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
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