James Edwin Wild was born in Royton on July 14th 1890. His parents were Egerton & Mary. At the time the family lived at 106 Park Road. James was their second child, Samuel having died at the age of 8 months the previous year. James' other siblings were Mary, William (who died in 1893 aged 18 months), Egerton & Joseph. At the time of the 1901 census the family were living at 163 Rochdale Road and James' parents were both working in a Woolen mill. They were at the same address in 1911 by which time James was working as a Cop Packer (a cop was another name for a cotton bobbin) at the Vine Mill.
James enlisted in the Manchester Regiment in either August or September 1914 and became a member of it's 11th Battalion. The 11th Battalion were formed at the Regiment's home base in Ashton-under-Lyne in August 1914. In April 1915 they moved south to Witley Camp near Godalming in Surrey. At the end of June that year it was back up to Lancashire and a ship from Liverpool on the 30th to Mudros. Mudros, on the island of Lemnos, was the great forward staging post for the Gallipoli campaign.
From Mudros they landed on Turkish soil on August 6th 1915 as one of the infantry units of the Suvla Bay Landing. This was an attempt by the British to support a breakout from the Anzac sector some five miles to the south. The first units began landing at 22:00 and the casualties began to mount up. Shortly afterwards the 34th Brigade, of which the 11th Manchesters were part, attempted to land at 'A Beach' within Suvla Bay but they hit problems from the start. Many men had to wade ashore with water up to their necks and upon reaching the beach were pinned down by sniper and shellfire. The 11th Manchesters had the greatest success of the four battalions of the brigade but this came at considerable cost.
Upon landing they reached the Turkish trenches without too much opposition and then cleared them of their defenders at bayonet point. Day broke on August 7th with the Battalion astride a ridge, about half a mile inland, and faced by considerable numbers of Turks.About three hundred rifles were out of action for several hours owing to their having become clogged with sand and salt water. The British attack was begun, and was strenuously opposed by the enemy, but the 11th Manchesters succeeded in taking the ridge for about three miles inland, and was then brought to a standstill owing to heavy opposition in front and to being enfiladed on both sides. There was no means of communicating with Brigade Headquarters, and no other unit was at hand, but about noon a message was sent by flag signal to a destroyer and shortly before darkness fell the Battalion was reinforced by two battalions but no further advance was made. About 2 a.m. on the following morning the Battalion, which had suffered heavily from gun and rifle fire, heat, and lack of water, was relieved and sent back into reserve. They had suffered something approaching 250 casualties. John William Buckley was one of those killed. It is probable that James Edwin Wild received his wounds that day. The Battalion did lose more men as August went on but the large bulk of their losses where in that initial fighting.
James was sent to hospital in Gibraltar and died there on September 4th after undergoing an operation. A Matron at the hospital had written to his parents back at 163 Rochdale Road to say that he had died due to having had some serious internal bleeding and that it has proved impossible to save him. She went on:
"He was as brave as possible and in almost his last words he asked me if I had written to you. He died quite peacefully and will be buried here in the part set aside for soldiers"
In 1918 his parents received the dreaded news that another son, Egerton - serving with the Machine Gun Corps, was missing in action. To no doubt their great relief they discovered three weeks or so later that he was a prisoner of the Germans.
On September 6th 1919 the following notice in memory of James appeared in the Oldham Chronicle:
In ever loving memory of our dearly loved son,Private James Edwin Wild,11th Batt.
Manchester Regiment, who died Sept.4th 1915,from wounds received at Suvla Bay.
God called him home, our dear one,
Because he thought it best.
From the dreadful toil of battle
To the land of peace and rest.
So sadly missed by his loving Father,Mother,Sister & Brother
JAMES EDWIN WILD
Date of Death:04/09/1915