Enlisted in October 1914 and was wounded at Ypres in July 1915. Following hospital treatment he was transferred to the 29th Battalion and then to the Royal Engineers.
Many thanks to Alison Mcbrayne who has kindly provided these images and documents about her grandfather.
This is his story…….
James was born in 1897 and in the 1911 Census he was living with his extended family in Ash Cottage in Burbage, close to Buxton. At that time he was as a telegraph messenger.
He enlisted into the 6th Battalion Sherwood Foresters in early October 1914 and proceeded to France with them in February 1915. In the photo above he is carrying a ‘Long Lee’ Enfield rifle and1908 pattern webbing.
James is seen here with two of his pals. He is wearing an Imperial Service Badge and has a Lewis Gun ‘skill-at-arms’ badge on his left sleeve. This picture was possibly taken whilst the 1/6th Battalion were training at Harpenden in the summer of 1914; although the Lewis Guns had not been issues to the Army at that time, so it is also possibly taken in France during the Sumer of 1915.
Around the 3rd/4th July 1915, James was badly wounded in the chest, most likely during the shelling of a working party travelling through Ypres – see here.
Most likely the piece of shrapnel that wounded James in the chest at Ypres.
James was carried to the 10th Casualty Clearing Station for treatment.
“Dear Mrs Kirk, your son is in our hospital suffering from wounds. He has been very poorly but is better today. We are hoping that he will get on well now. He gets all the comfort and attention possible and I hope to be able to send you good news concerning him in a few days, yours sincerely RE Jones, Chaplain”
“Dear Mrs Kirk, your sone continues to make good progress. He may leave us any moment for a Base Hospital, but where that will be I cannot say. I hope he will be with you before many weeks are over. I sat with him this morning and he showed me a photograph of the house and of you, yours sincerely RE Jones.“
Jame’s own diary records his wounding at Ypres.
“Wounded July 3rd .. 4th .. 1915 at Ypres, went to clearing station at Popperinge. Left Popperinge July 13th for Boulogne General Hospital. X-rayed three times and had 1 1/2 pints of blood pumped off my stomach. Left Boulogne for England July 26th. Sailed on SS Oxfordshire arrived at Southampton July 27th, and was sent down to Exeter where I was admitted into No 1 VA Hospital. Got up first time for two hrs. August 1st also on 3rd, 4th, 5th for two hours each day.”
“Taken seriously ill Aug 6th. Operated on Aug 23rd had over two pints of matter (puss) taken off chest. King and Queen visited hospital Sept 8th. Got up Sept 21st. Left Exeter for VA Hospital Budleigh Salterton Oct 14th. Taken ill again Oct 23rd. Got up again November 3rd. Left Budleigh Salterton for convalescent home at North Malton on Nov 27th. Left N Malton for No 5 VA Hospital Exeter to go before Medical Board on December 4th.
“Went before Medical Board on December 6th. Left Exeter for Convalescent Hospital at Topsham on December 10th. Went before Medical Board again at Exeter on Feb 9th 16. Discharged from Hospital at Topsham February 12th. Reported at the 29th Provisional Battalion on February 22nd.”
A group of convalescing men; possibly taken in the summer of 1915. James is seated 2nd from the left and wearing his Notts & Derby cap badge.
James and a pal. This is most likely taken after he was posted to the 29th Battalion at that time stationed at Walton-on-Naze in Essex because James is wearing a single wound stripe and a single overseas chevron on his left sleeve. James was still serving with the 29th(PB)/21st Battalion when they were renumbered in March 1917; his new number was 331067.
James later transferred to the Royal Engineers, where he served as a sapper with the Railway Operation Division.
Possibly taken after James had transferred to the Royal Engineers because he is wearing a lanyard on his left shoulder and he has no Notts & Derby shoulder badges.
James was eventually discharged in February 1919 and received a pension.
I bet he might have known my grandad John Hackney. He enlisted in Buxton and went to France at the same time.
I bet he did – could well have been in the same Company.