Private, 5/1562A, James McWilliam(23) – Killed in Action

2nd Wellington Regiment, New Zealand Expeditionary Force, 21st September 1916

Synopsis of Life and Military Service

James McWilliam was born on 29 April 1893 and following his emigration enlisted at New Zealand on 11 January 1915, he had been employed as a Farm Labourer at that time. His address was given as Wallacetown, Invercargill, South Island, New Zealand. During his attestation his details were given as follows:-

  • Age – 22 years
  • Height – 5’8”
  • Weight – 150llbs
  • Chest – 34 – 38 Max
  • Complexion – Fresh
  • Eyes – Dark Brown
  • Hair – Auburn
  • Religion – Presbyterian

On enlistment, he joined the Otago Regiment, moving onto the Divisional Train as a driver on the 5 April 1915, The Train provided horse-drawn transport for the formation known as a Division. It usually comprised a small Train Headquarters, one Headquarters Company, three other Horse Transport Companies and a contingent of other troops (known as Army Troops), all of the Army Service Corps. On the 29 March 1916 he was posted to the 2nd Wellington Regiment.

His embarkation is shown as 14 February 1915 to 26 March 1915 from Wellington, New Zealand to Suez, Egypt on board HMNZT 17, 18 or 19, vessel was Maunganui or Tahiti or Aparima. He served in the Egyptian Theatre of War from 27 March 1915 and sometime in 1916 was posted to Western Europe.

James was injured on the 15 September 1916 and he was to die from these wounds on the 21 September 1916 and buried at Heilly Station Cemetery, Mericourt-L’Abbe, Somme, France.

Heilly Station Cemetery, Mericourt-L’Abbe, Somme, France where James McWilliam is honoured and buried. © CWGC

Family

James McWilliam was born about 29 April 1893.

In the 1901 Census James is shown as aged 7 years and a scholar, his family was shown as:-

  • Mother – Anne (Annie) Smith or McWilliam born circa 1864
  • Father – James McWilliam born c.1858
  • Sister – Jessie McWilliam born c.1887
  • Brother – Alexander McWilliam born c.1889
  • Brother – William McWilliam born c.1891
  • Sister – Annie McWilliam born c.1896
  • Sister – Gabella McWilliam born c.1899
  • Sister – Elizabeth McWilliam born C 1901 (died in infancy)
  • Brother – Robert McWilliam, born 13 May 1906 at Boharm, Banffshire.

The family gravestone at Boharm Churchyard reads:-  IN LOVING MEMORY OF JAMES MCWILLIAM WHO DIED AT BLACKPARK, BOHARM, 14TH MAY 1931 AGED 74. HIS WIFE ANNE SMITH WHO DIED 4TH DEC. 1934 AGED 71. THEIR DAUGHTER ELIZABETH WHO DIED IN INFANCY. THEIR SON JAMES WHO DIED OF WOUNDS 21ST SEP. 1916 AGED 23. “THY WILL BE DONE.”

The Grave of James McWilliam – © New Zealand War Graves Project.
The Grave of James McWilliam – © Philippe DEGROOTE

Addresses

  • 1915 – From the Attestation papers and family headstone the address is shown as Blackpark, Boharm, Dufftown, Banffshire.

Medals

Following his death, James McWilliam was awarded the 1914-15 Star, Victory and British War Medals.

Memorials

He is honoured and remembered on the following memorials :-

Links to Additional Information

References

  • Commonwealth War Graves Commission
  • New Zealand War Records – James McWilliam
  • 1901 Census
  • Auckland War Memorial Museum Website
  • The Great Nephew of James McWilliam (Has his birth cert and a brothers details)
  • New Zealand War Graves Project

Groups

Contributor:-

  • Vincent Stuart
  • Philippe DEGROOTE (Grave Photo)

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