Mortimer, James

Lieutenant Colonel, James Mortimer, (1871-1916). Awarded the Companion of St. Michael and St. George, by King George V, at Buckingham Palace, on 27th May 1916.

Born at Driffield, 1871. Eldest son of John Robert and Matilda Mortimer; His father was a Yorkshire archaeologist and Driffield corn merchant.

Educated at St Peters School, Pocklington, where he rowed and Captained the Driffield, firxt XI Cricket team.  In 1889, aged 17, he joined the 2nd Volunteer, East Yorkshire Regiment, as a private. He fought in the South African War as a Captain and was promoted to Major on 24/01/1906.he joined the newly constituted 5th Yorkshire on 01/04/1908. This included many East Yorkshire Territorials, from Hull and Beverley.

He married Elizabeth Jane Woodcock. 07/06/1904. Unfortunately, she died on 05/04/1905, aged just 27. Three years later, he married her younger sister, Dora Woodcock, on 20/05/1908. They lived at Grove Cottage, Driffield, Yorkshire and had two children. James later became the owner of the family corm merchant business.

By August 1914, he was Second in Command, of the 5th Yorkshire Territorial Regiment, led by Sir Mark Sykes. He arrived in France on 18/04/1915. With only two hours notice, the regiment was involved in a critical situation, at St Julien on 24/04/1915. For his brave action, James Mortimer, was mentioned in Despatches and awarded the Companion of St. Michael and St. George. The Regiment became known as the “Yorkshire Gurkhas” due to this action. The regiment then fought in the Ypres, Armentieres and Kemmel sectors, until August 1916.

On 15/09/1916, the 5th Yorkshire battalion was due to attack  Martinpuich, at the start of the Battle of Flers. At 3.30am, just before Zero Hour, James was waiting in “Swansea trench” when he was killed by a shell burst. A few minutes later, his Brother in Law, Captain, Frank Woodcock, was also killed. They are buried in nearby graves at Flatiron Copse Cemetery, on the Somme.

James left a widow and two children, Betty aged 11 and jack, aged 5.



First name:
Lieutenant Lieutenant
Date Died
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