Private 45007 James Elwell

Killed in Action on Saturday, 1st December 1917, age 22.
Commemorated on Panel 124 to 125 and 162 to 162A of Tyne Cot Memorial, Zonnebeke, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium.

'C' Company of 4th Bn., North Staffordshire Regiment. 106th Brigade of 35th Division.

Husband of Mrs Florence Elwell, of 39, Old Cross Street, Tipton, Staffs.
Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Tipton, Resident: Tipton.

First landed France & Flanders, 6th October 1917.
Medal entitlement: British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives survived and transcribed.

Commemorated on the Tipton Library Memorial.
Commemorated here because he appears on a Tipton memorial.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/1631242/

Genealogical Data

1901 Census
Furnace Yard, Hurst Lane, Tipton, Staffs.
David Elwell (77, Widower, Boat Loader, born Sedgley), his daughter Elizabeth (50, born Sedgley), his daughter Ruth (31, born Sedgley), and Ruth's 2 children: Joseph (11, born Tipton), and James (6, born Tipton).

1911 Census
45 Coppice Street, Tipton, Staffs.
John Sheldon (51, Labourer, born Tipton), his wife Rebecca (51, born Tipton), and their 4 children: William, David, John Thomas, and Sarah. Also James Elwell (16, Relative - Rebecca's nephew, born Tipton).

Marriage of James Elwell and Florrie Warmer registered June Quarter 1915 in Dudley.

Personal Data

James attested on the 12th December 1915, probably under the Derby Scheme. He was 20 years 342 days old, 5 feet 1½ inches tall, 32½ inch chest, weighed 113 pounds, had no teeth on his upper jaw, his physical development described as 'moderate', and he was employed as an Iron Dresser. He was married to Florence and they had one child - Arthur, born 25th June 1915; another child, Florrie, was born 29th January 1918 - about 8 weeks after James' death. His mother was named Ruth (by then Caddick) and he had an elder brother Joseph.

James was mobilised on 3rd May 1917 and, after 5 months training, landed in France on 6th October 1917 with the 4th North Staffs. They were initially allocated to the 56th Division for trench familiarisation, but in mid-November joined the 35th Division, based near Ypres. Within 2 months of landing in France, Joseph had been killed.

In April 1918 Joseph's widow, Florrie, was paid his outstanding army pay and allowances; this amounted to £6/14/9d (6 pounds, 14 shillings and 9 pence). In November 1919, his War Gratuity of £3/0/0d was also paid to his widow Florrie.

Action resulting in his death

The Third Battle of Ypres (commonly called Passchendaele) drew to a conclusion just before James' battalion arrived in Ypres. The History of the 35th Division says: "The month of December was quiet. On the first two days machine-guns of the 35th Division co-operated in an attack of the 32nd Division on the right. No undue retaliation was experienced, and the resultant disquietude of the enemy on the front enabled the 4/North Staffordshire to capture two prisoners." The attack was a little known action by 32nd and 8th Divisions, a night attack centred on Vindictive Crossroads, about 1 kilometre north of Passchendaele.

The War Diary of the 4th North Staffs for 1st December simply records:
"NORFOLK HOUSE (Editor: their HQ, 500 yards west of Poelcapelle) 1 Other Rank Killed: 4 Other Ranks Wounded"

The "1 Other Rank Killed" was James Elwell, possibly killed in the "no undue retaliation" mentioned in the 35th Division History. James has no known grave and is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial, very close to the area where he was killed.

Newspaper Cuttings