Rank: Private
Service Number: 9768.
Regiment: 2nd Bn. Lancashire Fusiliers Killed In Action Sunday 18th October 1914 Age 35County Memorial Congleton
Grave\Panel Ref: XXI.E.7.

Son of Mr. James Carney and Mrs. Sarah Ann Carney (nee Carter) of 3, Oakes Yard, Congleton, Cheshire, 8, John Street, Congleton, Cheshire, and 26, John Street, Congleton, Cheshire, and husband of Teresa Collins previously Carney (nee Connell) of 4, Lodge Street, Heywood, Lancashire and 9, King Street, Darwen, Lancashire. He married Teresa Connell at Bury in 1907, he had two children, Francis and Agnes Carney. He had three sisters Mary Ann, Winifred and Catherine Carney along with seven brothers, John Joseph, Thomas, Edward, Francis, Thomas Jnr, Patrick Charles and Wilfred Carney. His brother Wilfred served with the Cheshire Regiment during the war in France and Gallipoli. Prior to the war, James was employed as an Outdoor Labourer.

Private James Carney was a reservist and enlisted into the 2nd Battalion, the Lancashire Fusiliers at Manchester. They were part of the 12th Brigade, 4th Division. He received the call to arms on the 5th of August 1914. He had also seen service in the South African Campaign, enlisting in the 5th V.B. the Cheshire Regiment.

Extract from The History of The Lancashire Fusiliers.

The Battalion detrained at Hazebrouk at 03:00 hours on the 13th of October 1914 and went into billets. At about 10:00 hours, however, it was on the move again, in a north-easterly direction through Borre. On reaching Rouge Croix, the Battalion received orders to support the King's Own in capturing Meteren, a picturesque village perched on the top of a small hill whose slopes are gradual and very open. The attack was timed to begin at 13:30 hours in conjunction with the 6th Division on the right and with the 2nd Essex on the left. Keeping touch was difficult, as the day was wet and misty. By 15:30 hours the Kings Own had been held up, the German position (held by a Bavarian infantry regiment and part of the 3rd Cavalry Division) being strong and well protected by machine guns in the outlying houses of the village. At 17:20 hours the 2nd Battalion began to work round the south of Meteren, past the right of the King's Own, being helped by artillery fire which succeeded in quietening the enemy's fire somewhat and by dusk it had established itself close to the enemy front line. The Brigadier then decided that any further day attack on the village would be too costly and ordered the Battalion to capture it that night. Lieutenant Colonel Butler held a conference of officers in the kitchen of a farm-house, where by candle light, with windows well blanketed and with the maps spread on table and chairs, they heard his plan of attack. As the fields were divided off by wire fences and movement across country was considered to be too difficult in the darkness, the advance was to be made along three narrow roads converging on the village, one Company being allotted each road. The fourth with Battalion Headquarters, was to follow on the centre road, leading to the church whose tower would act as a guide. Bayonets were fixed and the Battalion moved forward in dead silence. As the village loomed nearer, the strain became great, for none knew what the strength of the enemy might be or how soon hell might be let loose by an alarmed garrison. The village square was, however reached without incident and lights were seen in a house. Colonel Butler ordered its door to be broken open, whereupon three Germans were pulled out. Put against a wall for safe custody, they made up their minds that they were to be shot out of hand and displayed great terror. This heartened the troops who set off to comb the village with great zest. "A" Company to the eastern edge which it was to hold, "B" Company to the southern edge and a third to the high ground to the north, a Platoon from each being detailed to search the houses in the area. In all about a dozen prisoners were taken, the main garrison having withdrawn at about 23:00 hours. At 00:15 hours on the 14th of October the Battalion was able to report that Meteren was in its hands, and two sections of Royal Engineers were sent to help in putting the place in a state of defence. The total casualties for the day had been 1 Officer and 2 Other Ranks killed and 7 Other Ranks wounded. At about 15:00 hours on the 14th of October, the Brigade marched in pouring rain to billets east of Bailleul, which it reached, after a long delay on the road, at about 17:00 hours. A rest of 24 hours followed and the Brigade marched at 20:00 hours on the 15th to bivouacs on the main Bailleul Armentieres road (near Le Leuthe), from where the Battalion moved on in the morning of the 16th of October to a position on the Warnave stream between Nieppe and Ploegsteert, which it entrenched. Early on the 17th of October, Lieutenant Colonel Butler sent out a patrol which reported that the enemy were clear of Le Bizet but were holding Le Touquet. At dusk that evening the Battalion formed up at the cross-roads a mile south of Ploegsteert and after Lieutenant Colonel Butler had personally marked the site of trenches to be dug between the Ploegsteert to Le Bizet road and Le Touquet and roughly parallel with the railway which lies to the north-west of the latter place, the Battalion spent a busy night at work with such tools as could be collected from neighbouring farms. It was the intention on the 18th of October that the enemy should be cleared from both banks of the River Lys near Armentieres and from a dominating ridge to the east and south-east of that town, as a preliminary to moving down the Lys towards Menin. A salient in the German line had its point at Frelinghien and it was the task of the 12th Brigade to attack the western side of it, the 10th Brigade being on its right. The attacking troops of the former were to be the King's Own on the right with the trenches between the river and Le Touquet as its objective. Early in the morning, "B" and "C" Companies advanced on the left of the Le Bizet to Le Touquet road, with "A" Company in support and "D" Company in reserve. The village was strongly held, the houses were loop holed and trenches were dotted about over the open ground outside the village. Moreover, the enemy was able to bring a cross fire of artillery and rifles from the east bank of the River Lys and from the loop holed buildings of Frelinghien. As a result, progress was very slow, "B" and "C" Company's lost touch and a Platoon of "A" Company was sent to restore contact. But the enemy fire was so heavy that it was found necessary to reinforce the Platoon with one from "D" Company which moved across country under heavy fire. By 10:00 hours, the Battalion had crossed the railway and was approaching the outskirts of Le Touquet, but by 10:30 hours, its advance was definitely held up by shrapnel which appeared to be fired from the direction of Frelinghien at point blank range. Shortly after an order was sent along the railway line to get "B" Company onto the Le Touquet- Le Gheer road, clear the former village at all costs at the point of the bayonet and if possible push on to Frelinghein. This proved to be impossible, although gallant and valuable work was done by a machine gun. When "B" Company represented their inability to advance in view of the lack of artillery support the reply came" that there is no such word in the army as can't". Nevertheless, no further move was in fact feasible, and at 12:35 hours orders were issued by the 12th Brigade for a systematic bombardment of Frelinghein to be carried out and for the attack to be resumed at 14:30 hours. This time, the Le Touquet- Le Gheer road was reached and "B" Company established itself precariously on a line just north of the level crossing. Enemy shelling was by now heavy, particularly on the crossing and six men who were sheltering under a culvert close to it were killed by the concussion of a bursting shell. At about 17:00 hours, the Battalion received orders not to press its attack unless further progress was made by the 10th Brigade which had been held up on the right. Some slight advance was, however, possible and by dusk the Battalion had secured a firm grasp of the whole village of Le Touquet with the exception of a few houses at the road junction which were first occupied but had to be abandoned as they were set on fire by enemy shells, the flames lighting up the countryside all round. Fortunately, however, little damage was done to the troops During the night a party of Royal Engineers built a strong barricade across the village street. The Battalion spent the night digging a trench line which eventually became the second line and remained intact until the unit moved north in April 1915. Battalion Headquarters were established in a farm later known as Packenham Farm. Private James Carney was killed in action during the events of the 18th of October 1914 and he is buried in the Cabaret Rouge British Cemetery, Souchez, Pas de Calais.

Extract from the Congleton Chronicle 1915.

The lengthy casualty lists which have recently been issued by the War Office have been received in Congleton with a calm and sorrowing silence, which is the best tribute we can pay to the glorious memory of those who have died to defend the honour and faith of our Empire. There is mourning through the land, for the Angel of Death has been busier than ever before in its history, and the homes of the high and low, rich and poor, have been equally struck by its wings. His many friends in Congleton will learn with regret that Private James Carney, of the 2nd Battalion the Lancashire Fusiliers has been killed, yet their sorrow will be mingled with pride when they know that he went to his death with a heroism which will cover his memory, like all those who have died a soldier’s death, with immortal renown. Private Carney, who resided at 2, Lodge Street, Heywood, was a native of Congleton, where, owing to his unassuming and affable disposition, he made many friends, and their sorrow will go out to his wife and children in their hour of trial. He was a Reservist, and was recalled to the colours on August 5th. He took part in the Boer War, and for three years had been a playing member in the Heywood Old Band. It is to such heroes as Private Carney that we owe our liberty. Victory has crowned their efforts; the Army has held its own. Ypres remains in possession of the Allies, but if we had lost instead of won, we should be just as proud of those brave lads, the living and the dead alike, who have so nobly sustained the reputations of the Army and the British, Irish and Scottish people. Out there in France and Belgium are little mounds that mark the resting place of brave heroes, heroes who have laid down their lives for the common veal, and one of them marks the resting place of a Congleton Fusilier, whose requiem was bursting shell and shrapnel, may he Rest in Peace. Private Carney, who formerly resided in John Street, Congleton, Cheshire was killed in action on the 18th of October 1914 He was for many years a chorister in St Mary's Catholic Church choir.

Cheshire County Memorial Project would like to thank John and Christopher Pullen for this information on James.