Thank you to Karen Wilson from Betchworth Village Archives for allowing us to publish her research.
Very little is known so far about James Wyatt and nothing is known yet about his connection to Betchworth. He was a Lance Corporal in The Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regiment, 7th Battalion and served on the Western front.
Enlistment procedures changed during the war. On October 23rd 1915, the Derby Scheme was introduced, which was the last effort by the government to get men to enlist voluntarily. Men were divided into two classes, Class A for those who wanted to enlist immediately and Class B who were attested but preferred to wait until being called up.
In January 1916 the first Military Service Act was passed. The Act called for the compulsory enlistment of unmarried men between 18 and 41. It is very possible that James Wyatt entered military service as a result of this Act.
James Wyatt was killed on July 1st at the battle of the Somme, aged 18. His final place of burial is in the Dantzig Alley Cemetery at Mametz. His next of kin were his parents, Albert Frederick and Emily Wyatt and at the time of his death were living in Southall, London. They chose to have ‘He lived in Christ He died in Christ’ inscribed on his head- stone.
James Wyatt died on the same day as George Coles, who also served with the 7th Battalion, The Queen’s, and is also buried in Dantzig Alley Cemetery.
Despite being designated as a Private on the war memorial, James Wyatt was a Lance- Corporal at the time of his death and his grave in France gives his rank as Lance-Corporal.
Born Caterham, Surrey
Lived Hampton, Middlesex
Son of Albert Frederick and Emily Wyatt of 1, Silby Villas, Norwood Road, Southall
Regiment 7th Battalion, The Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment
Date of Death 1st July 1916
Place of Death The Somme, France
Cause of Death Killed in Action
Cemetery Dantzig Alley Cemetery, France