Private James Arthur May

Private James Arthur May

Thank you to Jane Anthony for this research.

James Arthur May was born in about 1885, the second son of Matthew and Harriet May. There were 5 children in the family of whom James and three younger sisters were alive in 1911. One child had died which presumably was the eldest son Ernest. Matthew was a farm labourer and his wife and daughters were all, at various times., laundresses. They lived at various addresses in Holmwood including Spring Cottages where they were near neighbours of the Luff family (See Private Thomas Luff) In the 1901 census he was staying at a neighbour’s house at Spring Cottages.

He enlisted in the 1st Battalion Queens’ Own Royal West Surrey Regiment as a regular soldier, and, as such was one of the first to embark for France with the British Expeditionary Force in 1914. Of the 998 men of his battalion only 32 survived at the end of the first week in November 1914. He was killed at the first Battle of Ypres.

He was presumed dead on 31 October 1914, aged 29, and is commemorated on the Menin Gate. His neighbour from Spring Cottages South Holmwood Thomas Luff was killed two days earlier.

Born                             Holmwood, Dorking
Lived                            Holmwood, Dorking

Son of                          Matthew and Harriett May of 4 Spring Cottages, South Holmwood.

Enlisted                        Guildford, Surrey

Regiment                     1st Battalion, The Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment
Number                        L/7877

Date of Death               31st October 1914
Place of Death              Ypres, Belgium
Cause of Death             Killed in Action

Age                               29

Memorial                       Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial