James was born in the late summer of 1881 in the Heaton Norris area and was one of three brothers known to have fought in the War. Only Walter, who served with the Army Medical Corps came home. Ernest would be killed in 1915. It is not known if the youngest brother, John, also fought. When the 1901 Census was taken, the family was living at 16 Hesketh Street. James Bath, senior, had died by then but his widow, Cath,,was still at the family home. By the time of the War, the family had moved to 18 Ann Street, North Reddish.
In the spring of 1903, James married Martha Shaw. At the time of the Great War, they were living at the Bath family home at 18 Ann Street, South Reddish. James worked as a painter for a Mr Gibson in Heaton Moor.
James is reported to have enlisted in the late spring of 1915, although his service number is more consistent with him joining up in mid 1916. Whatever the case, in the autumn of 1915, he would have received the news that Ernest had been killed on 25 September whilst serving with the Royal Welch Fusiliers.
On 25 February, the Battalion was in trenches near Caix, a village 20 kilometres south east of Amiens. It was a quiet day and the men were working hard in the trenches, presumably repairing and strengthening them This was a constant task. There is no mention of any casualties but at some point James was shot, presumably by a sniper. He would have received attention from the Battalion’s own medical officer and would then have been evacuated to a field hospital for surgery. The hospital was either 13th or 39th Casualty Clearing Station, which was then based some 12 kilometres to the north at Cerisy. The chaplain later wrote to his wife “Private James Bath came into this Clearing Station on Sunday and died yesterday from gunshot wounds in the face and right leg. I laid his body to rest today.”