Hobson, James

Hull Pals Memorial Post. PRIVATE JAMES HOBSON 12/999. Born in 1892, James was the third of four children to ‘Hetty’ Naomi Hobson of 11 Buckingham Street, Holderness Road, Hull. Hetty’s life was complicated for the times; James’ elder sister Gladys was born in the USA and they landed in Hull via a spell living in Lancashire. There’s no Census record of the children’s father.
James was a Platelayer by trade but downed tools to enlist at City Hall on October 6th 1914 joining the 12th Battalion East Yorkshire Regiment, The Sportsmen, 3rd Hull Pals. One of The Originals he served first in Egypt where he was sentenced to 14 days Field Punishment No.1 for being ‘Drunk on camp’ at Port Said on 18th January 1916. They landed in France early in March 1916 and his war record shows an interesting incident which occurred in the pitch black of night on 16th August. James was: “….in the listening post on duty with 12/418 Pte Gardiner when they thought they heard someone in the wire. They signalled the LGD in Bay 60 to fire. Thinking the noise still continued they came back to Bay 60. In getting into the Bay (he) caught his arm on the bayonet of a rifle leaning against the parapet.”
Worth noting here that a Listening Post is little more than a hole dug somewhere out in No Man’s Land where sentries would spend all night awake in abject terror listening for signs of the enemy creeping about, either on a raiding party or repairing damage to their own barbed wire. It was not the sort of place many would relish the prospect of spending any time. The conclusion of the officers was that the incident: “Was a pure accident, but the man must have been careless in getting over the parapet.”
James was evacuated to 95th Field Ambulance and spent two weeks out of the line returning to the trenches later that month. James was killed in action at Beaumont Hamel on the Somme during the last attack of that ill-fated campaign on 13th November 1916. His body was never recovered and his name is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial. He was 24 years old.

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Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France