Edwin and his wife Ada (née Massey) lived at 5 [1c] Balance Hill, Uttoxeter. [1a, 1c, 1e, 2] They had four sons who served during the war. [1e] Of the four, one, Edward William, was killed.

By the 12th of May 1915, all four sons had enlisted [2]


Edwin appears here in the middle, accompanied by his sons Harold (left) and Fred (right)

In August 1917 an article in the Uttoxeter Advertiser stated that this family had set a fine patriotic example.

The family were also reported [1d] to have ‘a fine record, the father and all four sons having served during the war, each having seen overseas service’.

  • ·   Edwin James

Edwin was a regular soldier before the war, and did 20 years’ service in the army. [1e, 2] He was a member of the National Reserve [1e] and when his four sons joined-up at the outbreak of war, he volunteered for service as well, to show solidarity with his sons. At the beginning of May 1915 he was reported [2] to be awaiting the call to service.

He served in the 9th Bn, North Staffordshire (Prince of Wales’s) Regiment. [2]

He served in the Dardanelles [1b] and other places before being discharged from the army.

In the middle of November 1915 he was reported to be in hospital with enteritis and he was still there at the end of the month.[2]  This is all consistent with his becoming ill during the Dardanelles campaign, where dysentery and enteric fever affected huge numbers of British troops. In the first week of April 1916 he was reported to be in hospital in the North of England, suffering with Dysentery and Enteric Fever.[2] He had been in hospital for 5 months by now.

In the middle of July 1916 it was reported that he had been discharged unfit for further service after action in the Dardanelles. [2] This was seven months after he had first been reported ill.

Ada James (nee Massey)

At some stage in the war Ada and her daughters Dolly and Ada sent the card that follows to one of the five men who were serving in the forces. We have no way of knowing which one of the five it was


We Have Come all this way to see you. How do you like us




The ladies in the photograph, from left to right, are Ada (daughter), Dolly and Ada (mother)


  • Edward William James


Edward served with the North Staffordshire Regiment and was killed during the Spring offensives of 1918. He has a section of his own in the pages that follow.

  • ·   Private [1e, 1f] Harold Bertram (‘Bert’) James

Harold had enlisted by the 12th of May 1915.[2] He served with the 6th North Staffordshire Regiment, [1e, 1f] was in the Maxim gun section [1e] and survived the war.

The Staffordshire Regimental History Volume 4 Appendix D VII (Casualty List), records the following:

o                     Private

o                     Number 1438

o                     ‘B’ to ‘A’ to ‘B’ Company

o                     Wounded 20th August 1915

In July 1915 the Uttoxeter Advertiser published details of a letter that Harold had sent home. [1e] In this letter, Harold stated that he had just come out of the trenches, where he and his comrades had been only fifty yards from the German trenches, They had been having a lively time, and three of their men had been killed, one being the sergeant of their gun section and another from Stafford. He wrote:

  “It makes your blood boil to see the havoc that was wrought here. But we will make them suffer for it. At night it is cold and wet – but cheer up, it will come to an end some time. Can you send me some Oxo cubes? They are a treat in the trenches. I had a razor in my pack stamped ‘made in Germany’, so I threw it over to them. We have been signalling them their shots with a piece of rag on a stick.”

Harold and Edward had a spell at home on leave together at the end of July 1917. [1f]

In April 1918, when Edward went missing, Bert was reported to be serving in ‘France’. [1b, 1c]

He is also known to have been serving in France in September 1918, which means that he may well have served through the entire war.


  • ·   Thomas Alexander James (‘Tom’, ‘Alexander’ or ‘Alex’)

Thomas Alexander James had enlisted as a private by the 12th of May 1915.[2] He served with the 9th (Pioneer) Battalion of the North Staffordshire Regiment. [1e]   

We do not know when he joined up, but we do know from a postcard that he sent to his sister Dorothy that he was away from home in Luton on the 19th of October 1914:


Dear Sister

Thanks for the Dear letter. I will send you one to day (Mon) have not time to day (Sun)





He was serving with the 9th battalion of the North Staffordshire Regiment and training in the south of England on the 1st of May 1915 [3]. He was still training in the South of England in July 1915. [1e]

After this he served as a stretcher-bearer and was blinded in France.

We do not know when he went abroad, but we do know that he was in hospital in Etretat suffering from Myalgia on 30th of August 1916.[3].

In April 1918, when Edward went missing, Alexander was reported to be serving in ‘France’. [4b]

On the 18th of July 1918 he was reported to be on leave from France[3] and a month later, on the 18th of September 1918 the Uttoxeter Advertiser [1b] reported that he was in hospital in Liverpool. The sight in his only good eye had been affected. He had previously lost his sight in the other eye[3].

He survived the war, but died of pneumonia when he was still comparatively young. One has to wonder if, like Fred, he was gassed and left vulnerable to lung disease later in life?

Thomas and his wife Laura (nee Brassington)


They had four children, Thomas Jr (Tommy), Leonard (Len), Edward and Eileen. Eileen,the youngest, is the mother of one of the authors of this book.

This picture shows Tommy, Leonard and Thomas


Thomas at his home, later in life


  • ·   Frederick James

Frederick had enlisted by the 12th of May 1915.[2] He served with the 6th North Staffordshire Regiment. [1e]

He was badly gassed and suffered from shell-shock. He was reported to have been sent to a sanatorium in August 1917.

It appears likely that this was when he was discharged from the army on Medical grounds, because by April 1918, when Edward was reported missing, one of the brothers had been discharged.[4b] . This could only be Fred because Bert and Alexander were both reported to e in action after this date.

Fred had definitely been discharged from the army by September 1918. [1b]