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James Basil Williams enlisted in the Territorial Force at Southport on 19th May 1917. Prior to joining the military, he had been working as an orange grower in California.

By the end of the year, Lance Corporal Williams had chosen to commission as an officer. He moved to Park Hall Camp, Oswestry for officer training.

On 30th December 1917, James was found dead in a hut that he used to study. This hut he rented privately outside of the camp.

Mrs Robinson, wife of another soldier, found James in a pool of blood with his throat cut. He had apparently cut his own throat with a razor while sitting in an easy chair, and subsequently fell to the floor.

His brother, Alfred, an engineer, identified the body. Alfred stated that when he had last seen James on 3rd November, he had complained of sleeplessness; although in a more recent letter he seemed more cheerful. There was no insanity in the family. Their mother had died the previous March, which had caused James a great deal of worry.

James was announced dead on arrival at Oswestry Military Hospital.

A jury concluded that James had committed suicide during temporary insanity. He was buried in Toxteth Park cemetery, Liverpool.

Senior officers expressed sympathy with the family, describing James as an excellent soldier that was getting on well his work.

Rank: Private
Service No: 204811
Date of Death: 30/12/1917
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 4th (Reserve) Bn.
Cemetery: LIVERPOOL (TOXTETH PARK) CEMETERY

Paul McCormick
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Paul McCormick

Paul McCormick is the creator and administrator for the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment website. Since 2010 he has been researching the soldiers that served during the First World War and sharing their stories on his website. You can contact Paul through the website 'Contact Me' page or on Twitter and Facebook.
Paul McCormick
Contact me

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