[Skip to content]

Person Details
22 Jul 1888
James Ernest was the son of George Thomas and Hannah Smitheringale (nee Green). His father, George Thomas, the son of George and Rebecca Smitheringale, was born in 1859 and baptised on 27 November 1859 in the parish church of Eye, Northamptonshire. His mother, Hannah Green, the daughter of John and Ellen Green, was born in 1864 (J/F/M Oundle Northants) and baptised in the parish church of Yarwell, Northamptonshire, on 31 January 1864. George (23) and Hannah (19) were married in Eye parish church, Northamptonshire, on 30 November 1881; they had at least three children: Sarah Ann b. 4 April 1883 (A/M/J Peterborough), James Ernest b. 22 July 1888 (J/A/S Peterborough) and John George Thomas Owen who was baptised on 17 February 1890 (b. Peterborough). George Thomas Smithergale died at the age of 29 in 1889 (A/M/J Peterborough) and his widow married John Stevenson in 1891 (J/F/M Peterborough). John and Hannah were to have seven children by the time of the 1911 Census: Bertie William, Laura, Ethel May, Lizzie, Maude, Cyril and Muriel Elsie; all the children were born in Peterborough. At the time of the 1891 Census John Stevenson (27, b. Ailsworth Northamptonshire), a railway labourer, and Hannah (27), were living at Garton End, Dogsthorpe, Peterborough, with Hannah's three children, Sarah (8), James (2) and John (1). Also in the household on the night of the census was a visitor, Esther Smithergale (17). By 1901 the family was living at 29 Cobden Street, Peterborough. John Stevenson was now a railway platelayer. Only Hannah's two sons, James (12) and John (11) were still at home, together with her children by John Stevenson: Bertie (9), Laura (7), Ethel (5), Lizzie (4), Maud (2) and Cyril (9 months). By 1911 all three of Hannah's children had left home. She and John were still living in Peterborough but were now at 427 Gladstone Street. John was a foreman platelayer for the Great Northern Railway. All seven of their children were living at home: Bertie (19) an assistant timekeeper with GNR, Laura (17) a dressmaker on her own account working from home, Ethel (15) a general domestic servant, Lizzie (14), Maud (12), Cyril (11) and Muriel (8). James meanwhile had moved to Nottinghamshire where he married Florence Coxall in 1910 (J/A/S Basford) and at the time of the 1911 Census they were living on Scarcliff Street, Mansfield. James was now working as a coal miner. They were to have two daughters Frances E. b. 1912 (J/F/M Mansfield) and Irene M. b. 1914 (J/F/M Mansfield). His brother, John, had also left Peterborough and by 1910 was in Doncaster where on 10 August 1910 he married Pollie Baddiley (A/M/J Doncaster). They were then living at 22 King Street, Doncaster. Their only child, Geoffrey George, was born two years later on 4 January 1912. James' sister, Sarah Ann married Ralph Horace Corke in Westminster, London, on 30 November 1912. James' brother, John, also died in the war. He had attested in the Royal Garrison Artillery (Gunner 99484) in 1915 using the first names 'George Owen'. He was then working as a cellar man. He served at home from 13 June 1916-14 September 1916 and was then in France from 15 September 1916 with the 171st Siege Battery. He died of wounds at No. 46 Casualty Clearing Station on 22 November 1917 (Dozinghem Military Cemetery). In May 1919 his widow, Pollie, completed a form for the army listing her husband's surviving blood relatives: Widow/child: Pollie Smithergale and Geoffrey George Smithergale of 86 Kings Road, Doncaster Mother: Hannah Stevenson, 427 Gladstone Street, Peterborough Brothers full blood: none (James had been killed in 1914) Sisters full blood: Sarah Ann Corke (36), The Firs, Fleet, Hampshire Brothers half blood: Bertie William Stevenson (28), West Bowling, Bradford, and Cyril Stevenson, 427 Gladstone Street, Peterborough Sisters half blood: Laura (25), Ethel May (24), Lizzie (22), Maud (20), Muriel Elsie (16), all of 427 Gladstone Street, Peterborough James' mother, Hannah Stevenson died in 1951 (March Peterborough) aged 87. His stepfather, John Stevenson, died the same year (June Peterborough) also at the age of 87. According to the probate record, John Stevenson was living at 114 Mayor's Walk, Peterborough; his son, Bertie William, a retired police officer, was awarded Administration. James' sister Sarah Ann Corke died in 1970 (June, Devon), aged 87.
At the age of 14 he was employed from 11 February 1903 until 27 May 1903 as a telephone boy for the Midland Railway, earning 6 shillings a week but was dismissed for 'inattention to duty and irregular conduct'. In 1911 he was a coal miner-hewer.
17 Sep 1914
724147 - CWGC Website
Scarcliffe Street, Mansfield.
1st Bn Northamptonshire Regiment
He enlisted on 13 August 1914 and was killed in action just five weeks later on 17 September. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the La Ferte-Sous-Jouarre Memorial.  
Remembered on