Hilda 7.
It is not known why James Edward Hart is commemorated on the Skelton War Memorial.
The 13th (Service) Battalion of the Durham Light Infantry were formed at Newcastle in September 1914.
They were attached to the 68th Brigade of the 23rd Division.
James' Medal Card shows that he was an early Volunteer for service in the War and joined his Battalion in France on the 24th September 1915.
In the winter of 1915/16 the 13th DLI were defending the trenches near Armentieres and in the Spring of 1916 were ordered to the sector North of Arras near Vimy ridge, when there was an offensive by the Germans.
In July they were ordered South and took part in the opening Battles of the Somme, Albert, Bazentin Ridge and Posieres.
Unless James Hart was wounded out at some time he was involved in all of this.
At the time of his death the Division were fighting in the Battle of Flers Courcelettes, which was a further stage in the continuing Battle of the Somme which started on July 1st 1916 and went on into the Winter.
The massive bombardment at the end of June 1916 and the July advance continued with a series of offensives into the winter of that year.
The advance stalled for some weeks at the line shown on the map for 15th September.
The next offensive, the Battle of Flers-Courcelette, commenced on the 14th September and lasted until it was called off on the 22nd of that month.
Battalions were ordered to charge the German trenches and a great many were killed and wounded.
The Battle was notable for the introduction of tanks, 49 in all, by the British.
Only 15 made it to No Mans Land, but they were considered to have had a devastating effect on German morale.
The British forces made initial gains of some 2 kilometres within the first three days, something of an achievement at the time, and particularly during the Battle of the Somme.
Led by tanks the villages of Martinpuich, Flers and Courcelette fell to the Allies, as did the much sought-after High Wood.
James was killed on the third day of this attack.
The Thiepval Memorial commemorates more than 72,000 missing men of the United Kingdom and South African forces who died on the Somme
battlefields before 20th March 1918 and have no known grave.