Jim Hurtley is my great uncle – he is my grandmother’s brother. He was born about January 1887 to parents James Hurtley and Ellen Paley.
In the 1901 census his occupation is given as ‘bobbin turner’ and in 1911 he is described as ‘manager at hay and straw merchant’. At the time he was living in the village of Cononley near Skipton in Yorkshire.
Jim married Jessie Leeming on 28 March 1910 and their daughter Alice was born on 20 September the same year.
When the war came he enlisted in the army at Keighley, West Yorkshire on 9 December 1915 at the age of 28 years 11 months. His occupation at the time is given as ‘warehouseman’. His service number is 185500. I’m not sure what happened over the next ten months because the next piece of information shows that he had a medical examination in Halifax, West Yorkshire on 14 October 1916 and was appointed to the Royal Regiment of Artillery on 18 October 1916.
Details of Jim’s area of action are not recorded in any great detail. I do know that he embarked from Southampton on 17 May 1917. He then embarked from another port (record unclear) on 27 June 1917 and landed in Alexandria, Egypt on 6 July 1917.
Jim was wounded in action on 9 March 1918 but he ‘remained at duty’.
There is no more information about his service until he embarked from Port Said on 30 January 1919 to return to England. He was discharged from the army and issued with a ‘protection certificate’ and certificate of identity on 10 February 1919. However, like many of his comrades Jim was retained in the Class Z Reserve.
Class Z Reserve was authorised by an Army Order of 3 December 1918. There were fears that Germany would not accept the terms of any peace treaty, and therefore the British Government decided it would be wise to be able to quickly recall trained men in the eventuality of the resumption of hostilities. Soldiers who were being demobilised, particularly those who had agreed to serve “for the duration”, were at first posted to Class Z. They returned to civilian life but with an obligation to return if called upon. The Z Reserve was abolished on 31 March 1920.
In 1921 Jiim received his British War and Victory Medals.
Jim and Jessie had two further children – Jim (born about September 1920) and Phyllis (born about September 1924).
Jim died at the age of 60 in 1947.