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Reginald Valpy James


2nd Lieutenant Reginald Valpy James, Indian Army Reserve of Officers, attd. Railway Depot, Indian Railways. He was born on the 5th February 1878 in Bristol. He was educated at Clifton College from 1888-1892. His father was Rector George Burder James, St. Philips, Bristol. Mother Ellen Eliza James. His parents married in 1877 (April-June) in Bradfield, Berkshire.

Christened 19th March 1878 in Bristol.

1881 census staying with his grandfather, Anthony B. Valpy, the Rector of Stanford Dingley, Berkshire. Parents at 24 King Square. They were

Name Relation Age Occupation Where born
Antony Bird Valpy Head 48 Rector of Stanford Dingley Reading, Berks
Anna Valpy Wife 51   Woodbridge, Suffolk
Annie Laura Valpy Daughter 22 Rectors Daughter India
Florence Maud Valpy Daughter 18 Rectors Daughter Cambridge
Reginald Valpy James Grandson 3 Rectors Grandson Bristol
Mary Ann Waters Servant 23 Housemaid Domestic Servant Thuxton, Norfolk

Antony Bird Valpy went to the Church of Madras College in 1852. He was ordained deacon by the Bishop of Lichfield in 1855, and went out to Tinnevelly. There he worked untill 1861 , when he returned home. He became afterwards Rector of Stanford Dingley. He died in 1900 in Bradfield, Berkshire.

1891 census with parents at 24 King Square. They were

Name Relation Age Occupation Where born
George B. James Head 58 Rector Brixton, Surrey
Ellen E. James Wife 34   Palamcottah, India
Elizabeth Smeeton Servant 23 Domestic Servant Bristol
Reginald V. James Son 13 Scholar Bristol
Mary G. Yeandle Servant 29 Cook Bristol
Ellen Yeandle Servant 20 Housemaid Sumberscombe, Somerset

His father was Rector at St. Philips Church in Bristol. The church's website is here

As far as we can tell he only played for Clifton once on the 30th September 1893 v Bath. For more details click here

The 1881 census says his mother was born in Hindostan. 1891 census says Palamcottah, India. Checking the census for Ellen Valpy the Rector Anthony Bird Valpy and his wife Anna and family (5 daughters and a son) with Ellen born in the East Indies.

In 1895 Reginald Valpy James obtained a degree from the University of London. It says his school was Dean Close, Cheltenham.

His fathers last entry at King Square is in 1900.

In the 1901 census Reginald James is not found. His future wife Katherine Wadsworth was living at Chinta, Pelham Road, Ryde, Isle of Wight with her mother Grace Wadsworth (69), sisters Annie L. Wadsworth (a school teacher, 33), Ethel M. Wadsworth (29)

His father, George Burder James, died in 1904 (April-June) in Bristol aged 71.

He married Katherine Norma Wadsworth on the 15th April 1905 at Bristol Register Office. M.L.Richards and A.E.Cowles were witnesses. She was the daughter of John Wadsworth (born abt. 1825 Halifax, Died 1887) the Vicar of St. Clements, Portland Square, Bristol and lived at 4 Portland Square in 1881. She was born in 1877 in Bristol. The family were originally from Yorkshire.

During the 1911 census Reginald was living with his mother Glenholme, Greenfield Avenue, Stourbridge. He was a school master at King Edward School in Stourbridge. It didn't mention weather he was single or married.

Name Relation Age Occupation Where born
Ellen E. James Widow 55 Private Means India
Reginald V. James Son 33 School Master. King Edward VI School, Stourbridge Bristol
Lily Lane Servant 29 Servant. Cook Welshpool, Wales

His mother, Ellen Eliza James, died in 1911 (April-June) in Bristol aged 54

He enlisted on the 9th September 1914, 6 days after Britain declared war on Germany, aged 34 years and 216 days in Bristol. His trade is described as Tutor, Height 5' 10", Weight 187 lbs, Chest 42", Complexion Dark, Eyes Brown, Hair Dark. Religion Church of England

Above his signature from his enlisting papers dated 9th September 1914.

He was with the Royal Army Medical Corps 1914-1915, Royal Engineer 1915-1918, Acting Quarter Master Sergeant Royal Engineers.

He was sent to Aldershot on the 9th September 1914 for training as a Private in the R.A.M.C.

He was promoted to a Corporal in the R.A.M.C. on the 20th November 1914. He was a Despatch Rider. On the 12th June 1915 he was transferred to the Royal Engineers in the field. On the 2nd July 1915 he was tried for being drunk on active service and demoted. On the 26th September 1915 he was in Rosberville VAD Hospital for for Septic Ulcer Boils. On the 26th December he was treated at the Red Cross Hospital in Portishead for Multiple Boils. On the 1st April 1916 he was reported Drunk at Houghton Regis and then causing a nuisance at 9.30pm. He received 14 days CB. On the 17th November 1916 he was drunk on parade at Stony Stratford and fined. He was transferred to Royal Engineers Dunstable Signal Depot on the 23rd November 1916. He was twice promoted to Corporal and then demoted to Pioneer.

He embarked for Mesopotamia on the 11th February 1917. He moved to the Signal Service Park No.44 on the 27th October 1917.He was posted to the Railway Department on the 6th February 1918.

He was transferred to Class "Z" Army Reserve on demobilization on the 18th November 1919.

Between 1914 and 1919 Reginald V. James is listed as living at Glenholme, 6 Royal Terrace, Portishead.

He spoke both French and Hindustani.

The King approved his admission to the Indian Army Reserve of Officers on the 4th October 1918. He was attached to the Railway Directorate in Bagdad.

He died on the 15th July 1919 in Murree and is listed by the Commonwealth and War Graves Commission has having died in World War 1. His profession is listed at Lieutenant No. 9 Works Comp. The cause of death is listed as Cardiac Failure due to Accidental Overdose of Chloral.

He was buried at Murree on the 16th July 1919 by Chaplin W. W. Castle. Murree lies at approx 6000 ft at the foot of Himalayas in Pakistan. It is an alpine hill-station in the North of Punjab province bordering the Kashmir region that lies on a horizontal ridge running in East-West direction.

Above the grave of Reginald Valpy James in the Pindi Point (Noor Ahata) or New Cemetery in Murree, Punjab, Pakistan. The cross is missing. The cemetery is on a hill and has three levels or terraces. The grave's location is on the middle level, on the right side while facing the valley. Image courtesy of Dr. Ali Jan who has a website at

On the 11th April 1921 the Adjutant General at Army Headquarters, India wrote to the Royal Engineers, Chatham saying his whereabouts were unknown. This was in response to the Manager at Cox & Co, Bankers, Bombay request on the 4th January 1921 wanting to know his whereabouts.

His service record is large, 40 pages long.

Above the terraces of Pindi Point (Noor Ahata) or New Cemetery in Murree, Punjab, Pakistan from the west.  Image courtesy of Dr. Ali Jan who has a website at

He is remembered with honour on the Karachi 1914-1918 War Memorial. Karachi War Cemetery lies a few miles from the centre of Karachi, to the north-east on National Stadium Road and can be reached by taxi. It is now surrounded by the naval colony and is adjacent to the new naval cemetery. The easiest way to reach the War Cemetery from the city centre is to go the the National Stadium and follow the road leading to Dalmia in which the airport is situated. From the airport follow the reverse road from Dalmia to the National Stadium and the Cemetery is situated to the left hand side of National Stadium Road. Owing to constant problems the direction signs have been removed but attempts will be made at resiting them The Memorial is located at the rear of the cemetery opposite the entrance feature. The names commemorated on the memorial are of those who served in garrisons and died in Pakistan (formerly India) during the 1914-1918 War and who lie buried in civil and cantonment cemeteries (excluding those graves lying west of the river Indus).

Above Karachi 1914-1918 War Memorial.

Above his name is on the Portishead Memorial on the North Wall at St. Peter's. It was placed over and blocked a medieval door to the North side of the church. It includes the 64 men who gave their lives in the First World War (one quarter of the eligible male population of Portishead) and the 33 in the Second.  The memorial was first dedicated on 4th August 1921, seven years to the day from the outbreak of World War 1.  On the outside wall behind the War Memorial the original north doorway into the church can be seen. Children are told that this is the Devil's Doorway - it is a blind doorway, so he cannot get in! Blocking the doorway was perhaps another way of saying that the people of Portishead wanted nothing more to do with the evil (Devil) that the carnage of the First War represented. Images courtesy of Andrew Upton. Taken in 2007.

The name Valpy has connections, going back, with the East India Company.

An enquiry was made about him via the Officers Families Fund on 20th November 1935.