Private James Friday

Image © Royston Williamson 2015
Image © Royston Williamson 2015
James Friday Jnr - © ancestry.co.uk
James Friday Jnr – © ancestry.co.uk

Thank you to Lenka Cathersides for this research

Birth Registration 1894 - © Ancestry.co.uk
Birth Registration 1894 – © Ancestry.co.uk

James Friday was born on the 7th of February 1894 in Dorking Surrey and was baptized on the 1st of April 1894 in St Martin’s church in Dorking Surrey. At the time of the baptism the family lived at Hamstead Lane in Dorking Surrey and James’ father worked as a shepherd.

James’ father was called also James Friday and was born in the 2nd quarter of 1866 in Dorking Surrey. James’ snr parents and James’ jnr grandparents were called George (born about 1826 in Dorking Surrey) and Anna (born about 1827 in Dorking Surrey) Friday. James senior came from a family of woodmen and agricultural labourers.

James’ mother was called Emma Friday nee Capon and was born in the 4th quarter of 1856 in Dorking or Capel Surrey. Emma died in the 4th quarter of 1899 in Dorking Surrey at the age of 43. Emma’s parents and James jnr’s grandparents were called John and Sarah Caponi and were both born about 1820. John was born at Warnham Surrey and Sarah at Pedham Surrey.

James snr and Emma married in the 4th quarter of 1888 in Dorking Surrey. Emma was 10 years older than her husband James.

James jnr had six siblings:

Emily Friday - Ancestry.co.uk
Emily Friday – © Ancestry.co.uk

Emily Friday born on the 22nd of August 1889 in Dorking Surrey and baptized on the 13th of October 1889 at St Martin’s church in Dorking Surrey. At the time of the baptism the family lived at Hamstead Lane in Dorking and James snr worked as a cowman.

Mabel Friday - © Ancestry.co.uk
Mabel Friday – © Ancestry.co.uk

Emma then gave birth to twin girls Mabel and Clara Friday. The girls were born on the 7th of October 1891 in Dorking Surrey and were baptized on the 6th of December 1891 at St Martin’s church in Dorking

Clara Friday - © Ancestry.co.uk
Clara Friday – © Ancestry.co.uk

The family still lived at Hampstead Lane in Dorking and James snr was working as a labourer.

Emma, James and Emily Friday - © Ancestry.co.uk
Emma, James and Emily Friday – © Ancestry.co.uk

Emma Friday was born on the 1st July of 1896 in Dorking Surrey and was baptized on the 30th of August 1896 at St Martin’s church in Dorking Surrey. By this time the family moved to Mile House in Dorking Surrey and James snr worked as a shepherd.

Baptism- © Ancestry.co.uk
Baptism- © Ancestry.co.uk

The last child John Friday was born on the 2nd of August 1897 in Dorking Surrey and was baptized on the 17th of October 1897 at St Martin’s church in Dorking Surrey.

The family continued to live at Mill House Coldharbour Road and James snr worked as a shepherd.

1911 Census reads that at this time all six children were still alive.

1891 Census reads that the family lived at Hamstead Lane in Dorking Surrey and James snr specified his employment as being a stockman. Apart from James snr and Emma, the house was occupied by their one year old daughter Emily and two lodgers. Stephen and Charles Williams were working as a carter and a shepherd and came to Dorking from Sussex.

1901 Census reads that the family moved to Mile House Cottage in Westcott, Dorking rural. Emma died at the end of 1899 and James snr stayed with his children alone. He worked as a shepherd. The children’s aunt, Ellen Beavan, 66 years old widow, moved into the house with the family and as she states her occupation to be a housekeeper she was likely helping James to raise his offspring.

1911 Census reads that the family moved once again to 23 Orchard Road in Dorking Surrey. James snr worked as a gas stoker, James’ jnr’s sister Emily was a daily housemaid and a James jnr himself an errand boy. The house they occupied had 5 rooms.

Military History

James Friday was part of the 8th Service Battalion of The Devonshire Regiment. His service number was 10957 and he was a Private. Findmypast and Ancestry military transcripts incorrectly states that James was born in London. His place of enlistment is stated as London as well. At the time of enlistment he was likely living with his father at 23 Orchard Road in Dorking Surrey.

James entered the Western European Theatre of war on the 25th of July 1915. He is presumed to have die on the 25th of September 1915. He was killed in action during the Battle of Loos in France. He is commemorated at the Loos Memorial, Pas de Calais in France on panels 35 to 37. He was 21 years old. His body was never found. He received the British and Victory medals and the 1915 Star.

8th Service Battalion The Devonshire Regiment

The 8th Battalion was formed at Exeter on the 19 of August 1914 as part of the first New Army K1. Its recruits came all over the United Kingdom. The 8th Battalion moved to Rushmoor Camp in Aldershot and became part of the 14th Division. On the 14th of November 1914 the Battalion move to Barrosa Barrack in Aldershot, then to Farnham and back to Aldershot.

On the 26 of July 1915 the 8th Battalion mobilised and landed at Haver France. In France they became part of the 20th Brigade of the 7th Division.

On the 25th of September the Battalion engaged in the Battle of Loos.

Loos - Image © www.1914-1918.net
Loos – Image © www.1914-1918.net

They were said to fight magnificently but suffered great casualties: over 600 men. The 8th were shelled heavily by Germans in No Man’s Land and suffered heavy machine gun casualties. German’s used heavy shelling to disperse gas and smoke cloud. What is more, British gas blew back on the 8th during the attack. The men removed their gas masks as they could not breathe in them and some were gassed. However, they managed to capture German Gun Trench and 4 German field-guns with the 7th Division (one of the field-guns was presented at Exeter). Survivors held their position until the evening of the 26th of September when they were withdrawn.

Born                            Dorking, Surrey
Lived                           Dorking, Surrey

Son of                          James and Emma Friday of 32 Orchard Road, Dorking

Regiment                     8th Battalion, Devonshire Regiment
Number                       10957

Date of Death              25th September 1915
Place of Death             Loos, France
Cause of Death           Killed in Action

Age                             21

Memorial                     Loos Memorial, France