Able Seaman John James was born 19th November 1874 St Dogmaels, Pembrokeshire. John had served with the Royal Navy for several years prior to the war, but had left the Navy to return to Cardigan after marrying Annie Rees in 1900.
When the census was taken in April 1911 John, Annie and their son Rees Owen were living with Annie’s sister Bridget and her family at 42 Pendre, Cardigan. John was a Sailor and Annie a Dressmaker.
John was recalled to service at the outbreak of war, serving with the Royal Naval Reserve, aboard the Laurentic. He was 41 years old, when he lost his life.
A number of tributes to John James appeared in the local press in February 1917 including this one in which the Mayor proposed a vote of condolence with Annie and Rees.
Cardigan and Tivyside Advertiser Feb 16th 1917
“A.B. John James, William Street, Cardigan, who lost his life in the sinking of H.M.S. Laurentic recently off the West Coast of Ireland. The deceased was an old R.N.R. man, and was called up at the commencement of the war“.
Cardigan and Tivyside Advertiser Feb 23rd 1917
John’s body was never recovered. He is commemorated on the Plymouth Naval Memorial, Devon.
Royal Naval Reserve Service Records – The National Archives of the UK
Census Returns of England and Wales, 1911. The National Archives of the UK
Thanks to Richard James, John’s great-grandson, for sharing John’s photograph.