Born on 4 December 1893, James Dinsdale had been a member of the Halifax Co-operative Choir. He was greatly respected amongst the choir, and was reported to have had an excellent bass singing voice. He enlisted in the 1st/4th West Riding Regiment as a private prior to 1915, and was sent to fight in France on the Western Front.
On 5 December 1915, the day after his 22nd birthday, Dinsdale was wounded in the thigh and later died in a standing hospital in France. The choir later offered its condolences to the family when they heard about his death. Another member of the choir was hospitalised at around the same time, but was thought to make a full recovery.
At the end of the war, Dinsdale was posthumously awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. These medals were usually awarded in tandem with each other, and were given to all British soldiers who had fought in any military theatre of the Great War. They became eligible to receive it either upon discharge from the armed services or if they were killed in action during a military campaign. It was also applicable to those who had worked in a recognised non-military hospital.
Co-operative News, 18 December 1915, page 1653.
http://www.greatwar.co.uk/medals/ww1-campaign-medals.htm [Accessed 11 April 2015].
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.
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We wish to thank the Heritage Lottery Fund for supporting the ‘From shop floor to front line’ exhibition and project.