Oldham Historical Research Group


WW1 serviceman

Driver James Barlow, 74817 Royal Field Artillery

01-08-1892 to 30-07-1966

(Smaller images are links to larger ones)

When the war started Oldham was the most productive cotton spinning town in the world. It's not surprising then, that like many other young men, James Barlow was a spinner, and like many other spinners he enlisted with the British Army. Below is a copy of his Attestation record showing that at the age of 22years 5months, James enlisted at Royton, Lancashire on 7th January 1915. He was assigned Regiment No. 74717 as a Driver in the 125 Battery 29th Brigade of the Royal Field Artillery.

On James' Medical Record he was described as single with a height of 5'6 ½" weight 138lbs, and fully expanded chest of 36". Despite being classed as A1 James had to spend some time in hospital on more than one occasion for the treatment of boils. As there were no antibiotics in those days he must have been in great pain, and in danger of further infection.

James was in France and Belgium from 29.07.1915 to 20.01.1919 like many others he was in such places as Le Havre, Rouen, Honfleur and Calais as a Driver with the rank of Bombadier.

attestation page

Attestation page

On the left is a copy of the record confirming that during his service James received the Military Medal for Bravery in the Field.

Royal Artillery Military Medal Awards
First Name(s): J
Last Name: Barlow
Rank: Driver
Service: Royal Field Artillery
Unit: 125 Battery 29 Brigade RFA
Date of Gazette: 13.03.1919
Year of Gazette: 1919
Award: Military Medal
Domicile: Royton

from: 'London Gazette'

The family have not been able to establish for what act of bravery this medal was for, nor has the medal ever been found. Perhaps it was sold as it has been said that families did sell medals when times were hard after the war.

On the left is James on his horse. The soldiers were very caring about their horses and James' son recalls him saying "the poor horses, I felt sorry for the poor horses."

When James was demobbed he received the usual medals for someone active in the war. Below is a copy of his medal card and a picture of the medals.

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Text & Pictures Contributed by : Muriel Barlow

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