Private George Albert James

Date of Birth 26 May 1899
Age at Death 19
Date of Death 27 May 1918
Service Number 75607
Military Service Northumberland Fusiliers
Merton Address Market Garden, Lower Morden
Local Memorial St. Lawrence Church, Morden

Additional Information

George was born in Morden on 26 May, 1899 and baptised at St. Lawrence’s Church. He was the son of George and Annie James. The couple also had 4 younger children, John, Marjorie, William and Patience. A sixth child died in infancy.

George snr was a self-employed market gardener. In 1901 he and his family were living at The Orchard, Morden Common, together with his widowed mother, Ann. They may have been living near other family members, as there was also an Edmund James, domestic gardener, living at the nearby Garth cottages, together with his wife and five children.

By 1911, the family were sharing Ann’s home in Lower Morden. George jnr is likely to have been educated at the Elizabeth Gardiner School in Central Road, possibly followed by a brief stint at the new Morden Council School on London Road, or the Church of England Boys School in Merton Park.

With the outbreak of war, George enlisted in the army. He became a Private in the 1/6th Northumberland Fusiliers, one of the largest infantry regiments in the British army. He is likely to have been sent to France at some point in 1916/17.

George is thought to have been killed at the 3rd Battle of the Aisne ( 27 May – 6 June, 1918. ) This was part of the German Spring offensive aimed at capturing the Chemins des Dames ridge. It involved a mass surprise attack on Allied forces, starting with a bombardment from 4000 artillery pieces, followed by a poison gas attack. George was killed on the first day of the battle, just one day after his 19th birthday. His is one of 127,000 Allied servicemen commemorated on the Soissons memorial in France.

His name also appears on one of the panels in the Lychgate at St. Lawrence Church, Morden, which serves as the parish war memorial. His cousin Jesse James is also remembered here.

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