Jolley, James Tuff (or Luff) (1899-1918)


James Tuff (or Luff) Jolley was born in April 1899 in Rochester, Kent.

In 1901, the Census shows the family living at 22 Catherine Street, Rochester.  His father John was a railway bridge riveter.  After the death of his father in 1906, the family found themselves on 3 December 1908 being admitted to the poor union.  The whole family were admitted by mother Hannah.  Later the same mother, on 19 December 1908, James and his sister Doris were discharged from the poor union and placed in Medway Cottages Homes and Schools, whilst their mother remained in the workhouse.

In August 1903, the Medway Guardians opened a children’s cottage homes sit on Pattens Lane, Chatham.  The site was developed around the perimeter of a square.  There were four pairs of boy’s homes and four pairs of girl’s homes in the school.  Their stay at this school was only short as the 1911 Census shows the family back together living at 101 Maidstone Road, Rochester, Kent.

During the war, James enrolled in the 1st Dorset Regiment at Warminster, Wiltshire.  He served as a private, Regiment Number 32062.

The Dorset Regiment – Battalions of the Regular Army

1st Battalion
August 1914: in Belfast. The later landed at Le Havre on 16 August 1914.

James later transferred to the 2nd Worcestershire Regiment, Regimental Number 57651.  It was during his time with this Regiment that James was killed in action.

2nd Battalion, Worcestershire Regiment –

The Regiment was involved in a combined Franco-British offensive would attack eastwards against the German Sixth Army.  It would attack on a 20-mile front between Arras and La Bassée.  The British bombardment started on 21 September and continued into 24th, when the Regiment moved into reserve position west of Givenchy on the 24th September, amid heavy initial bombardments for the battle.  At dawn of the 25th the poisonous chlorine gas was released, which formed a 30 to 50 feet high blanket, moving forward slowly in places but virtually standing still in the British assault positions in other areas, with devastating effects.  As the troops advanced out of the trenches it was realised that the initial bombardment had failed to cut extensively the German wire; within range of German machine guns and artillery, advancing over open ground, the losses were great.  Throughout the day of the 26th September the 2nd Worcestershire waited, eventually receiving orders to move southwards.

At 5 am on the 27th a strong German bombing party, advancing along the communication trench, was driven back.  Throughout the day sharp firing was kept up between the trenches.   The following day was spent in miserable conditions under continual firing.  At dawn on the 29th September, the Worcester’s repelled a fresh attack. After a long and hard day, the Worcester’s were relieved by the 2nd Kings Own, and made their way back across the battlefield. They then remained at Essars till the following day.  By this time the Germans had retaken both the Slagheap of ‘Fosse 8’ and the Hohenzollern Redoubt, and it was decided that the 2nd Division should relieve the 7th Division at Gun Trench with a view to regaining the lost ground.

Sadly, James was killed in action on 29 September 1918.  He was buried in Pigeon Ravine Cemetery, Epehy, Departement de la Somme, Picardie, France.

James was awarded the British and/or Victory Medal on 3 September 1920 for his service.

References and links:

Census 1901

Census 1911

Find a Grave Index for Burials at Sea and other Select Burial Locations, 1300s-Current

Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects, 1901-1929

Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919




Karen Mapley




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