Thomas James was born on the 11th June 1895 in Dutton and was the second child of Thomas Smith and Lucy Wardle (formerly Gunton) who had married in 1893 – Lucy was Thomas Smith’s second wife and was originally from Essex. Thomas Smith had been born in 1857 and was a travelling bricklayer. He had married his first wife, Elizabeth Jeff from Frodsham Bridge in 1880 but she had died in 1892.
Thomas James’s older sisters, Alice and Lucy, were born around 1884 and1894. Another sister, Rachel Mary was born in 1896.
By 1901 the family were living in Northwich Road in Dutton but Thomas’s mother had died in 1898. His father was now working as a brick maker. Also living in the house with them was Thomas’s grandmother, Martha Wardle.
In 1906 his father re-married and by 1911 the family were living in Aston. Thomas was working as a labourer in one of the chemical factories whilst his father was now working as a “roadman” for the District Council. Only Thomas and his sister, Rachel, were living with his father and his step-mother, Jane.
Prior to enlisting in the army, Thomas was employed as a gardener and lived in Aston, Preston Brook. Thomas worshipped at the chapel on Aston Lane.
He joined the Royal Garrison Artillery in Frodsham on the 9th September 1915 (service number 54769) and was sent for training to Depot No 4 at Great Yarmouth on the 13th September. After his initial training he was posted as a gunner to No 85 Company on the 1st December 1915. The Company was serving in Bombay (now Mumbai). Thomas spent the first twenty-three days in India in Colaba Hospital suffering from impetigo, a contagious skin disease. On the 13th April 1916 the Company was transferred to Aden and Thomas was transferred to No 69 Company on the 1st April 1918. In May 1918 he had another spell in hospital, this time for six days suffering from Sandfly fever.
Thomas set sail from Aden in March 1919 and after arriving at Dover was given 28 days leave before being “demobbed” on the 8th May. He was entitled to the Victory Medal and the British War Medal.
On the 10th November 1925 Thomas and Mollie Meredith Bolver were married at the parish church of St. Peter’s in Oughtrington near Lymm. He was 30 years old and she was 31 years old.
Nellie had been born on the 17th February 1894 in Runcorn and was one of four children to Thomas and Bertha Bolver, Her father was a joiner and cabinet maker. In 1901 they lived in Helsby but by 1911 had returned to Runcorn.
By the time of his father’s death in 1934, Thomas with the help of Nellie, was working the dairy farm at Northwich Corner in Aston. After he retired from the farm, Thomas and Nellie moved to Hope near Wrexham.
Thomas had several heart attacks and died on the 23rd April 1983.
After his death Nellie moved to live with her nephew, John Edward Lister at his home in Battle near Hastings and died on the 23rd October 1990.