Service number: R/10550 | Rank: Rifleman | Regiment: King’s Royal Rifle Corps.
Killed in action, October 3, 1915, in Flanders. Aged 19.
Remembered at LOOS MEMORIAL, Pas de Calais, France.
Son of Mrs Eliza Grass, 64 Bury Road, Brandon, Suffolk.
Born and lived in Brandon, enlisted at Norwich.
WHAT I KNOW ABOUT JAMES …
James left his job as a gardener and became part of a group of Brandon lads who enlisted together at the start of the war and who then served alongside each other in battle with the 7th Battalion, Norfolk Regiment. At some point James was transferred from the Norfolks to the King’s Royal Rifle Corps, possibly after he returned to duty after being wounded. In August 1915 James received news that his older brother, Walter, had been killed in action, and then in October, aged only 19, his name also featured on a list of men killed in action.
At 4.30pm on 3rd October the Germans launched an attack on the British line that included James and his comrades. The began by lobbing grenades into the British trenches, an action that lasted for over two hours, and in this time it appears that one grenade landed very close to James. The resulting shrapnel from the explosion ripped into his body and he had become another casualty of the Germans.
James’ widowed mother, Eliza, received the news from a comrade at the Front. She had received the letter to her home at 64 Bury Road in much the same way as she had previously with her late son Walter. The letter, dated October 5th 1915, aimed to reassure Eliza that James had not suffered in his final moments. It read,
“It is with much regret that we have to inform you of the death of your son James. He was on sentry duty in the trenches while the Germans were bombarding, and, like a true Briton, he stuck to his post. A shell dropped close by, and a flying piece caught him. He suffered no pain, death being instantaneous.”