James Henry Chamberlain was born at Wickhamford in 1917, the second of nine children of Albert Francis Chamberlain, a market gardener’s labourer, and his wife, Mary (née Faulkner). The family left Wickhamford in March 1920 and moved to Willersey where James attended Willersey School. In 1935, the Chamberlain family moved to Silk Mill Cottages, Badsey.
On leaving school, James worked as a market gardener’s labourer then, when aged 18 in 1935, he joined the Worcestershire Regiment (Service No 5250526). He was discharged a year later but rejoined again in January 1938.
On the outbreak of war James went to France with the British Expeditionary Force. He was evacuated from Dunkirk, receiving two wounds in his right leg.
Private Chamberlain was killed, aged 24, in a tragic accident on 1st August 1941 when based at Goole, Yorkshire. Reports in the local papers of 16th August 1941 gave full details of the accident. He had arrived at Lime Tree level crossing and seen three children on the line in front of an approaching goods train. He got them off the line in time but was himself killed outright by an express train which was travelling in the opposite direction. At an inquest at Goole a verdict of “Death by misadventure” was recorded by the Coroner.
Private Chamberlain was buried at Goole with full military honours, members of the Worcestershire Regiment forming the guard of honour. He was borne to the church on the lorry which he had been driving, covered with the Union Jack. His mother and eldest brother and sister travelled to Goole for the funeral. Miss D Harrison, to whom he had been engaged, and her mother, were also in attendance. The following words are inscribed on his grave: “Gone but not forgotten, he gave his life that others might live, the supreme sacrifice.”