Topic: John Sydney James

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John Sydney James (Service no. 6/1886) was a First World War Soldier with links to Woolston

John Sydney James John Sydney James was born on Saturday 13th August 1892 in Kaikoura North Canterbury, where his parents, Levi James and Frances Amy Rogers, had married and his father had been engaged on Green Hills Station.  The family eventually moved to 34 Bamford Street in Woolston, Christchurch in 1898 and Levi James worked as an Engine driver for the Railways, then as shift Engineer at the Glue Works.

John was educated at Woolston Primary School and West Christchurch District High School. He went on to work in the engineering trade for Scott Brothers and for Andersons Ltd before becoming a Driver for Mt Magdala Laundry in Halswell.  He played Football for the Linwood Football club, was a member of the 1st Canterbury Regiment Band and a member of the Lyttelton Naval Cadets.  He was a fresh faced young, single, Anglican man, who stood 5'5" tall, weighed 133lb, with black hair and brown eyes.  He sported a scar on his right index finger.

He enlisted on Wednesday 13th January 1915, at the age of 22yrs 6mths, and joined C Company of the 4th Reinforcements, Canterbury Infantry Battalion.  The 4th Reinforcements NZ Expeditionary Force, a total of 2,254 persons, left Wellington on 17th April 1915 aboard the flotilla which included Knights Templar (HMNZT 22) in convoy with Willochra (HMNZT 21) and Waitomo (HMNZT 23).  They arrived in Suez Egypt on 25th May 1915. 

On the 7th July 1915 Lance-Corporal James was killed in action in Gallipoli.

All four James' children took part in World War I. John Sydney James was killed in action in the Dardanelles on 7th July 1915, his older brother Albert Edward Levi James died in London in 1918 from pneumonia contracted in the field, while his the younger brothers Alexander George James died in France 19th November 1916. Charles Ernest James, who was the sole survivor, returned to New Zealand on the SS Ruapehu which left Plymouth on 9th January 1919.

Lance-Corporal John Sydney James was 23yrs when he died and is buried in the Shrapnel Valley Cemetery, Anzac, Turkey.  Grave III. B. 8.  He was awarded the 1914-15 British War medal and the Victory medal which were sent to his father Levi James along with a memorial scroll (dispatched 15 June 1921) and Plaque (dispatched in 11th January 1922).

He is remembered on the Shrapnel Valley Memorial Turkey, Hagley Community college's Roll of Honour, the roll of honour at the Woolston War Memorial, Cricket Pavilion Building, Christchurch New Zealand, and Kaikoura's Combined War Memorial, Kaikoura, New Zealand.


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