James Swaine was baptised on 24th November 1895 at St Peter's Church, Macclesfield, the son of Hannah (Annie) Phoebe and Henry Swaine, a silk weaver, of 2 Pool Street, Macclesfield.
By 1901 James' father had died and 5 year old James was living at the same address with his widowed mother, a grocery shopkeeper, and siblings Annie (16), Edith (8), Henry (7) and Peter (4). Ten years later, Hannah had remarried (to Charles Bailey) but the family was still at 2 Pool Street, and James was working as an embroiderer assistant.
James attested at Macclesfield during the first week of September 1914, joining the 7th Battalion of the Cheshire Regiment.
Following a period of training in various locations in the south of England, the 7th Cheshires, as part of 159th Brigade, 53rd (Welsh) Division, received orders to equip for service in an undisclosed location in the Mediterranean. In July 1915 they sailed from Devonport to Alexandria in Egypt, then on to the island of Lemnos on the 4th August.
On the evening of 8th August, the Battalion arrived off the coast of Gallipoli and the following day landed at “C” Beach, Suvla Bay. Having landed, they came under shell fire at about 8.30am and so moved north along the edge of the bay; they then received orders to attack in the direction of a dip in the hills behind Anafarta Saghir.
At 8am on 10th August the Battalion was ordered to attack Hill 70. This was unsuccessful and the Battalion suffered severe losses. A second unsuccesssful attack took place at 5pm. James was killed in action during one of these attacks on 10th August 1915, aged 19, and his death was announced in the official casualty list of 29th September 1915.
Private James Swaine has no known grave and is commemorated on Panel Ref. 76 to 78. on the Helles Memorial in Turkey. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission holds casualty details for Private James Swaine, and he is listed on the Imperial War Museum’s Lives of the First World War website.
In Macclesfield, Private James Swaine is commemorated on the Park Green, Town Hall, St Michael's Church, St George's Church and St Peter's Church war memorials.
Research by Rosie Rowley, Macclesfield.