The September 1917 Parish Magazine records, “A. Connell, Sergeant Major DLI, a soldier of ripe experience having over 11years service to his credit, has been killed.”
James was the son of James & Jane Connell of Staindrop. His father was a rural postman from Marylebone, London. His mother Elizabeth Jane had been born in Ireland as was James. The 1901 census shows James living with his family in Staindrop. In 1911 the family were living in two rooms in Staindrop but James wasn’t there.
James served in the 15th Durham Light Infantry in France, having achieved the rank of Warrant Officer Class 2 & by his death he had served for 11 years. James was killed on the Somme on 1st July, 1916 aged 30 & is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial.
A local source remembers a visitor from Canada coming to see their grandfather’s memorial & to place a wooden cross & poppy in memory of him.