J Burntwood & District Memorials Project

The Burntwood & District War Memorial Project

Servicemen Biographies

James Lees

Burntwood Family History

Researched and written by June Magill

James LEES was born on the 11th November 1890 in Chase Terrace, Staffordshire. He was the 11th child of Jonas LEES and his wife Lucy.

Jonas LEES was born at Walsall Wood, Staffordshire on the 29th July 1855 the son of William LEES and his wife Susanna. Lucy THOMPSON was born at Burntwood, Staffordshire on the 24th June 1855 the daughter of James THOMPSON and his wife Sarah. Jonas and Lucy had a family of 17 children and lived for a time at Prince Street, Chase Terrace before moving to The Green, Burntwood. 

As a young boy, Albert attended Burntwood No 1 Board School, in Church Road Burntwood.

 

Burntwood Number 1 Board School (*1)
 
After leaving school, James worked as a miner at Fair Lady Colliery at Heath Hayes, Staffordshire

Fair Lady Colliery (*2) 

James on holiday in Blackpool 27th June 1914 (*3)

Of the 17 children of Jonas and Lucy LEES, three of their sons, Albert, James and Jonas fought in the First World War. When war was declared, Jonas LEES was in Australia and joined the Australian Army. He was badly gassed and lost his power of speech but survived the war. Albert lost his life in the war. 

On the 12th February 1915, James enlisted at Lichfield. He joined first the 5th Staffordshire Regiment and then the 10th Battalion Worcestershire Regiment as Private No 40076 and made Lance Corporal.

James and Albert LEES (*3) 

On the 20th September 1917 aged 26, Lance Corporal James, died fighting in the third battle of Ypres. His body was never recovered and he has no known grave. 

His name is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial Zonnebeke, West-Vlaanderen Belgium.

Tyne Cot Cemetery (5*)                                             Tyne Cot Cemetery Plan (*6)

 The Tyne Cot Memorial is located 9 kilometres north east of Ieper town centre, on the Tynecotstraat, a road leading from the Zonnebeekseweg (N332). The names of those from United Kingdom units are inscribed on Panels arranged by Regiment under their respective Ranks. His name can be found on Panel 75 to 77. On the 5th October 1917, a tribute to James appeared in the Lichfield Mercury. It read:- Mr and Mrs Jonas Lees of Burntwood received official news their son Lance-Corporal James Lees of the Worcestershire Regiment had been killed in action by shell fire, he enlisted February 1915 and had not been home on leave since. 

James is commemorated on the Roll of Honour in Lichfield Cathedral.

 

South Staffordshire Regiment Memorial Stone

(*6)     South Staffordshire Regiment Roll of Honour (*7)

 James brother Albert LEES died on 27th July 1917 less than 2 months earlier.

 Item, Source and Credit 
(*1)      Photograph © Alan Betts (BFHG)
(*2)      Photograph © Unknown

(*3)      Photograph © June Magill (BFHG)

(*4)      Photograph © June Magill (BFHG)

(*5)      Photograph © (Commonwealth War Graves Commission)

(*6)      Photograph © (Commonwealth War Graves Commission)
(*7)      Photograph © Alan Betts (BFHG)
(*8)      Photograph © Alan Betts (BFHG)
 
 

 

Burntwood Family History Group

 
 

 

 

(C) Mike Woolridge - Site Last Updated 01 November 2014