Rank or Title
Date of Birth
Date of Death
18 Sep 1919
Media files and documents
Place of Birth
World War I Address
Place of Death
Soldier or Civilian
James William Swain was born in West Hampstead, Middlesex in 1895.
Aged 16 & working as a butcher's boy in 1911, he is living with his father Jabez 39, a cab driver, his mother Mary Ann 49 & his 3 brothers Jack 13, Arthur 11 & 9 year old Horace at No 18 Arthur Street.
In 1915 James was working at a munitions factory.
He joined the Northamptonshire regiment on 4th August 1916 & on 8th December 1916 was sent to France.
He needed medical attention during his service as he was granted furlough from 13th to 17th October 1917 from Northumberland War Hospital, Gosforth, Newcastle-on-Tyne to his home address of 17 Hill Side Road, Luton, then later on 26th February 1918, he was discharged from 2nd Eastern General Hospital Brighton as now fit for duty.
James rejoined his regiment that were supporting the Australian Army in the actions at Villiers-Bretonneux which lasted several months from April 1918.
Whilst fighting in the Third Battle of the Aisne- Chemin Des Dames, he was captured on the 27th May 1918 at Berry au Bac. He was taken as a prisoner of war & the last place he was interned was Merseberg Camp which was in the German state of Saxony-Anhalt on the river Saale. It held up to 25,000 prisoners from which men were drafted to work camps.
On his return home from the War, T Lye & Sons, the chemical manufacturers in Luton, wrote to him on 5th March 1919 offering James employment but can't confirm if he did take up this offer, as sadly on the 18th September 1919 he died in Bute Hospital. He is buried in the cemetery on Crawley Green Road.