The Men from Hyde – James Charles Lovelock

In the third quarter of 1887, James Charles  Lovelock is listed as being born in Winchester. No one called James is listed so it appears that he chose to be called by his middle name.

1901 census show the Lovelock family at 2, King Alfred Terrace. These were new houses. George, 34 years of age is head of the house and a master baker at The King Alfred Bakery – ‘ We never burn the cakes’. George was born in Ditchling, Sussex. His Kate, was then aged 33 years and from Winchester and so it is here they have settled. They have a large family – Winifred is 9 years old, Caroline is 8, George is 6, James is 4, Daisy is 2 and there are twins! Sidney and Hettie are 9 months old. Quite a houseful. All the children were born in Winchester.

By 1911 the census shows the family has grown. The new additions are Frank aged 4 years and Alfred aged 9 years. George aged 16 years is now working with his father as a baker. There are still 7 children in the house. James is 14 years old and Winifred has moved out, presumably married. Hettie, it seems, sadly did not survive as she no longer appears in the records.

The family moved to King Alfred Place, No 1 Alswitha Terrace. James at first worked for Messrs. W. Carter &Co, Parchment Street, as did Sidney Callen. Not happy with his work or seeking adventure elsewhere, he joined the army, signing up in September 1914 with the 1/4th Hampshire Regiment on Salisbury Plain alongside his friend from King Alfred Terrace and colleague, Sidney Callen. Their service numbers are just 2 apart.

After intensive training the unit were shipped in December on the H.T. Caledonia to Karachi. Stationed at Quetta, both young soldiers received training in mountain warfare. In October 1915 they were sent to Mesopotamia but were disembarked in Egypt where they received further training. The unit moved to El Arish, Sinai and thence to Rafa on the borders of Egypt and Palestine serving with the Egypt Expeditionary Force. Both boys entered a Theatre of War (Palestine) 16th August 1917 with the 2/4th Battalion attacking up position about 8 miles south of Gaza. The History of the Territorial Force Association reports an incident suggesting that the British forces were not sufficiently aware of the threat posed by the Turkish troops:

‘Bathing was interrupted by long-range fire from the Turks, who had good observation of the approaches to the beaches.’

Surviving this and later ‘intermittent shelling’ during skirmishes over the next month on the borders, conditions were harsh for all. The Regimental Journal reports:

‘The great heat by day, the cold at night, the roughness of the ground, the plague of flies and other pests, the extreme shortness of rations and, above all, of water, combined to make the operations very exhausting’.

James received his fatal wound -killed in action aged 21 years on 24th November 1917. Sadly, just two days prior to his death he wished to assure his family that all was well in a letter stating that he was in good health. He is buried in Jerusalem War Cemetery. His brother George served in France as a Private, later Lance-Corporal in the Lincoln Regiment and was wounded 12th April 1917 but survived the war. James and his colleague and neighbour Sidney Callen, are buried near to each other in Jerusalem War Cemetery.

James was entitled to the British War Service Medal and the Victory Medal.

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