1918-2008: Ninety Years of Remembrance

Soldier Record

James Edmonds

Contributed by: Wayne Jacobs, on 2008-11-07

No portrait available
Rank
First Name James
Surname Edmonds
Year of Birth 1899
Year of Death 1985
Regiment King's Regiment (Liverpool)
Place of Wartime Residence Liverpool, Merseyside

James's Story

When WW1 broke out JW left a printer apprenticeship and joined up in his home town Birkenhead to the 10th Liverpool Scottish Regiment 26.7.1915 with his great friend Irwin C Todhunter. He was only 16 and a half years old, as was his friend, but being tall lads they both lied to get enlisted. He was sent to a training camp at Weeton near Blackpool where was stationed with other regiments. Here they lived in tents sunk into the ground on farmland which when it rained it was very boggy and smelt badly of cow dung. Here the army found out he was too young so he was sent to Maidstone in Kent for Home Defence. In Kent however he didn't tell them why he was sent there, and as he seemed okay he was drafted instead.

From here he was sent to Tidworth barracks on Salisbury Plain to be joined with the Gloucesters. He was put in the 2nd/4th Gloucesters ('B'Batallion - under Capt Leadwood from Lancashire). The Liverpool-Scottish regiment, he says, being a kilted-regiment marched brisker than other non-kilted regiments as they had to take bigger steps to enable their kilts to swing properly as the kilt was quite a weight. So, instead of making the Liverpool Scottish Regiment march slower to match the rest the other regiments were made to march faster, and the Liverpool-Scottish Regiment were put at the front of the column when marching.

He was then sent to Southampton and from there embarked by ship to Le Havre. On the way out the captain of the ship heard there were German submarines in the Channel so they turned back and they all had to sleep the night on the dockside in Southampton until next morning.

He fought around Festubert/Givenchy on the Armentieres Front. Whilst in the trenches one day his group saw two pigs lying dead, and as regiment was only on rations they took a pig (a fairly small one) and cooked it for mess. JW at time didn't like pork and so he didn't eat it. Later, those who'd eaten pig were ill with diahorrea and stomach pains. They later found out that pigs had been killed by shrapnel from gas shells.

Whilst in the lines he managed to get promotion to Postman and had to get letters from station for the rest of the men. His family in the meantime had written to the King saying that he was too young to be in the lines and they got a reply from the Kings Secretary. JW was withdrawn from the lines, but by then they had lost half of the regiment and the Captain was dead, and the regiment was recalled as understrength. He went back to batallion HQ then to Divisional HQ then on to the IBD (Infantry Base Depot) at Rouen. From IBD at Rouen then went by boat under cover of darkness down the River Seine then back to England via Le Havre. He was put in charge of two men on the way back to make sure they got back ok to Liverpool HQ. He survived WW1 being 'disembodied' early in 1919.

Other memories

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