James was born in Whitchurch in 1884, the forth son of Patrick Gaughan, a pedlar/hawker, and his wife Ellen, (nee Hughes) of Barlow’s Yard, High Street, Whitchurch. James had three sisters, Mary Ellen, Kate and Elizabeth, and four brothers, John, William, Patrick and George.
The 1911 Census records James living at 7 Castle Hill, Whitchurch, with his mother, and working as a house painter.
The objective of the attack was the enemy front line trench and support line, running through Bazentin le Grand. The attack took place at 3.30 a.m. the 7th Kings Shropshire Light Infantry and the 8th East Yorks were the assaulting battalions. At 3.20 a.m. there had been a brief preliminary bombardment, lasting five minutes, which was mostly very short, and caused a number of casualties amongst our own men. Unfortunately the attack ran in to exceptionally strong uncut barbed wire, about 600 yards from the German trenches, not a man of the first wave succeeded in getting through this wire. At about 11 a.m. after several attempts the remains of the battalion entered the enemy trenches. They held the trenches, beating off five counter attacks until July 20th, when they were relieved by the 1st Royal Welch Fusiliers.
The battalion lost 8 officers and over 200 other ranks killed. This action practically annihilated what was left of original battalion, within twelve months of their landing in France.
History of the King’s Shropshire Light Infantry in the Great War 1914-1918
Major W. de B. Wood
James’s brother Patrick, was killed in action on the 26th September 1917, whilst serving with 1/2nd Battalion, Monmouthshire Regiment, in France.
His name is shown as J Caughan on the Malpas memorial.
Researched by Terry Evanson