James Hammond HALLWORTH
Rank: Regimental Sergeant Major
Number: 108258
Unit: 2nd Mounted Rifles Regiment Canadian Expeditionary Force
Date of Death: 31 August 1943
Age: 58

The First World War was often described as the war to end all wars, but the world was in the throes of another conflict when James Hallworth died in Canada in 1943.

He was born on 28 September 1885 in Hazel Grove, the son of Thomas and Ellen. He was their eldest child. In 1901, when the national Census was taken, the family were living at 250 London Road. Thomas was 44 and earned a living as a joiner. Ellen was 40. James, then 15, had followed his father into the building trade and was working as a plumber. His younger siblings were Ralph (12), Agnes (6), Ellen (4) and Florence (2).

It's not known when he decided to move to Canada, but he was married at the time. His wife, Janet, stayed at their home at 13 Green Lane, Hazel Grove, throughout the War.

James enlisted at Medicine Hat, in Alberta where he was living, on 30 December 1914. His attestation form is available on-line at the Canadian National Archives and it allows us to form an impression of him. He was a big man - over 6' 2" tall - exceptionally tall for those days. His chest measurement was 38.5" and he could expand it a further 5". James had a dark complexion, dark brown hair and grey eyes. He gave his religion as Church of England.

After training, the 3rd Mounted Rifles embarked for the UK and, after further preparations, arrived in France on 23 September 1915 and it was not until 29 November that the Regiment suffered its first fatalities. On 1 January, the 3rd regiment ceased to exist and was amalgamated into the 2nd.

In May 1916, he was taken ill and underwent an operation to remove a tumour. He recovered but was never again fit enough for front line duties. After the war, he and Janet returned to Medicine Hat. As his name was eventually inscribed on the Hazel Grove War Memorial, local residents must have considered that his death was due to his war service. He was lucky never to have to take part in a major action.

Considerably more information about James can be found in the book "Hazel Grove to Armageddon" by John Eaton.

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