Rank: Lance Corporal
Service Number: 2197.
Regiment: 1/5th Bn. Lancashire Fusiliers Killed In Action Saturday 7th August 1915 Age 23County Memorial Congleton
Commemorated\Buried HELLES MEMORIAL
Grave\Panel Ref: Panel 58 to 72. or 218 to 219.

Son of Mr. Geoffrey Boon and Mrs. Leah Boon, of Biddulph Road, Congleton, Cheshire, and 59 Rose Hill Street, Heywood, Lancashire. He had two sisters, Minnie and Annie May along with two brothers, Arthur and Geoffrey. In 1911 he was employed as a weaver of Turkish Towels.

Private James Boon enlisted at Bury, Lancashire, joining the 1st Battalion, The Lancashire Fusiliers and was based in Karachi, India at the outbreak of war on the 4th of August and in October was redeployed to Aden. He first entered Egypt on the 25th of September 1914, and In December 1914 the Battalion sailed for England landing at Avonmouth on the 2nd of January. In 1915, the Battalion moved to Nuneaton, where it joined 86th Brigade in the 29th Division. On the 16th of March the Battalion sailed from Avonmouth for the Dardanelles operation, landing at Alexandria on the 29th of March and Madras on the 10th of April 1915. The Battalion landed at Gallipoli on W. Beach on the 25th of April 1915, the first day of the main campaign.

The 1St/5th Lancashire Fusiliers, part of the 125th Brigade, 42 nd (East Lancashire) Division landed at Cape Helles, on the 25th April 1915. The Battalion was involved in three notable attempts to break out of the Helles bridgehead and to capture the dominating heights around the village of Krithia Nullah. These attacks took place on the 6th to the 8th May (in which only the Lancashire Fusiliers Brigade took part), 4th June and 6th to the 13th August. The last of these is officially known as the Battle of Krithia Vineyard, which gives some impression of the small area being so violently contested. The 125th Brigade with the French on it's right held a frontage of 400 yards from a point 100 yards east of Achi Baba Nullah to the south-western edge of the Vineyard, with the 1/5th Battalion on the right and the 1St/8th Royal Dragoons, the 1st/7th and the 1St/6th Battalions in that order on the left. The Brigades two objectives were the Turkish front-line system and the Turkish main support line, both contained intricate tangles of trenches. At 08:10 hours on the 7th of August intense artillery and machine gun fire was opened up on the Turks. At 09:40 hours the attack went in. In the 1St/5th Battalion, the operation was carried out by two parties, the 1st Assaulting Force composed of "C" and "D" Companies with a total of 120 men and the 2nd Assaulting Force composed of "A" and "B" Companies with 130 men, there was also two bombing parties on the right and on the left. "C" and "D" advanced at a steady double and occupied part of a dummy trench affording practically no cover. They got down in it, however, and tried to give covering fire for the advance of the 2nd Assaulting Force. These two Companies following ten minutes later reached the dummy trench at the cost of heavy casualties. The survivors were gallantly led forward but could make little headway in the face of Turkish fire. All the Officers were hit, and the remnants could only fall back to the dummy trench and try and consolidate there. The result was great congestion in the shallow trench which it was almost impossible to deepen owing to the hardness of the ground and the persistence and accuracy of the Turkish fire. They clung tenaciously to a piece of high ground to the east of a small nullah between the Vineyard and Achi Baba Nullah, but they were exposed to oblique fire and the losses were heavy. At 14:00 hours, the 1/5th received a further counter attack but drove it off with the help of artillery. At 16:00 hours, the Turks came on again, the Battalion were driven out of their positions and at once organised a bombing party, with which they retook about 80 yards of the lost trench, but unfortunately a barricade intended to consolidate their success was put up in the place and their efforts were wasted. Another party succeeded in clearing part of the evacuated trench, but no further progress could be made. For the next two days ding dong fighting took place in and around the vineyard but without substantially altering the situation. The Brigade was relieved on the 9th of August. The 1 /7th Battalion War Diary may be taken as typical of all the Battalion, "Out of 410 N.C.Os and men going into action, only 139 returned". Among those killed on the 7th of August was Lance Corporal James Boon who is remembered on the Helles Memorial.

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

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