1914 - 2023

The Marston Lads

Click here to edit subtitle


James Poole

Killed in Action
29th October 1917

Aged 19

The 1st & 6th Battalion
The Cheshire Regiment

Alliance Salt Works Cottages Marston
James Poole was born in Marston in 1898 to William and Isabella Poole. Isabella Poole passed away on the 11th June 1913 and records show the deaths of twins born the same year. This suggests her death was due to childbirth, extremely common during this period.

The Alliance Cottages were located where the Cafe of the Lion Salt Works Museum currently is.

William was one of 12 children born to the marriage and noted in the 1911 census that 2 children had died. Given the twins were not born until two years later, indicates two further children would die at the point of birth.

The family lived within the Alliance Salt Works in Marston in a cottage. James Poole was an apprentice boilermaker at nearby Parks Steelworks before enlisting for the army and joining the First World War. The family had already lost son and brother Walter Poole to the war. Walter had died on the 14th November 1916 during training and is buried in Marston cemetery, one of the two Commonwealth War Graves in the cemetery.
James Poole was living with his sister Jessie at Navigation Road, Northwich when James attested at Northwich. He was also engaged to be married to Lizzie Proudlove.

James enlisted with The Cheshire Regiment on the 3rd June 1916 but kept in reserve. This was common, and was in the case of James, to be allowed to remain at home during periods of the reserve. This is done for a number of reasons; Firstly it saves the Government costs rather than keeping a soldier in barracks, and the other reason is it allowed James to continue his apprenticeship as a boilermaker.

James was finally posted one year later on the 11th June 1917, arriving in France around the 17th June 1917.

Around the 10th October 1917, James arrived in Belgium and the Battle of Passchendaele, and what became known as the 3rd Battle of Ypres.

Information provided by Barry Poole, a relative of James, and his research with the Cheshire Regiment, strongly supports James was on or close to the Gheluvelt area, as noted below.

The Battalion whilst in the line worked manfully to improve the conditions. In some cases, the line was nothing but a number of isolated posts. These they linked up, and at Gheluvelt the Battalion dug a communication trench as protection from snipers. At Gheluvelt battle patrols sent out by B and C Companies suffered rather heavy casualties on October 29th, six being killed and nine wounded. Whilst out of the line working parties were provided, including ammunition carrying for the artillery.

Little doubt James would have caught sight of the Gheluvelt Chateau.


On the 29th October 1917, James's Battalion was in the town of Cheluvelt and the Battalion dug a communication trench as a protection from snipers. At Gheluvelt battle patrols sent out by B and C Companies suffered rather heavy casualties on October 29th, six being killed and nine wounded. Whilst out of the line working parties were provided, included ammunition carrying for the artillery., James Poole was killed during an artillery bombardment, aged just 19 years. A bright future should have been waiting for James; he was training to be a boilermaker and engaged to be married.

A newspaper clipping from the time included a statement from a soldier who wrote a letter to James fiancee to say he was with him when the shell exploded. James was killed instantly he said and due to a severe head wound, he had also lost a leg. Not the sort of news James fiancee would of wanted to read.

Due to the extreme conditions in the area, James Poole's body was never recovered for burial. He is remembered with honour at the Tyne Cot Cemetery, Belgium.

James would be the 2nd Marston Lad to lose his life this same week after Thomas Barton was killed on the 22nd October. Thomas was also killed in the same battle. For the Poole family, they had now lost two sons to the war.

James Poole had become the 19th Marston Lad to be killed.

James Poole's Original Medals
(In the safe keeping of Mark Relf)

The Northwich Guardian Friday 16th November 1917.

Roll of Honour.
POOLE – In loving memory of our dear brothers, Private Walter Poole, who died in Woolwich
Hospital, November 1th 1916, also Private James Poole, killed in action 29th of October, 1917.
O God! How strange and mysterious are Thy ways,
To take our dear brothers in the best of their days,
From their loving sisters *Annie and Jessie, Navigation Road.

*For Annie, in March the following year, she would also lose her husband John Matthews

The Northwich Guardian Friday 25th October 1918

In loving memory of Private James Poole, killed in action October 28th 1917,
O Father, hold him in Thy arms,
And ever let him be
A messenger of love between
My broken heart and Thee.
Always remembered by his Fiancee Lizzie, Witton Street.
Tyne Cot Cemetery Belgium
Tony Hayes