A veteran buried in Green Lane Cemetery, Farnham (B1033)
Researched and written by Jenny Mukerji
James was born in South Wales in 1878 and was educated at Shebbear College, North Devon. He entered the Ministry of the United Methodist Church in 1904. His career saw him in Tavistock and Brighton before he volunteered for service as a chaplain in WW1. His service, in 1916, took him to Gallipoli where, during the evacuation, he undertook that “no British soldier shall be left uncovered or unburied”. In order to fulfil this pledge, he went out with burial parties himself and had to crawl around in No Man’s Land, burying bodies and repeating the burial service.
He also served in Egypt before being promoted to 2nd Class chaplain and placed in an Army Corps in France where he was promoted to the 5th Army as Assistant Principal Chaplain. It was for services in this role that he was mentioned in despatches four times and awarded the CMG having gone through the fighting at Passchendaele and the great retreat of 1918. He was promoted to Principal Chaplain which carried the rank of Brigadier General and, at the Armistice he returned to the War Office.
In 1921 he became assistant chaplain general for the London District and later went to Turkey and between 1923 and 1926 he was on the Rhine. James returned to Aldershot where he was in charge of the United Board of Churches in the Army, comprising of the Baptist, Congregational, United and Primitive Methodists, retiring on a pension on 1 February 1932.
He was also a Freemason and had married twice, his second wife being the daughter of Frank Darracott, the Aldershot confectioner.
He died of a heart attack on 25 March 1939 and his funeral service took place at the Congregational Church in Farnham.