James William Angel

Date of birth: 1894
Place of birth: Southampton
Service No.: 26989
Rank: Lance Corporal
Regiment / Division: Hampshire
Battalion: 15th (Service (2nd Portsmouth)
Died: 27th May 1918 aged 24 years
Death location: Battle of Lys, Belgium


Life before the War
James was the third of 9 siblings born to James Tabor Angel and Elizabeth Angel, nee Cummings.  James was born in 1868 in Southampton and lived to the grand old age of 92 years, dying in Winchester in 1960.  Elizabeth was born in 1870 in Shoreditch and died in 1944.

The parents married in 1890 in Southampton, yet their first-born Gertrude is listed as being born in Greenwich.

All the censuses after 1890 show the family as resident at various addresses in Southampton.

James 8 siblings were:

Gertrude Nellie b.1891 and d.1979 in Winchester.  Married Charles Knott in 1912.

Ephraim b.1892.  Unable to trace details but almost certainly did not die young.

George  b.1897  and d.1902

Frank b.1899  and d.1968 in Southampton.  Married Winifred Dora Richards in 1920.  They probably divorced as Frank then married Pauline E. J. Stride in 1948.  Dora died in 1976.

John b.1902 and d.1968.  Married Lydia Louisa Mullett in 1932.

Violet Elizabeth b.1904  and d.1941 in Marlborough.  Married Ivo J. Poole in 1930.  Ivo remarried in 1949.

Lillian May b.1911 and d.December 1936.

Harry b.1908 and d.1908.

War Service
The battalion that James joined was formed in Portsmouth on 5 April 1915 by the Mayor and his officers.  The War Office adopted the battalion on 30 May 1915 and it moved to Aldershot in October of that year.

The battalion immediately came under the orders of 122nd Brigade, in the 41st Division.  The Brigade mustered for war in early 1916, landing in France in the May of that year.  In 1916 they fought on the Somme and in the Battle of Messines (amongst others) in 1917.

James evidently had some home leave in the second half of 1916,  taking the opportunity to marry the exotically named Lucy Emily Zebedee in Southampton.  Lucy was a local girl, born 20th August 1895.  At the 1911 census she was living in St. Marys with her parents, 4 brothers and 2 sisters.

After a suitable period of grieving for James Lucy married Arthur Knott in 1919 in Southampton.  She ended her years in Droxford, in 1986, aged 90 years.

On 27th September 1917, James’ battalion was amalgamated with the now dismounted 1/1st Hampshire Yeomanry and renamed as the 15th (Hampshire Yeomanry) Battalion.

In November 1917 the new battalion was part of a troop movement to Italy, taking the front line near the River Piave near Treviso.

In February 1918, they were all summoned back to France, encamped near Doullens and Mondicourt.

James almost certainly met his end when the Division was involved in the Battle of the Lys in Belgium.  This battle went on for most of April 1918 and was part of the last large German offensive of the war.

He is buried in Brandhoek New Military Cemetery No.3, near Ypres (Plot IV, Row E, Grave 2).  James’ headstone has the following inscription, paid for by his father:

“ The brightest day is yet to come when we’ll meet again, our gallant son. “

                                    James Angel headstone


Researcher: Mark Heritage
Published.: 8th October 2014
Updated: Insert dates here

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