James Pykett and his brother Frank were two of four sons of James and Eliza Pykett of Ayston who died in the First World War. Two of their cousins living in the village, Tom and Harry Pykett, were also killed. James was born at Ayston on 29 December 1884, five years before Frank. He was a yardman before the war and enlisted on 1 March 1916, a month after his younger brother. He served with the 9th Battalion Leicestershire Regiment until his death in hospital from wounds on 23 November 1917. He is buried at Aubigny Communal Cemetery Extension, grave III.F.45. In a letter of sympathy to his mother, an army Chaplain wrote: "We can only say that God's will is best, for, had he lived, his life must have been one of great suffering. He was unconscious when I saw him, and the end came quite peacefully. It is indeed a sad time for all at home when they hear that those they love have been called upon to make the great sacrifice." His brother Frank was killed eleven months later. All four of the Pyketts are remembered on the war memorial inside St Mary's church at Ayston.
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