Private James William Reeves in uniform.

Private James William Reeves

World War I

Regiment: 22477, 7th Bn. King’s Shropshire Light Infantry

Date of death: 18th August 1916

Place of Death: France

Burial information: Remembered on Thiepval Memorial, France, Pier and Face 12A and 12D

James William Reeves was born at Kingswood, near Albrighton, on 22nd October 1884, the eldest son of James William Reeves and Elizabeth (nee Evans), and he was baptised in Albrighton Church 4th November 1886. The family lived at Honeysuckle Cottage, 65 High Street, now demolished, and replaced by a short parade of shops. James senior worked as a labourer and bricklayer, and young James followed him in the trade, having also been a teamster, looking after horses.

He volunteered for service in November 1914, joining the 7th Battalion King’s Shropshire Light Infantry, along with his friends Thomas Houghton (also on the Memorial) and George Wedge (a distant cousin). Most of the documents about his service have been destroyed, but the Regiment’s history shows they landed at Boulogne 28th September 1915. James was involved in a number of actions, culminating on the Somme in August 1916, when his battalion attacked a trench south-east of Montauban (known afterwards as the Shropshire Trench), suffering 38 casualties, James being one – this was on 18th August 1916.

His body was never found, but he is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, along with thousands of others.

Two of James’ brothers also served – one in the Artillery, the other in the Hussars. Both survived. The youngest brother was too young to serve in the First War and was in a reserved occupation in the Second.

Albrighton Parish Council would like to thank Reverend Paul Chavasse, great-nephew of Private James Reeves for kindly supplying information.