The Collingham Parish Magazine for February 1915 provides a list of villagers who had joined the services to fight in World War 1. One of the names on this list is James Midgley. He is listed as being a gunner in the Royal Horse Artillery. We have not been able to unequivocally identify this man and his service.
A James Midgley appears on the electoral roll for Collingham for 1910 to 1913, but not after that. We have also found a James Midgley, the son of Charles H Midgley, farmer, and his wife Sarah A Midgley. This James Midgley was born in Beckwithshaw in about 1862 and in 1911 he is married to Mary Emily Bentley (marriage in 1893) and is living in East Keswick with his two daughters. If this is the James Midgley mentioned in the parish magazine, he would have been 52 at the outbreak of the First World War.
An artilleryman of this age at the start of the war would almost certainly have served overseas and have been awarded medals. 28 men named James Midgley (including those with middle names) were awarded medals of which four served in the Artillery. Those were Driver 32557 James Midgley, RHA & RFA; Sergeant L/9321 James Arthur Midgley, RHA & RFA; Gunner 49455 James Herbert Midgley, RHA & RFA; and Gunner 188253 James Midgley, RGA. The service record for James Arthur Midgley, although very badly damaged, shows he was from Manchester and he cannot be linked to Collingham. Similarly the record for James Midgley of the Royal Garrison Artillery shows, that although from Leeds (Hunslet), he joined the Army in 1917, inconsistent with the listing of James in the parish magazine of 1915. The service records of the other two James do not survive. We cannot therefore tell if the parish magazine was referring to either of the other two men, or indeed if 'our' James only served at home and was not awarded any medal.
If you can help further identify James Midgley, please contact us.
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