James Hircock

View James on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website
Service number:
The King's (Liverpool Regiment)
Date of birth:
13 April 1891
Date of death:
31 July 1917
Age at Death:

Known information

James Hircock was one of eight men from Ayston to die in the First World War. The village had a population of just 75 in 1911 so the impact on the community of so many men being killed must have been huge. James was born on 13 April 1891 the son of John Hircock and his wife. He went to Liverpool where he was a cabinet maker by the time he joined up in February 1915, enlisting in the 17th Battalion The King's (Liverpool Regiment). James went out to the Western Front in March the following year and at one point he was wounded. On 30 July 1917, the eve of the first day of the Third Battle of Ypres (Passchendaele), James' battalion assembled on the south side of Zillebeke lake ready to support the main assault. The battalion war diary records at 7.50am: "Battalion moved forward in artillery formation...with orders to halt at Stirling Castle." But there was confusion about where the battalion in front of the King's had got to and so the Commanding Officer decided to push on. "The information as to the leading troops was erroneous and in crossing the crest of the Stirling Castle Ridge, it was discovered that no British troops were in front of this Battalion...the Battalion pushed forward until the left Company rested on Clapham Junction. There the advance was stopped. The Battalion dug itself in and held on to the ground gained in spite of very severe shelling from Field Guns and 5.9" Howitzers." The diary records two Officers and 35 Other Ranks were killed in the day's operations. James would have been one of these and he was presumably buried on the battlefield. The manager of the factory where he worked before the war sent his parents a photograph of a memorial placed in the front office to his memory, as "a token of the respect and esteem in which he was held by the Directors and his fellow workmen." James now has no known grave and is remembered on Panel 6 on the Menin Gate at Ypres, as well as on Ayston's war memorial inside the church.

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  • Ayston Church
  • Ayston interior
  • Ayston Memorial
  • Menin Gate
  • Panel 6 Kings Liverpool Regt
  • J Hircock

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Rutland and The Battle of the Somme

More than 90 Rutland soldiers died in the Battle of the Somme which lasted from 1 July 1916 until the middle of November. Today they lie in cemeteries across the old battlefield in northern France or are remembered among the 72,000 names on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme. By using our interactive map, you can find out what happened to them.

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