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JAMES HARRIS


Private 7763, South Wales Borderers.

Died 14.10.16. Aged 32.


Jim was brought up at the Market Garden, Carrow Hill, which his father ran. At the age of 18 he had a job in Newport but was restless and got into debt. Suddenly he ran off to Brecon and enlisted. Writing to his parents a week later he said "It makes my heart ache to think how I have behaved this last 3 or 4 months...I got in debt about 30/- and couldn’t get it to pay so went away but I means to get it and square up again."

He was sent to fight in the Boer War. In South Africa Jim suffered a severe attack of rheumatic fever which left his heart weakened. When he eventually returned home, his hair was bleached on one side through occupying the same hospital bed for many months.

Jim married a local girl, Alice Maud Anthony, from the Merrils. He had fair hair, sparkling blue eyes, and a partiality for ginger haired girls. Alice of course had ginger hair. Like many young men from this area, he obtained employment at a colliery, Nine Mile Point, where he dealt with the pit ponies. The couple set up home at Wattsville and a daughter Ivy was born in 1909. Shortly before the War, the little family moved to Malpas.

Although Jim had been discharged, he remained in the Reserves. On the August Bank Holiday of 1914 there was a large family gathering at Kilpale (now inside the Dinham security fence). The family was moving onto the Chepstow Show in the afternoon but two Army officers appeared in uniform and took Jim away - he had been re-enlisted!

Jim went to France and after about a year he suffered a bayonet wound to his stomach. His comrades killed the offending German soldier and took possession of the bayonet. Jim was invalided out and took the bayonet with him. It was a feature of the household until it was lost a few years ago. After a period of convalescence he went back to work at the colliery.

On the evening of 14th October 1916, Jim and Alice were intending to go to a concert at Stow Hill featuring the famous soprano Adelina Patti. However, whilst cycling home from work Jim collapsed following a minor road accident. It is thought that he died on account of his weakened condition following his two spells of war service, or possibly that his collapse caused the accident. The funeral at St Brides was conducted with full military honours.

Alice trained as a nurse, became a midwife, and eventually made a second marriage with Charles Knight, a widower. Ivy continued to live at Carrow Hill, a lively and sunny character,.blessed with an old age spent in the bosom of her family. In November 1998 Ivy featured in a Free Press article about this Remembrance Book and died the following month aged 89.





JN from Ivy Pickering (daughter) Sept 1999