One of many casualties as submarine sinks troop ship

Private Henry James

Private Henry James was one of 398 men who perished on board a troop ship on its way to Salonika when it was torpedoed by German U-boat.

  Henry was aged 22 when he went missing, presumed drowned. He had already had an eventful war, having just been passed fit after being injured.

On May 4th 1917, he was aboard the ship SS Transylvania, which was taking troop reinforcements to Salonika. She was sunk by torpedo a few miles south of Savona. A total of 82 soldiers, whose bodies were recovered, were buried at a cemetery there. Henry's name is on the memorial.

Henry lived in Bromsgrove Street with his parents William and Hannah. He was one of seven children and worked as a printer's assistant before the war. His father weighed coal in the docks.

A snippet in a battalion newspaper at the time gives details of his service, as his mother posted an appeal for any hope of news of her missing son. He had joined the Cardiff Pal's Battalion on September 3rd 1914, early on in the war, a teenager. Henry was invalided back home in January 1917 but he returned to Rhyl at the end of the same month, and was attached to 3rd Welsh. He had left Rhyl early in the May "for somewhere," with the destination unknown to his parents.

Thanks to, nephew Jeff Collings

A letter from an unnamed solider in Salonika in the censored Cardiff Pal's newspaper for the folks back home

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