Private 16048 James Alfred Burton

Killed in Action on Tuesday, 24th April 1917, age 25.
Commemorated on the Doiran Memorial, Greece.

7th Bn., Wiltshire Regiment. 79th Brigade of 26th Division.
Formerly 14861 Ox & Bucks Light Infantry.

Son of Joseph and Ellen Burton, of Commercial Hotel, Great Bridge, Tipton, Staffs.
Born: Saredon, Staffs, Enlisted: West Bromwich, Resident: Tipton.

First landed France & Flanders, 21st September 1915.
Medal entitlement: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Commemorated on the St. Paul's, Golds Hill Memorial.
Commemorated here because identified as Tipton on 'Soldiers Died in the Great War'.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/1648974/

Genealogical Data

Birth of James Alfred Burton registered December quarter 1892 at Cannock.

1901 Census
Queen Street, Cheslyn Hay, Staffs.
Joseph Burton (39, Assurance Superintendant, born Alfreton), his wife Ellen (40, born Wednesbury), and their 6 children: Ernest (18, Coal Miner, born Selston, Notts), Archibald (17, Edge Tool Worker, born Selston, Notts), Joseph (15, Coal Miner, born Westwood, Notts), Samuel (13, Edge Tool Worker, born Bridgtown, Staffs), Sarah (11, born Bridgtown, Staffs), and James (8, born Saredon, Staffs).

It appears that Joseph's career in Insurance had moved him around the country and in 1911 he and his wife were living in Cinderford. James was boarding in Newport and working as a hairdresser.

1911 Census
Lower High Street, Cinderford, Glos.
Joseph Burton (49, Insurance Agent, born Somercotes, Derbys), his wife Ellen (50, born Wednesbury), and their granddaughter: Ada Nellie (2, born Cheltenham).

1911 Census
28 Brynglas Road, Newport, Monmouthshire.
Boarding with James and Louisa Bowen was: James Burton (19, Hairdresser, born Sharehill, Staffs).

Personal Data

After James's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £8/16/4d (8 pounds, 16 shillings and 4 pence); this was paid to his father, Joseph, in October 1918. His War Gratuity was £12/0/0d (12 pounds exactly), this was also paid to his father in October 1919. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that James had enlisted in approximately September 1914.

Action resulting in his death

For the attack at dusk on 24th April 1917 which led to James' death the Wiltshires were on the right of the British line, near Lake Doiran. Their objectives were trenches O1 and O2 in the Bulgarian front line in the area known as Petit Couronne. They advanced over broken ground against inadequately cut wire, while being illuminated by searchlights from the Bulgarian trenches. Accurate enemy barrages and machine gun fire caused heavy casualties in no-mans-land.

James was in 'C' Company which inflicted serious losses on the enemy in driving them out of their trenches. An enemy counter attack forced 'C' Company to withdraw, and their attempt to re-take the trench failed due to heavy casualties. All the company officers and 8 Senior NCOs being either killed or wounded, Tipton man Company Sergeant Major C A Thorne who was left in command saw that there was nothing for it but to withdraw to our lines. CSM Thorne was himself killed in action on 13th October 1918 - see CA Thorne.

Having gone into action with around 500 officers and men, the battalion suffered casualties of 14 officers and 318 men. James was reported as 'Missing' in the War Diary, but had been killed in the above action. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Doiran Memorial, in northern Greece near the Macedonian border.

Newspaper Cuttings

Birmingham Daily Post 25th May 1917
The following casualties amongst warrant officers, non-commissioned officers, and men are reported under various dates:
WILTSHIRE REGIMENT- Burton, 16048, J.A., (Tipton).