Himbury History

James Himbury

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James Himbury b.1881

Birth= 1881 Woolwich

Marriage= 3rd October 1906


Spouse= Emily Colegate

Children= Vera Gladys b.15th August 1912, Hilda Gertrude b.17th December 1915






James Himbury

James Himbury was born in March 1881, the second of four boys born to John Henry Himbury and Lucy Ann Fern. James was born and brought up in Woolwich and James' father, John Henry was described variously as an engineer (1866), a labourer in iron works (1881), and a general labourer (1883).

James also worked as a labourer until, at the tender age of 18 he joined the Royal Artillery Corps. James must have been quite slightly built because on his enlistment documents, signed on 22nd June 1898 in London, James is described as being 5ft 6 3/4inches tall, and weighing 122lbs. His chest measurement is 33 ½ inches, expanding to 36 inches. His hair colour is dark brown and his complexion is described as sallow. This bit of information particularly interests me as both mine and my father's skin tone is sallow too. He has moles on his neck, arms and back of his right shoulder. His religion is given as Church of England.

James started out as a gunner that year but by December he had been promoted to bombardier. He presumably didn't enjoy this promotion as in May 1899 he reverted to the rank of gunner at his own request. Perhaps he was still too young to cope with the additional pressure that the elevated rank brought. James served in South Africa from 15th November1899 until 20th April 1902 and was posted to Malta from 30th November 1906 until 9th October 1911.

James's medical record shows that he suffered from various minor health problems, ranging from neuralgia caused by a mild cold in 1898 to blisters on his feet in 1899 caused by route marching in Kent. However he also contracted Enteric Fever whilst serving in South Africa and was transferred back home to recuperate.

On 1st April 1906 James was promoted again, this time to Smith Corporal and he also got married this year to Emily Colegate at All Saints Church in Plumstead on 3rd October, just a few weeks before being posted to Malta for 5 years. One of the witnesses at their wedding was James's brother Edwin Alfred Himbury.

On 17th February 1909 James was further promoted to Smith Sergeant and the same year was re-engaged to complete 21 years service. On 29th August1912 he was brought on married establishment and at the same time promoted to Smith Staff Sergeant.

James's first child Vera Gladys was born on 15th August that year and James and Emily had her baptised on 1st September at Dover. Three years later another daughter, Hilda Gertrude was born on 17th December 1915, also at Dover.

James's papers show that he was discharged from the army on 4th October 1919 having completed his 21 years service and he signed a disability statement as he was unfit due to a hernia which was caused whilst shifting gun platforms at Dover in October 1917. Apparently he was washed off the gun platform at the time, but did not report sick or go to the hospital. He was issued with a truss on 16th July 1918. James appears to have been awarded an increased pension because of his injury.

On his discharge document, James's permanent address is given as 71 Brightsfield Road, Lee Green, Lee, S.E.17.

James was awarded some medals which are listed on his military history sheet thus: G.C. Medal with gratuity 1915, I S.Africa 1899 Clasps, Cape Colony @ 7 State & Transvaal, II Kings S.A. Clasps S.A. . . . . then unfortunately the writing becomes too faint to read!










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