(L to R) 1914-15 Star; British War Medal; Allied Victory Medal
James was born on the 18th November 1885 in Liverpool. His father was called Cyrus and his mother was Elizabeth. He was their youngest child; Alexander, Edith, Gertrude and Lillian were all older.
In 1891 the family lived at 56 Eton Street in Walton, Liverpool and Cyrus worked as a bookkeeper. Ten years later they had moved to 8 Balmoral Road in Walton. Cyrus was now a clerk for a shipping company. Edith and James were both training to become teachers. James studied at Liverpool University.
By 1911 only Lillian and James still lived with their parents, now at 6 Wasdale Road in Walton. Cyrus was a clerk to the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board, and James had become a teacher in one of Liverpool's council schools. We don't know which school or what subject he taught there.
The First World War broke out in August 1914 and like thousands of young men James quickly applied to join the Army. On the 28th August he enlisted into the 5th Battalion of the King's (Liverpool Regiment) and was given the service number 2275. At the time he was 5 feet 9 inches tall. He had 'good' vision and physical development.
James trained in the UK until the 21st September when the 5th Battalion was sent to France. After just a month in France, on the 22nd March James was promoted to Corporal. After 2 more months he became a Sergeant on the 17th May.
During July James was taken ill. He reported to Number 6 Field Ambulance on the 17th suffering from pyrexia, or fever. This worsened over the next 2 weeks and by the 29th he was at Number 1 General Hospital in Etretat suffering from Enteric fever. In fact he had Paratyphoid B, once this was realised he was placed in isolation until the 21st August.
By the 12th September James was well enough to return to duty. He was sent to Number 1 Infantry Base Depot at Rouen until he could rejoin the 5th Battalion. This did not happen until the 16th January 1916. He was assigned to D Company on his return.
We don't know how much fighting James was involved in during his time with the 5th Battalion. He is likely to have been involved in the Battle of Aubers on the 9th May, but probably missed taking part in the Battle of Loos during late September and early October.
James continued to serve with the 5th Battalion during the first half of 1916. They served in the area around Bretancourt during this time. James applied to be an officer during March, and after being interviewed and assessed his application was approved. He left the 5th Battalion on the 15th June and returned to the UK.
James wanted to join the 7th Battalion of the Manchester Regiment. The first step in this process was training with its reserve unit, the 5th (Reserve) Battalion, in Southport, Lancashire. He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant on the 7th October 1916.
James married during his time in the UK, but we don't know anything about his wife or whether they had any children. Shortly after the end of the war she lived at 37 Gresham Street in Fairfield, Liverpool.
James returned to France in January 1917. Although he was officially a member of the 7th Battalion we believe he joined the 18th Battalion of the Manchester Regiment when he arrived. We don't know when he transferred to the 7th Battalion, or if he ever did.
During April 1917 the British launched a large attack that became known as the Battle of Arras. James took part in this operation. We don't know where James served during this battle, but he went missing on the 23rd April. During this period the 7th Battalion were at Epehy, to the south of Cambrai, whereas the 18th Battalion were in the trenches at Heninel, near Arras.
Whoever James was serving with, they could not find his body, so James is now one of the 34793 men commemorated on the Arras Memorial. James' name is in Bay 7.