George Cale James
Great Great Uncle
13 Aug 1875
Military Record of George Cale James
August 1875 - 12 November 1956
The following information
was kindly provided by Robert James the grandson of George Cale
George Cale James was
from a large family living in the 1880's in a poor area of Wales.
Mary James (wife of his son Hugh Murray James) writes in November
1985... "It was on a trip that we made an effort to find the James
group. We drove to Wales and marveled at the beauty of the country.
We could also understand why, when the chance came he (George Cale
James) joined the army and went with Lord Kitchener's forces to
South Africa. At the age of 8 he was in the mines - a very hard
life. His father was a poor farmer and, according to Grandpa James
(my dad George Godfrey James) - "very cruel". How did all this cruelty
get going? It was a large family in a poor area and you can reach
for any number of novels to fill in the details of those days for
- England: Joined Grenadier Guards as Private 25 January, 1895.
Height 5' - 10 1/2", Wt. 170 lb., Age 19Y-5Mo., Fresh Complexion,
Hazel eyes, Dark Brown Hair. Trade or calling: Farm Servant. (From
Short Service Application and Military History Sheet obtained in
the UK by Murray James).
Within 9 months was
made drill instructor, at Caterham Depot and a year later, busbied
and scarlet jacketed, he was doing duty as Queen's Orderly at Buckingham
Palace. Did guardsman's duty at Wellington Palace, Chelsea, Windsor
Barraks and at the Tower of London, and was instructor to the men
who later directed the land forces of Britain in the second world
war. In this connection, in the Canadian Bank of Commerce magazine,
July, 1938, an interview with Mr. James records, his remarks: "Viscount
Gort was one of them, an efficient young officer he was. I taught
him drill. They were pretty good in the Guards, but there was Prince
Alexander of Battenburg (the family name was changed to Mountbatten
during the war). He used to ask for leave from drill to go to the
station on occasion to see his sister, the 'Queen of Spain' off.
Referring to his duties,
he said he often saw Queen Victoria, but she was then a very old
woman and things were not very lively at the palace, though she
often went for drives and held a few levees, but - "it was not like
in King Edward's reign with the pageantry of his coronation and
brief reign." King Edward was very friendly, and often stopped to
chat with the attention - stiffened guardsmen in his palace corridors,
and with veteran campaigners on parade. Sergeant James was picked
with 12 other grenadiers as pallbearers at the funeral of King Edward,
and walked beside the flag - draped bier resting on the gun carriage,
along with a foreign cousin of the King, the Emperor of Germany.
Later Sergeant James was in the guard of honor for the coronation
of King George V."
PROMOTIONS / APPOINTMENTS:
04 July, 1898: Promoted to Corporal; 01 June, 1901: Promoted; 04
November, 1905: Promoted to Sgt.; 11 May, 1910: Appointed Asst.
Drill Sgt.; 24 April, 1912: Appointed Drill Sgt.; 31 May 1913: Discharged
as Drill Sgt., at own request w/ 18 yrs. & 131 days service; Character:
Very good, sober and hardworking; Emigrated to Canada in 1913 and
joined the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce in Winnipeg.
SERVICE HOME & ABROAD:
Home: 21 Jan. 1895 to 22 Sep. 1899; Gibraltar: 23 Sep. 1899
to 25 Oct. 1899; South Africa: 26 Oct. 1899 to 06 Oct. 1902; Home:
07 Oct. 1902 to 31 May 1913.
MEDALS AND DECORATIONS:
Medal for Long Service and Good Conduct; Royal Victorian Medal (Bronze);
Medals for service in South Africa covering battles between November
1899 and August 1900, including: Belmont (Nov 1899), Modder River
(Nov 1899), Drefontein (March 1900), Johannesburg (May 1900) , Diamond
Hill (June 1900), Belfast (Aug 1900), and the King's South Africa
Medal & Clasps (bars), 1901 & 1902 which was awarded to all who
were serving in South Africa on or after 1st January 1902, and who
would complete eighteen months service before 1st June 1902.
Queen's Orderly, Buckingham Palace. Member of Guard of Honor
at Coronation of King George V. Also, according to Graham James
he was awarded his Victorian medal for services as a bearer at the
funeral of King Edward VII. From a newspaper article (probably Winnipeg,
about 1915) titled, "Long Distinguished Military Career - New 100th
Ajutant is Thorough Soldier", with photo caption, "LIEUTENANT G.
C. JAMES Adjutant of the One Hundredth battalion who had a picturesque
career in the British army." ... In March,1904 he was chosen pallbearer
to F. M., H.R.H. the late Duke of Cambridge, K. G., and in 1907
he acted in a similar capacity for Major-General Sir H. E. Colville.
In 1910 the then Sergeant James was selected to be one of the late
King Edward's (12) pallbearers, receiving from King George the Royal
Victoria Order medal. In 1911 he was appointed sergeant-major over
the Oxford and Cambridge cadets at Bisley Camp. For his services
in this respect he was complimented by the late Lord Roberts who
conferred upon him a bronze medal. At Windsor, in 1912, he was in
charge of a bearer party for the Late Duke of Fife, on his arrival
by special train at Windsor. Two years ago this spring he was presented
with a long service and good conduct medal. When the seventy-eighth
battalion was formed here Mr. James was appointed sergeant-major.
He acted in that capacity until his transfer to the One Hundredth
battalion where a commission was conferred upon him in recognition
of his services.
- Canada: According to the Chemainus Herald, Thursday, November
15, 1956, ... Joined 78th Canadian Battalion 2 August, 1915, as
Regimental Sergeant Major. Promoted to Lieutenant, 100th Battalion,
Canadian (Winnipeg) Grenadiers, 1 December, 1915, and to Captain
15 February, 1916. He returned to England as captain and adjutant
of the regiment and became commanding officer in charge of training
at Aldershot (Reference No. 1). The Officers Declaration Paper dated
26 November, 1917 states his Unit as the 1st Depot Battalion, Manitoba
Regiment, Rank: Lieut. Discharged and returned to employment at
the Canadian Bank of Commerce 7 July, 1920. Moved to Victoria, British
Columbia, in 1946. Member of the Canadian Legion Branch No. 191.
From the National Archives
of Canada, Online, Soldiers of the First World War: Names: JAMES,
GEORGE COLE Regimental number: 147001 Rank: CPT Reference: RG 150,
Accession 1992-93/166, Box 4773 - 4 Date of Birth (DD/MM/YYYY) 13/08/1875
According to his death
certificate, George had Canadian citizenship. He died at Chemainus
General Hospital, North Cowichan, Chemainus, British Columbia.
2005 Gerald Majumdar