James Lomas

By July 2, 2015 at 4:16 pm0 Comments

James Lomas was born in Derbyshire on 16th October 1895. He enrolled in the Colchester 11th Hussars – a cavalry regiment – in 1914 at the age of 19. The picture shows him mounted and in uniform and is typical of such regimental photographs.

At about the end of 1914 the regiment was dismounted and he was re-assigned to the infantry – a Suffolk Regiment.

lomas2He was sent to France early in 1915 and was stationed around Ypres and took part in the battles of Loos at the end of 1915.

Early in 1916 his regiment was transferred to Greece via Egypt. In Greece they were fighting the Bulgarians (who were part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire) and he was stationed in the River Struma Valley. He caught malaria. He told Sarah’s father that more men were lost as a result of malaria than in the fighting. The medical officer told him at the time that he was lucky to have contracted the form of malaria which would not kill him but which would always be with him. He continued to have malaria attacks for the rest of his life.

In 1917 he was compulsorily transferred from the infantry to a mechanical corps located in Salonica. This was because he had been apprenticed to Rolls Royce in Derby before the Great War. All of the mechanical transport vehicles were French – they were heavy vehicles and motor boats too.

He was de-mobbed late in 1918. Before that in 1918 he came home on leave by train through France and commented that the train moved so slowly that you could easily walk beside it.

lomas3After he came home, he and some other battle weary soldiers lived in a tent by the Trent in Derbyshire for some time before returning to normal life. They found their own way of coming to terms with their experiences but he spoke only rarely about it to his son. He met his wife in 1918 and they were married and his son, also James, was born in July 1920. “Young James “ is now 94 and lives in Blagdon Retirement Village nearby.

Sarah Wakefield’s Derbyshire grandmother had a brother known to Sarah as Uncle Jim. She remembers him as quite a character. He was in the Territorial Army so was called up immediately the Great War broke out. He was in the Royal Field Artillery and was sent to France. He did not come home on leave at all during the war. He was a wheel driver – this was where a large gun was drawn by 6 horses, two of which were ridden of which he was one. The picture shows his regiment when they went out to France and the second picture shows those of them who returned safely home. The picture tells the story. (Grandfather of Sarah Wakefield, Pitminster)

 

 

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This Taunton WW1 borough wide project has been bought to the community by Creative Innovation Centre CIC, Taunton (also known as CICCIC). With support from Heritage Lottery Fund and many other partners we are proud to work with all in the community to produce this website and other project related activities.

 

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