James Henry Swann


About James Henry

  • Name
    James Henry
  • Initials
    J H
  • Surname
  • Date of Birth
    17 December 1890
  • Birth town
  • Resided town
    Birmingham and Jarrow; Erie, New York, USA
  • Commemorated
  • Nationality
  • Place of death
  • Date of death
  • Married
  • Occupation
    Glass Blower Brass Tube Works, Yarrow

Service Information

  • Army

  • Service Number
  • Rank
  • Regiment
    Royal Field Artillery


James Henry Swann (or Swan) was born in 1890 in Birmingham to parents James, a glassmaker, and Mary Ellen (nee Parry). In 1891, James Henry, aged three months was living at 44 Victoria Street, Harborne, Smethwick with James (24), Mary Ellen (24), and sisters Edith (3) and Annie (2).  By 1901, the family had moved to Northumberland and were living at 46 Swindon Street, Hebburn, Jarrow.  His father, James was listed as a brickmaker and they also now had a younger brother William, aged six.

James Henry was 18 years old when he enlisted with the Royal Field Artillery at Jarrow on 18 February 1909.  He was 5’7” tall with a 35” chest and weighed 144lbs.  On the 1911 Census James, aged 20, was listed as a Gunner with the 29th Brigade Royal Field Artillery, 125th Battery and stationed at Louisberg Barracks, Bordon, Hampshire.  In August 1912, he smashed his right leg, fracturing both bones, when a gun overturned at Shorncliff practice camp and he was admitted to the Military Hospital, Devonport.

In 1915, James Henry married Gertrude Thompson at West Bromwich.

In February 1915, he was appointed Acting Bombardier with the 28th Brigade and promoted to Bombardier in July of that year.  In March 1917, whilst in France he developed appendicitis and was admitted to hospital in Etaples and then repatriated to the Military Hospital, Norwich.  He was released from hospital on light duties on 14 April 1917.  This was the day he came through Peterborough East Station when he was possibly going back to either West Bromwich or Jarrow.  He wrote in the visitors’ book “Woman is the Root of all evil Saith a man & Man is the Tree Thereof Saith a Woman.  Thanking you for your Hospitality.”

 James was appointed Acting Sergeant in June 1918 and was discharged on 11 May 1919 with the rank of Sergeant.  His address was 36 Roebuck Lane, West Bromwich.  Following his medical report on discharge he was awarded 20% disability following fracturing both bones in his right leg in 1912, which resulted in him suffering pain and lameness in wet weather.  He was awarded the British War and Allied Victory medals.

In 1922, James Henry and Gertrude emigrated to the USA.  They had two sons both born in the USA, Roy (1922) and Leslie (1924).  In 1930, the family were living at Meadowlawn Avenue, Hamburg, Erie, New York and James was a steel mill machinist.  In 1940, they were living at Elm Avenue Road, Orchard Park, Erie.  James died in 1977.

Could James be a member of your family.  do get in touch if you can tell us more about him.


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