682: James Robert Seddon
James Robert Seddon enlisted in the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment on the 11th November 1914 when he was 20 years old; he had worked down the mines as a collier from the age of 13 and thought that signing up to do his bit would be a great change and an opportunity not to be missed.
He fought – and was wounded three times – at Ypres and the Somme. He was discharged at the end of the war but due to his injuries he was not able to go down the mines again and worked as a general labourer and later a postman. By the autumn of 1930 his health had started to deteriorate both physically and mentally and he spent an increasing amount of time out of work and in convalescence homes recovering from neurasthenia – or shell shock.
Finally in October 1930 he asked if he could have a War Pension – this was refused and on the back of the envelope which held the letter refusing his pension he drafted this letter ....
"15th November 1916 Mailly-Maillet in the fight for Beaumont Hamel I was sent to General Hospital at Le Havre and from there I was sent to Isigny Hospital in Le Havre where I was x rayed and a piece of shrapnel was taken from over left eye. I stayed in hospital in Le Havre about a month and then I was sent to Royal Infirmary Edinburgh then on to convalescence at Clifton Park House B/pool (Blackpool).
Rejoining Reg(iment) May 1917
As I was able to follow my employment I never xxx but I have always suffered from pain ....."
And there the draft letter ends but we know that he was again refused a War Pension. His local Labour MP - Alexander Haycock - heard of his story and intervened and one month later he got a letter awarding him his pension of 12 shillings (about 60 pence) per week.