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Dourish, J., Pte., 1914-18 (1950)

Silver War Badge award

James Dourish was born on the 17th February 1893 in Gateshead, son to James and Sarah Ann (nee Grainger) and brother to Elizabeth and John. He was employed as a telephone labourer, and married Sarah Gunn in August 1918. Their son, also called James, was born in 1919.

James enlisted on the 10th November 1914 and served as a Lance Corporal, service number 24/930, in 'C' Company, 24th Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers (1st Tyneside Irish).

He was wounded in July 1916 (nearly all casualties recorded between July and November 1916 are from the 1st July at the Somme) and awarded the Silver War Badge. He was consequently discharged on the 11th April 1917, and is listed as residing at 105, Abbot Street, Gateshead.

He received his 157899, Silver War Badge on the 17th May 1917.

James is mentioned in “TYNESIDE IRISH” written by John Sheen, for his participation in a trench raid.

Following somewhat unsuccessful raids on the 5/6th June 1916 it was decided that further raids should follow. The 24th Battalion raiding party of 25th/26th June included 930 L/Cpl J. Dourish, and he is listed in No. 2 Squad as a Bayonetman.

However, following the first trench raid the enemy were prepared this time. To the right one party were met with rifle and machine gun fire and bombing, to the left the other party entered the German trenches but were again met with enemy fire and a hand-to-hand fight began. They fought their way along the enemy trench, and the covering party headed off an attack and remained in position until the main party had withdrawn. Although it was thought that the enemy had sustained more casualties than the raiders, the ultimate cost and result was disappointing. There was no time for rest, after the raid the men were in preparation for their attack on the 1st July, the first day of the Battle of the Somme".

In the 1939 register James is found living at 67, Burn Street Gateshead. He is a widower, as his wife Sarah died in 1937. James died on the 3rd December 1950 and he is buried in Gateshead East Cemetery.

Research: Jean Atkinson and James Pasby

If you know more about this person, please send the details to janet@newmp.org.uk