- Date of Birth 1872, Cropwell Butler
- Domicile James and Amy, West Row, Cropwell Bishop
- First Enlistment 26th Jan 1891, Woolwich but bought discharge after 1 month.
- Occupation Blacksmith’s apprentice working for his father in Owthorpe
- 2nd Enlistment 1901 in Derby
- Regiment 127 Battery, Royal Field Artillery, Boer War
- Also 6th Ammunition Column, Royal Field Artillery, Mesopotamia
- Rank Farrier Quartermaster Sergeant 5th April 1916
- Medals Long Service and Good Conduct Medal, Victory Medal, 1914 Star, British War Medal
- Date of Death 11th November, 1916. Mesopotamia
- Age at Death 42
- Buried Baghdad (North Gate) War Cemetery
After a false start James was a career soldier seeing action in various theatres. His father James was born in 1846 at Wymeswold, Leicestershire and was a blacksmith. His mother Amy was born in 1840 at Leadenham, Lincolnshire. James had a brother William born 1871, Cropwell Butler, Nottinghamshire and sisters Eliza Jane, born 1876 and Sarah Alice born 1878. In 1881 they lived at West Row, Cropwell Bishop.
On 26 January 1891 James enlisted at Woolwich, joining the Royal Artillery, aged 18 years 1 month. He was a slight figure of 5′ 5″ tall, weighing 9 stone with blue eyes and fair hair. On 28 February 1891 he obtained a discharge paying the sum of £10 to leave the army after only one month’s service.
From 1891 he lived at Old Hall Farm Cottages, Village Street, Owthorpe, Nottinghamshire, and was a Blacksmith’s Apprentice, working for his father at the smithy in Owthorpe. His cousin Henry Brown from Eastwood, lived with the family.
He enlisted again, this time in Derby, in 1901 whilst boarding at 15 Birches Row, Bulwell with brother William. His listed occupation at this time: Soldier. He married Mary Jane (?) who was born 129 Fishwick Parade, Preston, Lancashire. On the 30 June 1907 they celebrated the baptism of son Walter, at St. Margaret’s, Owthorpe.
James served in the Boer War with 127 Battery, Royal Field Artillery and was awarded over his career the
Long Service and Good Conduct Medal, the Victory Medal, 1914 Star, British War Medal. He was gazetted 5 April 1916 whilst serving as Farrier Quartermaster Sergeant with the 6th Ammunition Column, Royal Field Artillery in Mesopotamia.
He probably became a prisoner of war, and died in prison from a contracted illness.
Like Gallipoli, conditions in Mesopotamia defy description. Extremes of temperature (120 degrees F was common); arid desert and regular flooding; flies, mosquitoes and other vermin: all led to appalling levels of sickness and death through disease. Under these incredible conditions, units fell short of officers and men, and all too often the reinforcements were half-trained and ill-equipped. Medical arrangements were quite shocking, with wounded men spending up to two weeks on boats before reaching any kind of hospital. These factors, plus of course the unexpectedly determined Turkish resistance, contributed to high casualty rates.
Died Mesopotamia, 11 November 1916, aged 42 years
Buried Baghdad (North Gate) War Cemetery