Corporal 191068 John James

James John 96 428x600

Died on Sunday, 3rd November 1918, age unknown.

Buried in Grave I. D. 39. at Staglieno Cemetery, Genoa, Italy.

Royal Garrison Artillery, "V" Anti Aircraft Battery.
Formerly 75587 Royal Field Artillery.

Born: Summerhill, Tipton, Enlisted: Pontefract, Yorks, Resident: Tipton.

First landed France & Flanders, post 31st December 1915.
Medal entitlement: British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives survived and transcribed.

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/641114/

Genealogical Data

The 1901 census shows John James and his older brother Arthur James lodging with John and Emily Davies, in Wellington Road, Tipton. His father Aaron had just re-married and was living in Canal View, Tipton with his new wife Elizabeth and 5 children from his previous marriage.

1901 Census
Wellington Road, Tipton, Staffs.
John Davies (36, Foundryman, born Smethwick), his wife Emily (34, born Darlaston), and Lodgers Arthur James (22, Coal Miner - Loader underground, born Tipton), and John James (7, born Tipton).

1901 Census
Canal View, Tipton, Staffs.
Aaron James (38, Coal Miner - Pike-man underground, born Tipton), his wife Elizabeth (26, born Tipton), and Aaron's 5 children from his first marriage to Harriett: Harriett (19, General Domestic Servant, born Tipton), Samuel (16, Coal Miner - Cager, born Tipton), Josiah (13, born Tipton), Aaron (11, born Tipton), and Solomon (6, born Tipton).

1911 Census
36 Chapel Street, Coseley, Staffs.
Aaron James (54, Coal Miner - Hewer, born Tipton), his wife Elizabeth (33, born Tipton), 2 of Aaron's children from his first marriage to Harriett: John (17, Coal Miner - Horse Driver below-ground, born Tipton), Solomon (16, Coal Miner - Door Minder below-ground, born Tipton), and Aaron and Elizabeth's 3 children: Clara (7, born Tipton), Joseph (6, born Tipton), and Harold (2, born Coseley).

Personal Data

The 1911 Census shows John as a miner still living in Tipton. He moved to Castleford probably in early 1912 and worked as a 'Rope Rider' in Fryston Pit, this was the dangerous occupation of riding the underground coal wagons to move them from the coal face to the pit shaft. In late 1913 his employment terminated due to 'slack working' - a downturn in trade, not John's efforts. It was possibly this umemployment which caused John to enlist with the Royal Artillery in 2nd January 1914.

John enlisted for 6 years with a further 6 years in the Reserves, he had already served with the 5th Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry as a Territorial. John was 19 years and 305 days old, so was born in March 1894. He was single, 5 feet 4½ inches tall, weighed 127 pounds and had a 35-inch chest; he had a sallow complexion, blue eyes, light-brown hair, and was Church of England.

In March 1914, he was made a 'Driver' and posted to the 1st Reserve Battery in Newcastle; he was described as "very intelligent, clean and obedient". In the early months of 1916, John was sent to Shoeburyness on the Essex coast near Southend-on-Sea where he underwent training in Anti-Aircraft (AA) duties. This training was completed on 27th June 1916 when he was to proceed to AA Control, Woolwich for posting.

During John's time at Shoeburyness, Ethel Turberfield of 161 Grace Street, Byker, Newcastle wrote to the authorities asking the whereabouts of John James. The reason for this may be inferred as Ethel gave birth to a son, Stanley, on 25th August 1916. During a period of leave, on 18th October 1917, John and Ethel married in Byker Parish Church.

On 7th July 1916, John embarked from Southampton to Le Havre with the 3rd Anti-Aircraft Section, this became the 60th AA Battery, and subsequently 'P' AA Battery. In April 1917 he became an Acting Bombardier, and then posted to 'D' AA Battery, and in July promoted to Bombardier.

After his period of leave in October 1917, John was compulsorily transferred to the Royal Garrison Artillery on 1st January 1918. This was initially with the 63rd AA Section, then to 'V' AA Battery - we cannot be certain but this could be when he began his service in Italy. Promotion to Acting Corporal and finally Corporal followed in June 1918.

After John's death, his widow Ethel received a pension of 27/8d (27 shillings and 8 pence) per week for herself and 1 child.

After John's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £7/12/9d (7 pounds 12 shillings and 9 pence), this was paid to his widow, Ethel, in April 1919. His War Gratuity was £25/10/0d (25 pounds and 10 shillings), this was also paid to Ethel in February 1920. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that John had enlisted in August 1914.

Action resulting in his death

Five British Divisions were sent to Italy in late 1917 to prevent the collapse of Italy after the Austrian success at the Battle of Caporetto. The tide turned decisively in June 1918 when the Austrian attack at the Battle of Piave was driven back with large Austrian losses, and the Austrians defeated completely at the Battle of Vittorio Veneto in October/November 1918.

Pte John James died in Genoa, about 250 miles away, as the Battle of Vittorio Veneto was coming to a close. Genoa was a base for British troops, with rest camps and medical units stationed there.

481 British troops died from influenza in Italy, John James was one of these. He is recorded as having died in Number 11 General Hospital in Genoa on 3rd November 1918. His primary cause of death was given as Influenza, and secondary as Broncho-Pneumonia. He is buried in the Commonwealth War Graves section of the highly impressive civilian Staglieno Cemetery in Genoa.

Newspaper Cuttings