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Remembered Today:

Harold James - WW I casualty - Does Photo Identify Regiment?


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We researched the men whose names appear on our War Memorial some years ago, when two researchers of The Western Front Association found a missing name. He was 2nd Lt William David Heatherington Lilley. We could not add his name to our memorial and so created an on-line memorial as part of our website: http://www.ota-southampton.org.uk/memorial/index.html

There was one WW I casualty we could not identify, Harold James. The most likely person was Harold James, born Southampton 1895, whose family history was the best fit.

Name: Harold James
Birth Place: St. Mary's, Southampton, Hants
Death Date: 22 Mar 1918
Death Place: France and Flanders
Enlistment Place: Southampton
Rank: Private
Regiment: Machine Gun Corps
Battalion: (Cavalry)
Regimental Number: 50731
Type of Casualty: Killed in action
Theatre of War: Western European Theatre
Comments: Formerly 16456, 14Th, R.C.R.
Index No. M.R.27
Pozieres Mem.
Part Five

Our old school is now Richard Taunton Six Form College. They recently researched the service and family history of all our WW I casualties to create memorial posters of them to bring them to life for the current students, a magnificent effort.

They discovered more information on Harold James, including a photograph of him in uniform. The information they found was in the School Journal. The December 1917 Journal states that was transferred from the 59th Hussars to the Royal Field Artillery and the July 1918 refers to him being reported missing. His photo does not appear until later with the comments that details of his death had been reported in an earlier edition but this does not appear to be the case.

If the Journal is correct in reporting that he was transferred from the 59th Hussars to the Royal Field Artillery, then he cannot be Harold James 50731 but we have found errors in Journal WW I reports. The time between an event and its reporting in the Journal can vary considerably but it is reasonable to assume he died in late 1917 or 1918.

The point of this long post is to ask if it is possible to identify his regiment from his photo? I can find no information on the 59th Hussars, is this an error? Harold James 50731 was in the 19th Hussars before transfer to the MGC.

Jeff White

Vice Chairman, Old Tauntonians' Association


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Hi Jeff,

The badge depicted in the photo is undoubtedly that of the 19th Hussars(The Dannebourg Cross and Cypher of Queen Alexandra), there has never been a 59th Hussars.

Hope this answers your query.


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Thank you so much for your replies.

Robert, your reply was just what I suspected and for which I was hoping! I think we may have ended several years of hitting our heads against a brick wall.

Craig, I thought my post was rather long, without detailing our research. I do have the relevant medal card.

I also did not mention that we are in touch a member of 50731 Harold James' family. Her mother died last year, otherwise we would have had a answer on whether 'our' photo was 'their' Harold.

Thank you both so much, again


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