James Heath

Date of birth: 1891
Place of birth: Woolston, Southampton
Service No.: 128797
Rank: Gunner
Regiment / Division: Royal Garrison Artillery
Battalion: 185th Siege Battery
Died: 18th September 1918 aged 27 years
Death location: France


Life before the War
James was born in Woolston, Southampton in 1891 to Edwin Lewis (b.1858 – d.08/02/1929) and Julia Heath, nee Mansbridge (b.1859 – d.24/06/1937).  He was christened on 26th April 1891.  James’ parents were married in Southampton in 1885.

James’ siblings were:

William (b.1886 – d.1886)
Edwin Lewis (b.1887 – d.12/03/1919)
Albert (b.1899 – d.04/12/1955)

James’s brother Edwin served in WW1.  He enlisted into the Army Reserve as Private 149902 on 16th November 1915.  On 2nd February 1916 he was posted to the Royal Engineers as Sapper WR 254080 and served in the British Expeditionary Force from 29th June 1916 to 13th November 1918.  Edwin was admitted to the University War Hospital, Southampton on 21st November 1918 with Valvular Disease of the Heart (VDH) and was discharged ‘no longer physically fit for War Service’ on 7th January 1919.  Edwin died on 12th March 1919.  He was awarded the 1914-1915 Star, the Victory and British War medals.  He also received the Silver War Badge which was issued to those servicemen and women who had been honourably discharged because of wounds or illness during WW1.  Select Edwin’s name to read his story.

Albert married Alice May Waterhouse (1894 – 1967) in Southampton in 1929.

On the 1891 census James is living with his parents and brother Edwin at Thornleigh Lodge, Portsmouth Road, Woolston, Southampton.  James’ father is employed as a Gardener.

The 1901 census shows that the family are living at 2 Orchard Place, Portswood, Southampton.

On the 1911 census the family have moved to 242 Portswood Road, Southampton.  James is a Butcher and his father is still working as a Gardener.  This is the address of James’ aunt, Sarah Sharp (his mother’s sister)

James’ brother Edwin is living at 13 Dorset Road, Merton Park, Surrey with their uncle William James Mansbridge (his mother’s brother).  Both Edwin and William work as Clerks for the London and South Western Railway.

Military History
James served in the 185th Siege Battery of the Royal Garrison Artillery.  This unit was formed from the 97th Company of the R.G.A. on 18th July 1916 at Aldershot, Hampshire and first went to France on 18th October 1916.

James was killed in action on 18th September 1918.

He was awarded the Victory and British War Medals.

James is one of 86 UK casualties who are buried at Hancourt British Cemetery.  Grave Reference F. 23.  Hancourt is a village in The Department of the Somme.

James is remembered on a family grave at Southampton Old cemetery, reference D181.  The inscription reads:

‘In Loving Memory of Edwin Lewis Heath R.E.
Who died March 12th 1919, aged 31 years

Heath family grave and memorial stone

Heath family grave and memorial stone

Also of James Heath R.G.A
Killed in action in France
September 18th 1918, aged 27 years

All Honours give to those who nobly striving, nobly fell
That we might live

Also of
Edwin Lewis Heath, father of above who died
February 8th 1929, aged 71 years

Peace perfect peace

Also of
Julia, beloved wife of the above who died
June 24th 1937, aged 77 years

We stand to bless thee ere our worship cease
Then lowly kneeling wait thy word of peace’

James and Edwin are also remembered on the Highfield War Memorial, which is located in the grounds of the Parish Church, Highfield Lane Southampton.

Inscription on the Highfield Memorial

Inscription on the Highfield Memorial

Highfield Memorial - photograph taken by Jackie Chandler.

Highfield Memorial


The Memorial reads:

‘To the Glory of God and in grateful memory of the men from this parish who gave their lives in the Great War 1914 – 1918’

Photographs taken by and are the copyright of the Researcher.

Researcher: Jackie Chandler
Published.: 30th June 2014
Updated: Insert dates here

If you have any additional information about the person named above please complete the Comments section below.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s