James Fell had worked for the Co-operative Wholesale Society’s (CWS) building department in Clitheroe, Lancashire before enlisting in the army. He was employed by the CWS from March 1914, so only worked for them for a brief period. However, in this short time he made quite the impression on his employers and was said to be an excellent worker and greatly respected by his fellow workers. Fell joined the army later that year, and was sent to fight on the Western Front in France. On 30 June 1915, Fell was killed as a result of wounds sustained in battle, aged 32. He left behind a wife and three children, aged seven, two and one respectively. His fellow workers were also said to have been disappointed to learn of his death.
Co-operative News, 10 July 1915, page 941.
WWI co-operative voices
This post is part of ‘WWI co-operative voices’ which shares the stories of co-operative workers and members during the conflict. In order to mark the centenary of the WWI, the Rochdale Pioneers Museum is staging an exhibition entitled ‘From shop floor to front line’ and the accounts of these soldiers, shop workers and conscientious objectors will run alongside it. They are tales of death, duty and of those who chose not to fight.
Through ‘WWI co-operative voices’ we will be releasing new posts about these individuals throughout the duration of the exhibition (due to open mid-May 2015 and run until May 2016). Read about the co-operative movement’s involvement in a war that shook the world by selecting a name from the column on the left. You can also follow us on social media for regular updates.
Follow us on Twitter and search #CoopWWI
We wish to thank the Heritage Lottery Fund for supporting the ‘From shop floor to front line’ exhibition and project.