James Thelwell

Royal Engineers

Personal Details

Born: In 1883 in Whitchurch, Shropshire and baptised 4 June 1883 at St. Alkmund`s Parish Church, Whitchurch.

Family: He was one of nine children born to Thomas Thelwell, a labourer, and his wife Eliza. He married Ethel Challenor in 1914 in Whitchurch. The couple had two children, Dorothy M, born 1915 and Aldwyn James, born 1916.

Residence: From the time of his baptism in 1883 until at least 1901 James and his family lived at 1 Oxford Carriers Road, Whitchurch. By 1911 they had moved to 2 Mount Cottages, Whitchurch. The address given for him on the 1919 Absent Voters` List was 28 Claypit Street, Whitchurch. By 1939 he was living at 1 Church Street, Whitchurch which remained his address until his death in 1963.

Employment: He was a turret clock maker.

Died:  In 1963 in Whitchurch, Shropshire and buried in Whitchurch Cemetery on 8 May the same year, aged 80.

Military Details

Regiment: Royal Engineers (previously The Queen`s Surrey Regiment, King`s Shropshire Light Infantry and Royal Engineers)

Rank: Sapper

Service Number: WR269719 (previously 205037, 5221 and 257543)

Date of Enlistment: Not known

Date of Discharge: Not known

Reason for Discharge: Not known

Other Information: James`s brother, Frederick, served in the South Lancashire Regiment during WW1.

Medals and Awards

James was awarded the Campaign Medals (British War Medal and Victory Medal)

Campaign Medals

Great War History Hub Whitchurch Shropshire Medals Front Image

The British War Medal (also known as 'Squeak') was a silver or bronze medal awarded to officers and men of the British and Imperial Forces who either entered a theatre of war or entered service overseas between 5th August 1914 and 11th November 1918 inclusive. This was later extended to services in Russia, Siberia and some other areas in 1919 and 1920. Approximately 6.5 million British War Medals were issued. Approximately 6.4 million of these were the silver versions of this medal. Around 110,000 of a bronze version were issued mainly to Chinese, Maltese and Indian Labour Corps. The front (obv or obverse) of the medal depicts the head of George V. The recipient's service number, rank, name and unit was impressed on the rim.

The Allied Victory Medal (also known as 'Wilfred') was issued by each of the allies. It was decided that each of the allies should each issue their own bronze victory medal with a similar design, similar equivalent wording and identical ribbon. The British medal was designed by W. McMillan. The front depicts a winged classical figure representing victory. Approximately 5.7 million victory medals were issued. Interestingly, eligibility for this medal was more restrictive and not everyone who received the British War Medal ('Squeak') also received the Victory Medal ('Wilfred'). However, in general, all recipients of 'Wilfred' also received 'Squeak' and all recipients of The 1914 Star or The 1914/1915 Star (also known as 'Pip') also received both 'Squeak' and 'Wilfred'. The recipient's service number, rank, name and unit was impressed on the rim.

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