Private 201697 James Emmanuel Finch

Finch James 96 431x600

Killed in Action on Monday, 3rd December 1917, age 18.
Commemorated on Panel 6 of Cambrai Memorial, Louverval, Nord, France.

2nd/7th Bn., Worcestershire Regiment. 183rd Brigade of 61st Division.
Formerly 4078 Worcestershire Regiment.

of 81 Dudley Road, Tividale, Staffs.
Born: Unknown, Enlisted: Dudley, Resident: Tipton.

First landed France & Flanders, post 31st December 1915.
Medal entitlement: British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Not commemorated on any Tipton 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/1752886/

Genealogical Data

Birth of James Emmanuel Finch registered March quarter 1899 in Dudley.

1901 Census
7 Grove Road, Dudley, Worcs.
Daniel Finch (46, Puddler, born Great Bridge), his wife Alice (45, born Dudley), and their 7 children: Joshua (17, Moulder, born Dudley), Katherine (15, born Dudley), Mary Ann (11, born Dudley), Susy (9, born Dudley), Robert (7, born Dudley), Andrew (5, born Dudley), and James (2, born Dudley).

1911 Census
81 Dudley Road, Tividale, Tipton, Staffs.
Daniel Finch (55, Puddler, born Tipton), his wife Alice (53, House Assistant, born Dudley), and 3 of their 8 surviving children of 9: Robert (17, Labourer at Scrap Iron dealer, born Kate's Hill, Dudley), Andrew (14, Stone Mason, born Kate's Hill, Dudley), and James (13, born Kate's Hill, Dudley).

Personal Data

After James's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £8/5/2d (8 pounds, 5 shillings and 2 pence); this was paid to his mother and sole legatee Alice in November 1918. His War Gratuity was £12/0/0d (12 pounds exactly), this was paid to his mother Alice in November 1919. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that James had enlisted in May 1915.

James is commemorated on the Roll of Honour for Tividale Ward with address 81 Dudley Road, Tividale, Staffs.

Action resulting in his death

In November the 2/7th Worcesters were in trenches at Rouex, Fampoux and Greenland Hill to the east of Arras. In April and May 1917, these had been the scenes of ferocious action during the Battle of Arras, but were now relatively quiet and the battalion suffered just a few casualties.

Towards the end of November, the 2/7th Worcesters were withdrawn from the line back to Arras for a few days rest, even then on the 29th November, 3 men were killed by a long-range German shell hitting their billets.

On 30th November they were transported by train, bus and march to the Cambrai sector, staying overnight at Trescault. On the 1st December they marched to La Vacquerie, about 8 miles south-east of Cambrai, taking over the front line from the King's Royal Rifle Corps.

The War Diary for the 3rd December says:
Battalion 'stood-to' all day. At dusk 'A' and 'B' companies were withdrawn from posts to the front line.
Casualties: 2/Lt J.S. Sykes - missing believed killed. Killed: 6 Other Ranks. Wounded: Captain J. Manuel (R.A.M.C. attached) and 13 Other Ranks.

The Tipton Herald reported a letter received by James Finch's parents from an officer of the 2/7th Worcesters (see below). This says that James Finch was a runner carrying an important message back to headquarters, but was killed by German machine-gun and rifle fire. The letter reports that James Finch was buried and his grave marked, this must have been lost during subsequent action as today he has no known grave and is commemorated on the Cambrai Memorial.

Newspaper Cuttings

Tipton Herald 1918, date not recorded.
We have previously drawn attention to the fact that Tividale has contributed more heroes to this terrible war than most other places of its size. Another to give his all for King and Country is Private J.E. Finch, whose parents reside at 81 Dudley Road, Tividale. He enlisted when he was only 16, and had been in France 18 months when he was killed in acion at Cambrai on December 3rd last year. He was on leave for 14 days in November last. Three other brothers have served with the colours. Before enlistment Private Finch was employed at the Brades Steel Works, near Oldbury.
Private Finch belonged to the 2/7th Worcsesters. and the Lieutenant of his company writes to his father as follows: "My Dear Mr Finch, I expect that you have already been informed of the death of your son. He was one of my runners, and was carrying a most important message to headquarters. Before he could get away, very heavy machine-gun and rifle fire opened out. He fell, shot through the head. We got his body back, and his grave is marked with a cross. He was very plucky and a reliable runner, and I miss him very much."