Royton Roll of Honour

The men were transferred from the Nile to smaller vessels and landed at Gallipoli on May 5th. Indications point to another Royton man William Thomas Nelson perhaps being the battalion's first casualty as they came into land. That evening while they were preparing to camp at Lancashire Landing - the area where the regulars of the 1st Lancashire Fusiliers had suffered such awful casualties coming ashore in the intial landings ten days earlier - they received orders to head for the front line to relieve a battalion of the King's Own Scottish Borderers who had been in action for nine days. After a somewhat arduous and fraught evening they found their positions, little knowing that the very next day they were to go over the top. It seems remarkable that an untried unit of territorials should be pitched straight into battle but that they were. At 11am on May 6th, less than 24 hours after arriving on the peninsula they were due to attack as the far left British unit in what was to be the Second Battle of Krithia.
The 1st/6th had to move over open ground and were met with a hail of machine gun and rifle bullets but even though this was literally the unit's baptism of fire they did not waver and took their main objective, a ridge 400 yards from their starting point in the face of heavy losses.They then dug in. They had not only advanced further than any other unit that day but they had managed to hold onto their gains. 228 men were recorded as being killed, wounded or missing.
The battalion's next notable action was on June 4th, the Third Battle of Krithia. It was then that Jim Mudd was to be killed.
The 1st/6th Lancashire Fusiliers were not one of the units to be part of the assault on the Turkish positions but were in support of the territorial units present from the Manchester Regiment - including the 10th Manchesters from Oldham. Their tasks were to support units of the Royal Engineers in carrying equipment and tools up to consolidate any captured trenches. As the saying goes, 'no plan survives contact with the enemy' and so it proved for the 1st/6th. Many of them becoming embroiled in the fighting proper including taking part in bayonet charges and hand to hand fighting with the Turks.
At some point during the day Jim Mudd was killed, unlike many others his body was recovered and he is buried at the Redoubt Cemetery.The other men listed as being killed that day from his battalion are:

ASHWORTH FRED 19 Private 9548 from Castleton
BIRBECK JAMES 19 Private 8423 from Rochdale
CONNOLLY FRANK 19 Private 9502 from Middleton.Brother of below
CONNOLLY THOMAS 26 Private 9397  from Middleton.Brother of above
GORDON FRED 20 Private 8717 from Middleton
GRAHAM ROBERT 41 Lance Corporal  9201 from Middleton
HENDERSON EDWARD Private 8922 from Castleton
HOLDEN NORMAN 25 Lieutenant from Moston,Manchester
HOPKINSON JOHN Private 8830 born Manchester,enlisted Rochdale
JEFFREY ROBERT Private 9597 from Rochdale
LAWRENCE JAMES 19 Private 9140  from Newcastle under Lyme
LOMAX JAMES Private 9371 from Rochdale
MYATT JOHN 19 Private 8645 born Knutsford,enlisted Rochdale
SMITH LEONARD Lance Corporal 7924 from Baldock,Hertfordshire
SMITH WILLIE Private 8408 from Todmorden
WARD JAMES Private 9593  born Wolverhampton,enlisted Rochdale
WILDBLOOD RALPH 21 Private 8425  from Rochdale
WILLIAMS FRANCIS 24 Private 9110 from Cornwall
WILSON JAMES Private 9354 from Rochdale

Nearby on the same day four other Royton men were killed - John Fitton, Edwin Hyde, James Shaw & Frank Smith.

After Jim's death his wife received a letter from his Lieutenant, Eric Duckworth:
"Dear Mrs Mudd, I am writing to express my sympathy with you in the loss of your dear husband Jim. It will be a great blow to you as it is to all of us, for we all got on very well with him. You are one of many women heroes in this war, Mrs Mudd,who have given their dear menfolk to die for their country, and your husband died bravely doing his duty.
Rest assured he has a pretty grave amongst God's flowers and a cross at his head, and it is an honoured grave though the cross is of wood and there are no gravestones. I feel deeply for you and your children and should you at any time be in need of help if you will go to my mother ,Mrs.Duckworth, Dunsterville,Manchester Road, Rochdale you will find a sympathetic helper. I should be glad if you would go and have a chat with her and show her this letter -
believe me, yours with all sympathy
Eric Duckworth
Lieut.6th Lancs Fusiliers
"
Lieutenant Duckworth , only 19 years of age, was himself killed in action in August.

After Jim Mudd's death the Oldham Chronicle reported that he had been exceedingly well known in Royton. For some reason we can only guess at, his name does not appear on the town's war memorial though. Or Oldham's.  It certainly deserves to be.



JAMES MUDD
Age:28
Date of Death:04/06/1915
Rank:Private
Service No:8119
Regiment:Lancashire Fusiliers
Unit:1st/6th Bn.
Cemetery:
Redoubt Cemetery, Helles
Grave Ref:IX.B.4

Men of the Lancashire Fusiliers coming ashore at Gallipoli,May 1915. © IWM

Jim Mudd was born in Oldham in 1887, his parents being James & Mary. Astonishingly the Mudd's seem to have had 12 children, only two of which seem to have survived childhood. Jim being one and Frank (16 years or so younger) the other.
While still a young boy Jim moved to Royton and at the time of the 1891 census was at 135 Oldham Road, next door to the Carters Arms. The 1901 census saw the Mudd's back in Oldham, in the Coldhurst district.
Jim married Mary Asprey at Oldham Register Office in 1907 and together they set up home at 5 Back Spencer Street, Royton with Jim working at one of the local mills. The following year their first child John James was born but sadly he was to die just two months old.  Happily further children were to follow - Florence in 1909, Lucy Ann in 1911 and James in 1915. James Jnr. was born after his father had left for overseas service and Jim would never get to see his son.
Jim's unit the 6th Lancashire Fusiliers were the territorial unit for Rochdale, Middleton and Todmorden with around about half the men from Rochdale and 25% each from the other towns. It's not certain yet if Jim was a territorial soldier with the Rochdale or Middleton companies or whether he signed up shortly after the outbreak of war and was one of those who filled out the ranks as the battalion got itself onto a war footing.
After some time billeted in Rochdale the battalion moved off to Turton up in the hills above Bolton for some initial organisation and training. In September 1914 they were trained down to Southampton and then sailed for Alexandria in Egypt onboard the SS Saturnia. The battalion then moved onto Cairo were they were stationed until May 1st 1915. That day they marched from their barracks to Cairo railway station, boarded trains and reached Alexandria early the following morning. They then boarded the SS Nile and on the evening of May 2nd set sail for Gallipoli. There were around 1000 officers and men of the battalion, by the time they were evacuated from Gallipoli in December later that year the unit would have suffered over 200 deaths and an estimated 700-800 further casualties. Obviously these figures would include drafts to replace initial casualties but it's clear the men setting off from Alexandria did not face favourable odds of getting back to Lancashire unscathed.