Friday, 1 May 2015

Whittaker, James - Private

Pte James Whittaker
No details at present
Age 22

Newspaper Reports:


Mr and Mrs. David Whittaker, who live near the Woolpack, Manchester Road, Haslingden, have, as previously announced, received official information that their son, Private James Whittaker, was posted missing on October 10th, 1917.  He was 22 years old and was connected with Laneside Church.


It has been reported that Private James Whittaker, of Bentgate, Haslingden, has been killed in action in France.  On Sunday last a memorial service was therefore held in St. Peter's Church, laneside, when the vicar (Rev J. Dodd) preached an eloquent sermon in which special reference was made to the deceased.  He took for his text: Psalm 96, 10th verse.  The vicar said that the message "the Lord reigneth" was one of comfort, coming to them on the Sunday when their hearts were stirred to their deepest depths by the sad news that james Whittaker had made the supreme sacrifice and that there is again a small bit of the soil of France sacred to the memory of another dead son - one hereo of the slain.  The poignant grief was not only that of his father and mother it was his (the vicar's) and theirs also.  He had prepared Whittaker for confirmation and had given him his first communion.  He had seen him grow up a quiet steady lad but also a thoughtful lad, a good son to his parents and a good brother to his sisters.  He was also a good soldier of the King of Kings in whom he believed and confessed Him before men. Thus he was ready for every emergency when the call came and laid down his life for king and country as so many others have done.  He quoted the article of an Oxford correspondent in the "Times": "One by one they fall, great and strong and wise, they sleep deep the long sleep of death in gallant company. Memory lingers over each one of them.  Death has gone out with his sickle, and he has had a royal reaping.  He has taken the tallest and most golden of the years, with a prudent selection, and those who, had they lived, would have been leaders of their time and honoured in their generation, lie low upon the ground.  Their seed will not inherit the earth, but we trust it has not fallen fruitless."  
So James Whittaker had gone from their midst, "gone under" they say, but he did not like the expression.  Of course, it is true of the body, but he thought "gone up" was the better expression, gone to be with Christ, to meet his earthly relation and friends who had gone before, gone to commence a new life of service.  His life had been but a short one here but it was better than the longest life for it was a life of heroism, of devotion, of sacrifice - the best life lived.  There was a large congregation present and the church had been beautifully decorated with suitable wreaths and flowers.  At the close of the service the "Dead march" in Saul was played by Mr. Hargreaves the organist.

Newspaper Memorial:

In loving memory of Private James Whittaker, 490 Bent Gate, Haslingden.

"No comrade to tell how you died,
Or where your poor body lay;
All we have left is a beautiful memory,
We shall keep to our dying day.

From father, mother and sisters.