James Bruce Pearson

Key Information

Name: James Bruce Pearson

DoB: August 18 1889

Regt: 2nd Lieutenant attached 93rd Burmah Infantry, Indian Army 95th Russell’s Infantry

DoD: March 5 1917

Academic Career: Foundation Scholar, 1905; CGS 1901-7

Biographical Information [toggle_container keep_open=”false” initial_open=”1″]

[toggle title=”Family Background”]Family Background:James was the fifth child of James and Maria Pearson. His father’s family were from Carlisle but his mother came from Scotland. His paternal grandfather had been an engine driver and his father was a stock and share broker. An elder brother, Stanley died in August 1914.[/toggle]

[toggle title=”Academic Record”]Academic Record James enjoyed sport at school: he played in the Rugby team in 1905 and 1906; the football team in 1906 and 1907; and the cricket team in 1907. He played for the Old Carliol cricket team in 1914. The Cumberland News reported he was: “very popular in Carlisle, especially in Rugby football circles, and he had played for Carlisle and Cumberland.” He was honorary  secretary of the school debating society.[/toggle]

[toggle title=”War Service”]War Service:

2nd Lieutenant attached 93rd Burmah Infantry, Indian Army 95th Russell’s Infantry

The grammar school memorial register says James was presumed killed in action in Mesopotamia on the March 5 1917 but the Commonwealth War Graves Commission reports his death as March 25 1918. The Medal Rolls Index report James was in the 1st/4th Border Regiment attached to the 93rd Burma Infantry of the Indian Army. Wylly says the 1st/4th Battalion arrived in India in December 1914. They remained in Burma until early 1918 when they transferred to India. However a detachment under Lieutenant AP Wilson was sent to Mesopotamia in August 1915. Was this when James transferred to the Mesopotamian War? If he died in early March, it is possible he died in the attack on Baghdad as British forces entered the city on March 11 1917. British Indian Forces played an important part in this.

According to the British Library: “In the list of casualties that appears in the April 1919 Indian Army List, he appears under the sub heading ‘the following casualties are believed to have occurred’ as having died on 25 March 1917. No place of death is given, but it states death accepted for official purposes on or after the date”

In the obituary in the local paper of June 23 1917, it is stated that James was reported missing on  March 15. His father received a letter from Major HL Houghton dated April 14 stating that the force had attacked the enemy but their position was “untenable” and they had to retire. “Your son was with one of the companies in rear, and behaved with great gallantry throughout” and it was not possible to see exactly what had happened but “I feel sure your son must have died gallantly while holding up the enemy to cover the retirement of his party…I am afraid I can offer small hope of his being a prisoner as we should most likely have heard of it by now, and the fighting is so fierce that few prisoners are generally captured on either side.”


[toggle title=”Battalion”]Battalion: The following account is taken from Wikipedia on the 93rd Burma Infantry

“As part of the reforms  brought about in the Indian Army by Lord Kitchener in 1903, all former Madras units had 60 added to their numbers. Consequently, the regiment’s designation was changed to 93rd Burma Infantry. In 1910, the Burma Battalions were delocalised from Burma and in 1913, the 93rd Burma Infantry moved to Barrackpore  in India.

On the outbreak of the First World War, the regiment sailed for Egypt in November 1914, where it was deployed to defend the Suez Canal against the Turks. In September 1915, they left for France  and over the next three months, served in the trenches of the Western Front. Early in 1916, the regiment arrived in Mesopotamia, where they were engaged in fierce fighting on the Tigris  Front during British efforts to relieve the besieged garrison of Kut al Amara . The regiment took part in the Battles of Dujaila Redoubt, Beit Aissa, Khudaira Bend & Jebel Hamrin. It fought with great gallantry and suffered heavy losses in this long and bloody campaign. In 1918, the 93rd Burma Infantry proceeded to Palestine  and took part in the Battle of Megiddo , which led to the annihilation of Turkish Army in Palestine.

During the war, the 93rd Burma Infantry suffered 1157 casualties including 235 killed. They received a large number of gallantry awards for their outstanding performance in the war”.


[toggle title=”Other”]Other: Probate was awarded on May 13 1919 to James Hamilton Pearson, (father) stock and share broker. His effects were £1063 11s 10d. He is commemorated on the Basra Memorial Panel Reference 43 and 65.   [/toggle]

[toggle title=”Sources”]Sources:

a) Carlisle School Memorial Register 1264-1924

b) Census: 1911 RG14 PN31324; 1901: RG13/4867; 1891: RG12/4288; 1881: RG11/5157; 1871:RG10/522: 1861:RG9/3916

c) “The Border Regiment in the Great War” by Col HC Wylly (1924) page 215

d) Wikipedia

e) England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and administrations), 1861-1941 about James Bruce Pearson

f) British Army WW1 Medal Rolls Index Cards, 1914-20 about James Bruce Pearson

g) Family Information

h) British Library

i) The Cumberland News June 23 1917[/toggle]