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Person Details
26 Feb 1886
Teddington Middlesex
William James (served as James William) was the son of James and Elizabeth Louisa Ward (nee Lamming). His father James Ward was born in Northamptonshire and his mother Elizabeth (Eliza) Louisa Lamming in Boston, Lincolnshire (birth registered 1861 J/F/M Boston Lincolnshire). They were married in 1884 (A/M/J Boston Lincolnshire) and according to the 1911 Census had six chldren although only five have so far been traced: William James (also James William) b. Teddington 26 February 1886 (A/M/J Islington London), Henry Joseph C. b. Middlesex 1887 (O/N/D Pancras London), Mary Gertrude b. Teddington 1891 (Kingston Surrey), Helen Alice b. Bourne 1892 (A/M/J Bourne Lincolnshire) and Alfred Atkin b. Boston 27 January 1896 (J/F/M Boston Lincolnshire) bap. 11 January 1898 St Barnabus Grimsby. In 1891 James (32) an engine driver, and Eliza (31) were living in Teddington, Middlesex. They had three children, William James (5), Henry (3) and Mary (4 months). The family was living in Lincolnshire by 1892 as two chlldren were born there, Helen in 1892 and Alfred in 1896. However, by 1901 Elizabeth (40), described as a widow, was living at 24 Bellar Gate, Nottingham, and working as a laundress. Three of her children were living with her: Gertie (Mary Gertrude) aged 10, Nellie (Helen) aged 8 and Alfred (5). James William and Henry Joseph have not yet been traced on the 1901 census. In 1911 Elizabeth (51) was living at 3 East Wells Street, Nottingham. She was described as married (27 years) although she was listed as a widow on the 1901 Census. In the home with her were four of her children: Henry Joseph (23) a smith (shoer), Mary (20) who was a plater for the National Telephone Company, Helen (18) a polisher (metal) and Alfred (15) who was a labourer. Also in the household were three male boarders. James William was serving in HMS Speedwell James' younger brother Alfred served in the Royal Warwickshire Regiment (1915 Private) and was killed on 1 July 1916, the first day of the Battle of the Somme (Thiepval Memorial). A casualty report in the local paper on 8 September 1916 published photographs of James and his brother Alfred. James' address was given as formerly of 38 Edgar Rise, Nottingham, but a family notice published earlier in the July and RN records give his address, and that of his mother, as 50 Hobmoor Road, Small Heath, Birmingham. Alfred's address was given in the newspaper report as 1 Chatsworth Grove, Alfred Street, Nottingham, although from an army record he too appears to have lived at Small Heath. The later CWGC record for James gives only his mother's name (Elizabeth) and her address as Boston, Lincolnshire. No next of kin is given on Alfred's CWGC record. James' brother Henry Joseph probably married Mary J Goodwin in 1915 (O/N/D Nottingham) and may have continued to live in Nottingham as he placed a notice of his brothers' deaths in the local paper in July 1916.
James joined the Royal Navy on 21 August 1905
31 May 1916
3038993 - CWGC Website
Leading Stoker
HMS Black Prince Royal Navy
James joined the Royal Navy as a Stoker 2nd Class on 21 August 1905 on a 12 year continuous service engagement. He served in the following ships and shore establishments: HMS Nelson, 21 August 1905-23 January 1906 (Stoker 2nd Class);Victory !!, 24 January 1906-12 March 1906; HMS Cressy, 13 March 1906-2 September 1907 (Stoker 1st Class 15 August 1906); HMS Edgar, 3 September 1907-9 October 1907; HMS Powerful, 10 October 1907-15 May 1908; Run [deserted] Sydney; Victory II, 1 September 1908-23 October 1908; HMS Canopus, 24 October-1 November 1909; HMS Duncan, 2 November 1909-8 August 1910; Victory II, 9 August 1910-20 September 1910; HMS Speedwell, 21 September 1910-18 June 1911; 10 days cells; Victory II, 29 June 1911-3 August 1911; HMS New Zealand, 4 August 1911-17 March 1914; Victory II, 18 March 1911-20 April 1914; HMS Black Prince, 21 April 1914-31 May 1916 (Acting Leading Stoker 14 October 1915). His RN record is annotated: ‘Run [deserted] 15 June 1908 [HMS] Powerful Sydney, NL8526/7.8.08 Recovered from desertion and sent to ‘Victory’ Record 5.8.08 and sentenced to 38 days HL.’. Also ‘Tried by (-) on 18/2/14 and sentenced to 2 years HL and dismissed. Sentence (-) and man to return service’. Also ‘NP4065/1916. DD [Discharged Dead] 31st May, 1916. Killed in action.’ James' last ship was HMS Black Prince and he was killed at the Battle of Jutland on 31 May 1916, the official date of death for the majority of Black Prince casualties although she was not sunk until 0200 on 1 June. James' body was not recovered for burial and he is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial, Panel 17. HMS Black Prince was sunk at Jutland on May 31st 1916. The circumstances surrounding her loss were unclear for many years because there were no positive sightings of Black Prince after 17.42. Recent historians hold to the German account of the ship's sinking. Black Prince briefly engaged the German battleship Rheinland at about 23:35 GMT, scoring two hits with 6-inch shells. Separated from the rest of the British fleet, Black Prince approached the German lines at approximately midnight. She turned away from the German battleships, but it was too late. The German battleship Thüringen fixed Black Prince in her searchlights and opened fire. Up to five other German ships, including battleships Nassau, Ostfriesland, and Friedrich der Grosse, joined in the bombardment, with return fire from Black Prince being ineffective. Most of the German ships were between 750 and 1500 yards of Black Prince - effectively point blank range for contemporary naval gunnery. Black Prince was hit by at least twelve heavy shells and several smaller ones, sinking within 15 minutes. There were no survivors from Black Prince's crew, all 857 being killed.
Nottingham Evening Post, ‘Roll of Honour’, 31 July 1916: ‘Ward. Killed in action, July 1st, Pte AA Ward (Dick) Royal Warwickshires; also Leading Stoker JW Ward, lost with HMS Black Prince May 31st, 50 Hobmoor-road, Small Heath, Birmingham, formerly 38 Edgar Rise, Nottingham, brother and sister Joe and Pollie.’ (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) Nottingham Evening Post, 8 September 1916; Photographs with caption: ‘Left: Pte AA Ward (Royal Warwicks), 1, Chatsworth Grove, Alfred St., Nottingham, killed in action July 1st. Right: Leading Stoker JW Ward, lost with HMS Black Prince, late of 38 Edgar Rise, Nottingham’ (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk)
Remembered on


  • John William Ward -
  • ‘Left: Pte AA Ward (Royal Warwicks), 1, Chatsworth Grove, Alfred St., Nottingham, killed in action July 1st. Right: Leading Stoker JW Ward, lost with HMS Black Prince, late of 38 Edgar Rise, Nottingham’ (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk)
    Nottingham Evening Post 8/9/1916 (Page 5) - ‘Left: Pte AA Ward (Royal Warwicks), 1, Chatsworth Grove, Alfred St., Nottingham, killed in action July 1st. Right: Leading Stoker JW Ward, lost with HMS Black Prince, late of 38 Edgar Rise, Nottingham’ (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk)