Old Coathamians of World War One

James Henry FOXTON

No. 593 Serjeant, 1/4th Battalion,
Alexandra, Princess of Wales’s Own (Yorkshire Regiment)
[later called The Green Howards].

Born 2 August 1891,
Died 14 February 1916, aged 24 years.

Buried in Railway Dugouts Burial Ground, Ypres,
West-Vlaanderen, Belgium, Grave II.K.9.

He died the same day as his fellow Old Coathamian in the 1/4th Battalion, Private Sydney Douglas (q.v.). Both of the same age, they are buried in the same cemetery, in the same row, six graves apart. They are among the 2,459 soldiers buried or commemorated in this cemetery. As their battalion was a battalion of the Territorial Army they may well have been part-time soldiers before the War broke out.

James Henry Foxton was the son of George and Mary Jane Foxton who, at the time of James attending the grammar school, lived at 135, High Street, Redcar. His father was a ‘metal carrier’, that is, a labourer in the local ironworks. James was the eldest of six children, the others being Harold, Mabel, George, William and Tom. James attended Zetland (Council) School before winning a Foundation Scholarship to attend Coatham Grammar School as a day boy. He attended from September 1904, when he was 13, until December 1905 when he was 14. James left school around the time of his father’s death at the age of 44, although it is not known if he left prematurely in order to support his widowed mother and the family. By 1911 his mother was earning a living running a boarding house at 139, High Street, and James, by then 19 years old, was living at home and employed as a clerk in an ironworks. He enlisted in Redcar and his death in action is commemorated on a family memorial in Redcar Cemetery, in a grave adjacent to that of Frederick Oscar Speight (q.v.).