Rifleman Robert James, aged 19

 

1918, the last year of the War, witnessed the huge German Spring offensive. This was eventually repulsed but not before it claimed the life of Rifleman Robert James, aged 19

 

Robert was born in Dilwyn on 22 February 1899, the fifth child of Martha and farm labourer William James. The family later moved to Yew Tree Cottage, Stoke Lacy where Martha James died of ovarian cancer in 1913, aged 46.

 

Robert James was a rifleman in the The King’s (Liverpool Regiment).

On the day he was killed, 9 April 1918, the KLR fought its most

famous action in WW1. It was holding the line at Festubert, one of

the primary objectives of the German offensive.

 

At 4.10am the enemy opened an intense phosgene gas bombardment,

which continued until 8am at which point high explosives replaced the

gas.

 

At about 7.30am German infantry attacked the Festubert line from two

directions; the two left flank companies were overwhelmed. In a

desperate fight, the attackers were eventually repulsed, but at a heavy

cost: 34 men from the KLR were killed, 26 of them missing in action.

 

Robert James, who has no known grave, is commemorated at the Loos Memorial, near Lens, Pas de Calais.

Source: E Wyrall [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons  https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Battle_of_Festubert,_15-25_May_1915.jpg

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