Wapley’s last WWI recruit remembered

June 25 2019
Wapley’s last WWI recruit remembered

A SPECIAL service is to take place at a small rural church south of Yate to remember a small village’s last recruit of World War One.

The names of Wapley men who died were recorded on the memorial cross in the churchyard of St Peter’s church – but James Love’s death came too late for it to be added.

Joining up towards the end of the conflict, James went to training camp but never saw active service, and died after a short illness at Scotton Military Hospital, Catterick Garrison, on July 24, 1919.

His original grave had a wooden cross, which rotted away over time, so a simple headstone was put in its place. In 2016 it was renovated by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. His WWI memorial stone is in a corner under the trees.

As the last recruit, James would have met other soldiers and sailors coming back from the fighting. He knew that many never returned. He was still a teenager when he left to join the 3rd Battalion of the Gloucestershire Regiment, but in fact he never saw active service. James went to a training camp and died after a short illness.

James was born in 1901 and lived with his mother and grandparents, Isaac and Emma Love, in The Rank, Wapley.

It’s known that he went to the village school and in the logbook there is a reference to his time there dated January 15 1909.

It says: “James Love and Albert Woodruff played truant and both were punished by their parents.” The teacher has written: “In all probability they won’t do it again.”

James is believed to be in the school photo, pictured, which has been dated by Yate Heritage Centre to approximately 1910.

Villagers still place flowers on his grave to this day.

The service will take place on July 21 at 6.30pm at St Peter’s Church, almost 100 years to the day after James died.