REMEMBRANCE DISPATCH No. 52 COMMEMORATES LIEUTENANT FRANK JAMES (SCHOOL HOUSE 1913-1915) WHO WAS KILLED IN ACTION ON 1ST NOVEMBER 1918.
Frank James, the son of a colliery manager from Maesyrhyddid, joined School House from Pontypridd Boys Grammar school in January 1913.
He was academically successful, gaining prizes in each annual Prize Day. He was also a keen games player, and took part in the annual Steeplechase and Fives competitions, as well as playing for the 1st XV. He was a School Prefect.
He left Christ College in July 1915 and followed his father into the mining industry. Although in a reserved occupation, Frank volunteered for service. He received his Commission into the 1st Battalion, South Wales Borderers in time to join the Somme actions in the summer of 1916 at the Battle of Albert, Battle of Bazentin, Battle of Pozieres, Battle of Flers-Courcelette, and Battle of Morval.
On 4th July 1917 Frank was promoted to Lieutenant and saw action in the very bloody Second Battle of Passchendaele. Throughout 1918 Frank again saw action at the Battles of Estaires, Hazebrouck, Bethune, Drocourt-Queant, Epehy, St Quentin Canal, Beaurevoir, and the Battle of Selle.
A few days before the commencement of the Second Battle of Sambre on 1st November 1918, Frank was bringing up rations to his men on the front line when an artillery shell exploded nearby, a piece of the shell killing him.
The Breconian records, “We mourn in him one of our best and most honoured sons”. Buried on 5th November, six days before the Armistice, the last line of his obituary is especially fitting: “so he rests till the day of final victory”.
Lieutenant Frank James is buried at Vaux-Andigny British Cemetery in France. He is remembered on the War Memorial of Pontypridd Boys Grammar school (now at Coedylan Comprehensive school) as well as on the War Memorial at Christ College.
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