200098 Pte James WATKINSON 1/4th Hallamshire Battalion York and Lancaster Regiment.
TRIED BY GENERAL COURT MARTIAL FOR DESERTION
James WATKINSON was born at Hebburn, Durham on 7th January 1888. Nothing can be found out about his early life but from his military records we can see that he he had settled in Sheffield where he worked in the steel industry as a furnace man and crucible steel smelter.
He first enlisted, aged 22, as Pte 1229 WATKINSON of the territorial 1/4 Hallamshire Battalion York and Lancaster Regiment on 30th May 1910. His given address at this time being 38 Well Road, Heeley, Sheffield and he was employed at S. WARREN of Sheffield.
James was embodied on the 5th August 1914 and entered France with his battalion on 13th April 1915.
On the 1st November 1915 he was released for munitions work and assigned a place at Messrs J.J.SAVILLE & Co LTD, Triumph Works, Shoreham Street, Sheffield.
This is how the J.J.Saville premises look today.
Nothing is heard of James for nearly 2 years when on the 9th December 1917 he is listed as a deserter.
On the 3rd January 1918 he presented himself at the guard room, presumably at the Somme Barracks in Sheffield. He was held in custody awaiting trial under general court martial until the 16th January 1918 when he was found not guilty of desertion but instead guilty of being absent without leave and awarded a 28 day custodial sentence.
On the 12th March 1918 he is placed at Messrs CLAYTON & SHUTTLEWORTH LTD, Lincoln.
On the 10th January 1921 James again enlists with the 1/4th Hallamshire Battalion York and Lancaster Regiment as a reservist for a term of 4 years and is given service number 4739134. His given address at this time is 12 Court, 3 House, Bath Street, Sheffield.
The photograph below came with the medal group so it is assumed that James is one of these men but there is nothing written on the back to indicate so.