JAMES Henry 1894 – 1919

HENRY JAMES 1894 – 1919

S4/040925 Private Henry James, 58th Division Motor Transport Company, Royal Army Service Corps died of influenza (and bronco pneumonia) 24 March 1919, aged 24.  He is buried at Tournai Communal Cemetery Allied Extension, Belgium[1] and Escomb War Memorial.

Family Details

Henry James was born 1894 [2]at Escomb, the son of Holmes and Mary James.  There were 4 children, all born at Escomb:[3]

  • Henry born 1894
  • Alice bc. 1897
  • Margaret bc.1898
  • Edith bc.1907

In 1901, the family lived at Railwayside, Escomb and 29 years old Holmes worked as a railway platelayer.[4] In 1911, the address was recorded a no.4 Railwayside, and Holmes was still employed by the N.E.R. as a platelayer.  Henry now 16 years old, was employed as a butcher’s apprentice. [5] He worked for Burdess Butchers, Newgate Street, Bishop Auckland.[6]

Service Details [7]

Some service details for Private H. James have been found, the date when he was transferred between units namely from the 55th and the 58th remain unknown.  His precise duties are also unknown.  It would be logical to assume that he carried on as a butcher, since such specialised tradesmen were in demand to serve the troops. 

7 January 1915, Henry James aged 20 years 5 months attested at Bishop Auckland and was posted to the Army Service Corps on the same day and given the service number S4/040925.[8]  Henry stood 5’8½” tall, weighed 144 lbs, was of good physical development. [9]

26 May 1915: Private H. James embarked SS “Atalanta” at Southampton and disembarked 27 May and went on to Rouen, France.

27 May 1915: Private H. James joined the 12th Division Supply Column.[10] The 12th (Eastern) Division moved to France between 29 May and 1 June 1915, concentrating near St. Omer and by 6 June moved to the Meteren/Steenwerck area.  The Divisional Train ASC, comprised the 116, 117, 118 and 119 Companies.  It was a New Army formation which served with distinction on the Western Front throughout the war. The division was initially located at Ploegsteert Wood after relieving the 46th (North Midland) Division and then by July, the front extended south to Armentieres.  The 12th Division moved to the Loos front 29 September 1915, to take part in the Battle of Loos.  It was involved in the actions of the Hohenzollern Redoubt.  By October, the Division was relieved and moved to Fouquiers-les-Bethune then in November it moved to the reserve at Lillers.[11] 

12 January 1916: He was transferred to 55th Divisional Supply Column.[12] The 55th (West Lancashire) Division was a territorial division and infantry units left the UK as reinforcements to the BEF during November 1914 and March 1915.  The original Divisional Train was formed in September 1915 and was comprised of 505, 506, 507 and 508 Companies which joined the second line force, the 57th (2nd West Lancashire) Division.  A complete Train, comprising 95, 96, 97 and 98 Companies joined the 27th Division 1 January 1916. [13]      

4 – 12 May 1916: Private H. James was granted leave

7 January 1917: He was awarded the 1st Good Conduct Badge.

15 – 29 October 1918: Private H. James was granted leave

24 March 1919: Private H. James died at 51 Casualty Clearing Station, Belgium suffering from influenza and bronco pneumonia. At the time of his death, he served with 58th Motor Transport Company, RASC. [14] The 58th Division was a second line London territorial division which moved to France in January 1917.  After the Armistice, it remained in the Peruwelz area.  Units began to demobilise by early March 1919 and the last units sailed for home at the end of June 1919.[15]  By this time the influenza pandemic had taken hold in Europe and evidently, Private H. James was one of many victims.

Awards and Medals

Private H. James was awarded the 1st Good Conduct Badge, the 1914-15 Star, the Victory and British War medals.[16] 

Medal Roll card index


Private H. James is buried at grave reference IV.M.12, Tournai Communal Cemetery Allied Extension, Hainaut, Belgium.  His headstone bears the epitaph:

Only Beloved Son

The Day Thou Gavest Lord Is Ended

Effects and Pension

Henry James’s mother Mary received his pension [17] and his father his effects.[18]


HENRY JAMES 1894 – 1919

S4/040925 Private Henry James, 58th Division Motor Transport Company, Royal Army Service Corps died of influenza and bronco pneumonia, 24 March 1919, aged 24.  He is buried at Tournai Communal Cemetery Allied Extension, Hainaut, Belgium.  Henry was born 1894 at Escomb and worked as a butcher in Bishop Auckland.  He entered France in May 1915 to join the Army Service Corps, 12th Division Supply Train.  He served with the 55th and 58th Divisions on the Western Front and died whilst on active service, after the Armistice. 

NOTE: S4/040927 A/Corporal Edgar George Rushford from Morley next on the roll V & BW medal 19 March 1920


[1] Commonwealth War Graves Commission

[2] England & Wales Birth Index 1837-1915 Vol.10a p.214 Auckland 1894 Q3

[3] 1901 & 1911 census

[4] 1901 census

[5] 1911 census

[6] Army Form B.250? & Army Form B.103

[7] Army Form B.250?& Medal Roll card index

[8] Army Form B.250? Note: “S” means Supply and 4 related to K4, Kitchener’s Army, 4th call for volunteers

[9] Army Form B.178 Medical History

[10] Statement of the Services

[11] https://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/order-of-battle-of-divisions/12th-eastern-division/

[12] Army Form B.103

[13] http://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/order-of-battle-of-divisions/57th-2nd-west-lancashire-division/

[14] Post Office Telegrams dated 31 March 1919, Army Form B.2090A Field Service and letter dated 24-3-19 from C.R. Millar Lieut. Col. RAMC Commanding No.51 Casualty Clearing Station

[15] https://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/order-of-battle-of-divisions/58th-21st-london-division/

[16] Medal Roll card index and Rolls dated 5 November 1919 & 19 March 1920

[17] Dependants Pension card index

[18] UK Army Register of Soldiers’ Effects 1901-1929 Record No.910130