Jump to content
Free downloads from TNA ×
The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Search for Prv James A Law

Guest Riwest

Recommended Posts

I was wondering if anyone could help. I'm trying to trace the service history for a family relative Prv James Albert Law (no. 33495) who served in the King's Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment) - 8th Batallion. I know he died in May 1917 in the Arras campaign but am interested to know such info as :-

- when he enlisted

- where he would have served

- the 1917 Arras campaign

Any tips as to sources on info I can research further would be much appreciated.



Link to comment
Share on other sites


The full entry from Soldiers Dies lists him as born Bacup, enlisted Burnley.

The 8th (Service) Battalion, King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regiment formed part of the 76th Brigade in the 3rd Division

The Battle of Arras

Extract from “The King’s Own, The Story of a Royal Regiment, Volume III, 1914-1950,” by Colonel J. M. Cowper.

When 8/King’s Own returned to the line on May 10 it occupied trenches in front of Monchy and was therefore in the sector next to the 1st Battalion, on the other side of the river. Three weeks’ continuous shelling and sniping had reduced it to three hundred and fifty rifles and it was hardly numerically strong enough to hold the front allotted to it. During the previous week when the battalion was theoretically resting, it had been continuously employed digging communication trenches, and the men were worn out by strain and want of sleep. On the first day in the trenches Second-Lieutenant A. W. Holgate, who had been commissioned from the ranks only a short time before, was wounded. It was in the afternoon of the 12th that the battalion was ordered to attack a trench which was to be incorporated in the British front system, and after three minutes’ drum fire the men went over the top at 6 p.m. Their failure to reach their objective was due to a cause as unfortunate as it was unexpected. They were subjected to heavy enfilade machine-gun fire from both flanks and they were also caught in their own machine-gun barrage which, though accurately laid on the enemy trenches, swept in its trajectory the crest of a rise over which the battalion had to pass. Assailed on all sides, the attack launched in two waves on a three-company front had not enough momentum to carry it through. Five officers were wounded as soon as the battalion rose from its trenches and thirty-eight other ranks were killed or missing. When the survivors struggled back under cover of darkness, the battalion numbered only a hundred and sixty-seven.

Try posting a request for someone to do a scan of a trench map for the the Monchy Le Preux area during this period. I'm afraid the account above onl;y places the battalion in trenches "in front of Monchy." I don't have access to the Battalion War Diary but it may give some co-ordinates/trench names. Suggest you try Peter Donnelly at the Regimental Museum at Lancaster (he has a copy of the War Diary). Alternatively the 76th Brigade War Diary (held at the National Archives) may give some more specific locations.

Hope this is useful.


Link to comment
Share on other sites


Thanks so much for the detailed reply. It fits with with date of death as being 12/5/17 on CWGC and I'll follow up further as you suggest. To put it in context, the man in question was my grandmother's brother and I plan a visit early in the New Year to visit the memorial and (if possible) the area of the front he was last in action.

I'd also be interested to know of other engagements in which this batallion served and may well invest in a copy of the book from which you draw the reference.

Thanks again for all the information.

best wishes,


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...