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Jim Fox Elliott

Jim ElliottGunner Jim Fox Elliott, 81157, Royal Field Artillery, 96th Battery, 19th Brigade

Jim Fox Elliot was born in Rothwell, Leeds in 1894, the second child and second son of coal hewer George Elliott and his wife Martha (nee Fox) who married in 1884. In 1901, the family were living in Rothwell, but had moved to 20, Teall Street, Ossett Common before April 1911 when Jim, then aged 17, worked as waste shaker for a local mungo manufacturer. George and Martha Elliott had seven children from their marriage, but one child had died before April 1911.

Gunner Jim Elliott, 81157 Royal Field Artillery, embarked for France on the 12th May 1915. The 19th Brigade of the Royal Field Artillery was a unit of Britain's pre-war regular army. Comprising the 95th, 96th and 97th Batteries. This brigade was under command of 6th (Poona) Division of the Indian Army, but was recalled to England. It arrived at Winchester on the 19th November 1914 and was placed under command of the new 27th Division.

97th Battery then left for 167 Brigade, whereupon the brigade was reorganised, with part of the 95th Battery being split away to form a basis for a new 131 Battery. 39 Battery then joined from 14 Brigade on the 9th February 1915 and the 95th Battery left for 129 Brigade on the 25th July 1916. 19th Brigade R.F.A. thus ended the war with the 39th, 96th and 131st Batteries. The brigade served with the division in France and Salonika during WW1.

The British 27th Division was a First World War regular army infantry division formed in late 1914 by combining various units that had been acting as garrisons about the British Empire. The division spent most of 1915 on the Western Front in France before moving to Salonika where it remained with the British Salonika Army for the duration of the war. In 1918, in Salonika, the 27th Division took part in the tragic Battle of Doiran against the Bulgarians with many needless casualties. The Division lost a number of units in mid 1918; they were transferred to France and it is thought that Gunner Ellis's 19th Brigade was one of these units.

The "Ossett Observer" 1 had this obituary for Gunner Elliott:

"News has come to hand of the death, while serving in the army, of Jim Elliott, son of Mr. George Elliott, of Teall-street, Ossett Common, who enlisted in the early days of the war. He had served mainly in Salonika and recently informed his parents that he was on his way home, on leave, and would telegraph them on reaching London. The telegram which the parents received, however, was from the War Office, stating that the soldier was dangerously ill, with pneumonia, in a hospital in Cherbourg, France and could not be visited. Following upon this came the sad news that he had died. A single man, the deceased was about 26 years of age, and for several years had been associated with the First Baptist Church and Sunday School, South Ossett."

Jim Fox Elliott’s army service record has not survived, but he was posthumously awarded the British, Victory and the 1914/15 Star having served overseas on embarkation to France on the 12th May 1915.

Gunner Jim Elliott died in a French hospital at Cherbourg on the 18th December 1918, aged 24 years, the son of George and Martha Elliott, of 20, Teall Street, Ossett. He is buried at grave reference A. 32 at the Tourlaville Community Cemetery and Extension,2 Manche, France. Tourlaville is a village 5 kilometres east of Cherbourg, on the N.801 road to St. Pierre-Eglise and Barfleur.

The majority of the burials in the Communal Cemetery date from December 1917 to January 1919, when it was used by Allied Hospitals. Tourlaville was No.1 Rest Camp and Cherbourg became the Portuguese Base in 1919.

There are 68 Commonwealth burials of the 1914-1918 war and 2 of the 1939-45 war, commemorated in this site. There are two German Foreign National burials.

Gunner Jim Elliott was also remembered on the now destroyed gravestone of his father Mr. George Elliott, of Teall Street, Ossett at the Ossett Baptist Burial Ground, Baptist Lane, Spa Street, Ossett.

References:

1. "Ossett Observer", 4th January 1919

2. Commonwealth War Graves Commission web site