James William Whawell (1891–1964)


Royal Field Artillery 1468 & 966701 13/5th Reserve Brigade

Photo courtesy Aubrey Bacon

james William Whawell

Courtesy Aubrey Bacon
James William Whawell – known as Jim – was born in 1891 at Ambergrove, situated between Sawmills and Ambergate. He was the youngest of the five children of Charles Whawell and Emily Mary Hall, with four sisters. Jim was raised at Ambergrove and prior to his military service during the war he had been employed as a wire drawer at the wire works of Richard Johnson and Nephew Ltd at Ambergate.

He attested for service at Derby in January 1915 and was attached to what was informally known as the ‘Derbyshire Artillery’. The Derbyshire Howitzer Batteries of the Royal Field Artillery were part of the Territorial Force, 4th North Midland (Howitzer) Brigade. Jim served with the rank of Gunner in the Royal Field Artillery for the duration of the war. He was stationed in England until being sent to France in October 1915, where his brigade served as part of the 46th (North Midland) Division, which was a formation of the Territorial Force. He remained in France until briefly returning to England in April 1916. Jim returned to France as part of the British Expeditionary Force in August 1916 and remained there for the next two years. Returning to England in August 1918, he subsequently spent two months in hospital in Glasgow for treatment to an abscess on his right thigh. He was demobilised in February 1919. Jim was awarded the Victory Medal and British War Medal, and also the 1915 Star. These medals survive with his grandson in Derbyshire. He was also awarded a medal by the trade union with whom he was affiliated; probably the Wire Workers Union. Jim was awarded a war pension on account of debility caused by an abscessed right thigh and trench foot.

After being discharged from the army, Jim returned to his family in Derbyshire, and to his occupation as a wire drawer at Ambergate, where he remained until his retirement. He married Amy Ethel Turner (née Roe) in 1920. They had one daughter. Amy’s first husband William Henry Turner had been killed in action on the Somme in 1918. The family spent time living at Sawmills and Ambergrove, before settling at Birch Avenue in Ambergate.

James William Whawell

James and his wife Amy in later life

James William Whawell passed away at his daughter’s home at Bullbridge in 1964, aged seventy-two years. He was laid to rest in Belper Cemetery.

Medal Roll Index card
He was awarded the Victory, British War and 15 Star Medals
Entered France 03/10/15

Army Service Record
He attested 28/01/15 at Derby, aged 24, living at Ambergrove, Ambergate. His height was 5ft 9in and the next of kin his father Charles Whawell of Ambergrove, Ambergate. He was awarded the Victory, British War and 14 & 15 Star Medals.
28/01/15 to 02/10/15 Home
03/10/15 to 07/04/16 France
08/04/16 to 23/08/16 Home
24/08/16 to 17/08/18 France
18/08/18 Home
25/02/19 Demobbed

Army Pension Record
He enlisted 28/01/15 aged 24, with a height of 5ft 9in and weight 133lb. He was C of E. Worked as a wire drawer at Richard Johnson & Nephew. Member of the National Deposit Friendly Society. Served with North Midland Howitzer Bde of RFA
17/03/16 Trench feet
08/04/16 to 06/05/16 Boscombe Hospital for Trench Feet;
23/08/16 Embarked from Southampton to Havre
30/09/16 Posted to 47th DAB in the Field
21/01/17 Posted to No. 1 Section
23/01/17 Granted Class 2 Prof. Pay
13/07/17 Attached to 2nd Armu T.M. School
30/07/17 Rejoined from 2nd Army T M School
04/08/17 Posted to 5/235th
31/10/17 Attached to 235 Bde RFA
12/11/17 Rejoined
13/12/17 Granted 14 days leave
15/07/18 Posted to 47th DTM 8/47th
12/08/18 Admitted HCC Station with abscess to thigh and right buttock
14/08/18 Admitted 2 Canadian Gen Hospital, Trapon, with abscess to thigh
17/08/18 Transferred to England per Carisbrook Castle
18/08/18 to 15/10/18 Glasgow hospital for I.C.T right thigh
19/11/18 Posted to 5 Res Btn RFA Catterick
25/02/19 Demobilized
Granted War Pay at 2s per diem (29/09/17) increased to 3s per diem (28/01/18)
He had been in 3rd Stanly Hospital Rouen, 2nd Canadian Gen. Hospital, VAD Craigs Head, Bournmouth and 3rd Scotland Hospital in Glasgow

Carisbrook Castle Hospital Ship

Hospital ship "Carisbrook Casle" on which James travelled to England


1901: Amber Grove, Crich

Forename Surname Relationship Age Occupation Where born
Charles Whawell Head 45 Wiredrawer Heage
Emily Whawell wife 42   Ireton Wood
Jane Whawell daughter 11   Ambergrove
Jas Wm Whawell son 10   Ambergrove

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1911: Ambergrove

Forename Surname Relationship Age Occupation Where born
Charles Whawell Head 55 Wiredrawer Heage
Emily May Whawell wife 52   Ireton Wood
Jinny Whawell daughter 21   Crich
James William Whawell son 20 Wiredrawer Crich
Charles Whawell grandson 11 mo   Crich

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1918 Crich voters
James Whawell, Ambergrove; absent on military service.