Willis James Robert L/Sgt 4438854
Name Willis James Robert
Army number 4438854
Rank Lance Sergeant.
Decorations None known, other than WW2 Service Medals.
Date of birth Birth registered in Gateshead Q3, 1903.
Age 58 at the time of his death.
Unit Attested for the Territorial Army 22/7/20. Worked as a Labourer, aged 18 (his birth date suggests that he may have overstated his age). Enlisted in The Durham Light Infantry (Territorial Army) for 4 yrs and apparently re-enlisted until embodiment. Posted to the 9th Battalion of The Durham Light Infantry. Embodied 24th August 1939. Probably transferred to 12th Battalion, The Durham Light Infantry on the establishment of that Battalion, as an experienced NCO. Transferred to the Black Watch and was posted to 1st Tyneside Scottish 1/2/40. Served with the B.E.F. Captured in France (exact location not known but possibly near Ficheux). Repatriated. Posted ? Bn Black Watch. Discharged under King's Regulations 1940, Para 390 (xvi), 6/11/45 as unfit for further service.
Company/Battery Not yet known.
Platoon or other sub-unit Not yet known.
Task or role Not yet ascertained.
Joined Brigade 1/9/1939.
Wounded Not so far as is known.
Prisoner of War Yes - held at Camp 8A, PoW Number 15165.
Died/Killed in action Death registered in Gateshead in March 1962, aged 58, following an inquest. The report of the inquest, held at Sheriff Hill Infectious Diseases Hospital, indicated that the post-mortem results had showed pulmonary fibrosis due to James suffering from asbestosis. He had developed a chest complaint in 1946 and was unable to work from 1960 onwards. James was interred at St John's Churchyard on February 24th 1962.
Home address Father - George Willis, 46, Cannon Row, Sheriff Hill, Gateshead, mother Hannah Willis (nee Stephenson). At the time of the 1911 Census James was living with his family at 80, Hunters Buildings, Sheriff Hill, Gateshead and was a scholar. James worked as a boiler coverer from leaving school. He was a well-known local footballer, playing for Felling Red Stars and St Mary's Wrekenton as well as other local teams. He did not take up the opportunity to turn professional. Married Florence Violet Sobers in Q2 1924 in Gateshead and had two sons.
Source table 1TS