22/1118, Corporal, James Robert CULLIN
Aged 25

22nd Battalion, Durham Light Infantry
Killed in Action on Monday 23rd October 1916

Born in Fulham,London in Q1-1891, [Fulham 1a:305]to Isaac James and Frances "Fanny" Mary CULLIN (née ALBRECHT) of 17 Inverness Terrace, Fulham.

1891 census...James [3 months] was at 17 Inverness Terrace, Fulham with his father Isaac[32], an artist born New York USA and his mother Fanny [23], born Bordeaux, France.

1901 census...James [10] was at Escort House, Exning Road, Newmarket with his parents; brother William [7] born Fulham and sister Hannah[4] born Kenningston. His parents were both now recorded as British subjects.

He was admitted to Soham Grammar School, from Glenwood College, Newmarket, on 21st January 1901, travelling daily by train. Newmarket U.D.C paid £25 per annum for 3 years. He gained 3rd Class Honours (Cambridge Local 1904, also passing Senior Division. (source:-http://www.sohamgrammar.org.uk/go-to-admission-register.htm).

1911 census...James [23] now a musician, was at Sandiver House, St Mary's Square, Newmarket with his parents and brother William [17][an apprentice in motor garage] and sister Hannah.

The Newmarket Journal of 27th March 1915 reported that his younger brother William (Army Service Corps) was seriously ill, wounded and in Boulogne Hospital. Subsequent editions carried progress reports and William appears to have recovered.

James was living in Newcastle upon Tyne and enlisted at Seaham Harbour on 10th December 1915.

On enlistment he gave his address as Empire Theatre, Chester Le Street, his age as 24 yrs 11 months and next of kin, father Isaac at Sandiver House, Newmarket and he was a Roman Catholic. At 5' 8 1/2"(174 cm) and 140 lbs 63.7 kg) he was probably above average size. His was a Pioneer Battalion and he signed to agree to keep his 2d per day extra ( a very complicated Army pay matter in 1916). Posted to the Reserves, he was then mobilised on 9th March 1916,( training camp at Catterick) promoted to L/Cpl on 31st March and to Corporal on 11th July 1916.
He embarked at Southampton for Le Havre on 16th June 1916 for France, attended Div. Training on 9 September, returning to his Battalion on 9th October. He was reported missing on 23rd October 1916 and presumed dead. Around that date they were digging a communications trench near Waterlot Farm on the Longueville side of Guillemont. Pioneer battalions may not have been front line troops as in "up and at 'em" but they were always around in the thick of the fighting, digging and repairing trenches, working alongside the miners and often acting as stretcher bearers.

In his Army will he left his Florentine Intaglio ring on the 3rd finger of his left hand to Evelyn Zara Philpott of 6 Whitby Road. Fallowfield, Manchester and of Kimberley Hotel, Oppirton, Johannesburg, South Africa and that she be notified of his death immediately.The rest of his effects he left to his mother. Sadly his body was never found. After his death his mother moved to 72 Cherry Hinton Road, Cambridge, whilst his father was in the British Home Hospital for the Incurable in Streatham, London SW16 where he died in 1942. In April 1917 his mother had a letter stating if she received his ring, she was to return it to them for disposal

The 22nd DLI on 23rd were digging assembly trenches ready for the attack on Zenith Trench. 21 of the battalion were killed that day, only 8 have identified graves.

Just to give an idea of the terrain in that area at that time , this was Longueville station

No known grave - James is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, France- Ref: pier and face 14A and 15C

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details