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James was born in Ormskirk in 1895 and was the son of John and Margaret Rotherham. He had one brother, William.

James enlisted  in the Army on 3rd September 1914 at Liverpool and joined the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment with the number 13588. He was 19 years 320 days old, had been working as a labourer and had no previous military service.

At his enlistment medical the officer described James as standing 5 ft 9.25 in tall, weighing 132 lbs with a 36 in chest. He had grey eyes, curly black hair and a mole on his right shoulder.

On 14th September 1914 he was posted into the 10th (Service) Battalion who had just been raised under K3 and were attached to 22nd Division. James started his training at South Downs and then moved to Eastbourne where he was soon appointed Lance Corporal. The Battalion was transferred to the 112th Brigade in 37th Division in April 1915; and on 30th June he was promoted to Corporal. He must have continued to impress his superiors as he was appointed Lance Serjeant (unpaid) four days before they sailed out to Boulogne on 31st July 1915.

Now in France, on 1st November 1915, he was then promoted to Serjeant to complete the establishment, meaning he took the place of one of his colleagues who had been been killed, wounded or sent home.


Serjeant James Rotherham. The skills badge appears to be the crossed swords denoting that of a Physical Training Instructor

James would have spent most of his time rotating in and out of the trenches as the Division took part in no major battles during his time overseas. James was wounded in action and was transported back to the U.K. where he arrived at the War Hospital in Dundee on 17th May 1916 with a gunshot wound to his lower left arm.

Between 11-20th November 1916 he was permitted a furlough of leave which he used to visit his parents at 28 Walmesley Street, Liverpool.

By 2nd December 1916 he was in Ipswich where a charge was entered on his record (later admonished) for ‘refusing to show his pass to the Military Police at Derby Road Station about 10 p.m.’

James remained in the U.K. and on 17th December 1916 he was posted into the 13th (Home Service) Bn. at Blackpool. The 13th Bn. moved to Danbury in January 1917 and to Southend in October 1917.

On 21st August 17 a second charge was entered on his record for which he was reprimanded due to ‘making improper use of a Government cycle in High Street about 7.40 p.m.’.

In January 1918 he was posted into the 3rd (Reserve) Battalion at Felixstowe who were responsible for training more men to go overseas. Whilst here he received two more entries on his record – both for overstaying his weekend pass; which may be connected to his relationship with a certain Francis Lillian Truman who he married in Barking on 24th November 1918.

James was finally discharged at Felixstowe on 7th February 1919 and was given a Silver War Badge numbered B122526. His address at this time being 34 George Street, Barking, Essex. After his discharge he was granted a medical pension of 13/- per week as his earning capacity had been reduced to 40%. He was still only 24 years old.

For his service during the Great War he later received the 1914/15 Star, British War Medal and the Allied Victory Medal.

James Rotherham died in Lowestoft, Suffolk in the early 1970’s.

Paul McCormick
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