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Capt Arthur de Bells Adam (MC)
1885 - 1916

CPL David Wallace Crawford
1887 - 1916

Lce-Corpl John Joseph Nickle
1894 - 1916

Pte 17911 Morton Neill
1897 - 1916

Lieut Edward Stanley Ashcroft
1883 - 1918
Lieut Edward Stanley Ashcroft

Pte 57546 James Amess

  • Age: 29
  • From: Dundee
  • Regiment: The King's (Liverpool Regiment) 19th Btn
  • D.O.W Wednesday 8th May 1918
  • Commemorated at: Esquelbecq Mil Cem
    Panel Ref: I.C.30

James Amess was born on 08th August 1888, the youngest son of Stuart Amess and his wife Margaret McIntosh (née McKechnie).  He was one of 12 children and had a twin sister Agnes. His father, from Newburgh, Fife, and his mother, born in Dundee, married in 1874 and had at least 12 children. He had older siblings Wilhelmina, John (died young), Isabella, Jessie, Margaret (Maggie), Jane (Jeannie), Ann, John, and Stuart, and a younger sister  Grace.

In 1891 the family is living at 3 Millbank Cottages, Stanley, Perthshire, with nine children at home. His father is a cotton mill clerk, James is 2.
They are at the same address in 1901. His father, 52, is a cotton spinner’s clerk, his mother is 50. Isabella is 24, a dressmaker, Maggie is 20, a newspaper compositor, John, 15, Stuart, 14, James and Agnes, 12, and Grace, 7, are at school.
James attended Perth Academy and Sharp’s Institution.  According to a newspaper obituary, his father was a leading elder in the United Free Church, a confidential managing clerk and cashier at Stanley Mill.
Unfortunately, the 1911 Scotland census is not available.

A later newspaper report (Perthshire Advertiser, 18th May 1918) states that James served an apprenticeship with Messrs. J. & R. Smail, in Perth, and before enlisting was employed by Messrs. Dickie & Sons, ironmongers, Dundee.

He enlisted in Dundee and was originally Private 843, Highland Divisional Cyclist Company. The amount of the War Gratuity suggests that he served for about two years. James wrote a Will dated 5th December 1916, likely indicating that he shipped overseas shortly afterwards.

His father died in February 1917, aged 68., not long after James arrived in France.

Following a transfer, James was serving in the 19th Battalion, The King’s Liverpool Regiment as Private No 57546 when he died of wounds on the 8th May 1918 aged 29 during the German Spring Offensive. James was wounded in action on 07th May and died of his wounds at No.2 Canadian Casualty Clearing Station the next day.

He now rests at Esquelbecq Military Cemetery, Belgium. The CWGC Graves Registration form shows that, at the time of his death, James was attached to the 89th Trench Mortar Battery (30th Division).   

A nursing sister wrote a condolence letter to his mother on 17th May, which still survives:
“Dear Mrs. Amess,
It is with the thought that this letter may be of some slight comfort to you in your great bereavement that I write.  Your boy, Pte. J. Amess, 57546 was brought to our hospital on May 7th very badly wounded in the head, leg, knee, and hand.  The doctors from the beginning gave us no hope of his recovery & he passed away at 10:30 a.m. the following day.  His head wound was such that he was not conscious so did not suffer, which fact may be of some comfort to you in your grief. 
The Minister here was with him & will probably write to you also.
The few possessions which he brought in his pockets with him will be sent home to you through the War Office.  He is buried in the little cemetery connected with the hospital which is in the little village of Esquelbecq.  With much sympathy for you in your loss, I remain,
Yours sincerely,
Clare Gass (Nursing Sister).”
The letter was kindly donated by the granddaughter of his brother John to the Perth Academy Flowers of the Forest project.  The letter, with other memorabilia, is on display next to the school War Memorial (information from the Great War Forum).
His mother received James’ Army effects, including a War Gratuity of £11. No pension card has been found, suggesting that James lived independently before enlisting and had no dependants.  Probate was granted to his mother in the amount of £171-16s-2d.
His mother died in 1928, aged 77.
His twin Agnes became a nurse and lived until 1981.  His brother John left his post as an English teacher at Stirling High School and joined the Army in July 1917, serving in the Machine Gun Corps, and his brother Stuart served in the Army Service Corps.  Both brothers lived into their 90s.
James is commemorated on the following Memorials -

Stanley United Free Church Tablet

Auchtergaven War Memorial

Scottish National War Memorial

He is also commemorated on Stanley War Memorial in an enclosed area next to St Columba's Church, Perth Road, Stanley, Perth And Kinross, Tayside, PH1 4LT, and Perth Academy and Sharps Institution,  Murray Place, Perth, Tayside, PH1 1NJ, Scotland

We currently have no further information on James Amess, If you have or know someone who may be able to add to the history of this soldier, please contact us.

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