James Henry Altree was registered in 1889 in Chasetown Staffordshire. His mother Kate, née Wheeler, was born 1858 in Hurley near Atherstone, and his father John was born in 1855 in Chasetown. In the census in 1911 the family lived in High Street, Chasetown and John was a miner and his son was an Assistant Boot Maker.
It appears that the family moved to the Rugby area at some point after 1911 as in 1915 Mr and Mrs Altree were living at 3 Boughton Road Rugby.
Following his death, an article in the Rugby Advertiser of 5 June 1915 stated that “previous to enlisting he was employed in the Turbine Production Department, B.T.H. Company, and was also honorary secretary for the Caldecott Park Bowling Club. He was very popular and well respected both at work and amongst the members of the Bowling Club, also amongst the members of opposing teams.”
Harry (as he was known) volunteered and was attested in the 2nd Battalion of the Kings Royal Rifles on 31 August 1914 at Winchester. During his period of training at Sheerness he received the rank of corporal, and when sent to France was made lance sergeant.
The 2nd Battalion was part of the 2nd Brigade in the 1st Division and was posted on 11 January 1915, landing in Le Havre.
The 2nd Battalion of the Kings Royal Rifles was in support of the southern pincer at the Battle of Aubers Ridge on 9 May 1915 and suffered heavy machine gun fire which cut the attackers down even as they left their trenches. There were further artillery barrages, but despite repeated efforts no effective gains were made. Rifleman James Henry Altree was killed in action during the battle. He was age 26.
The Rugby Advertiser also reported on 5 June 1915 that ““a letter has been received from his companion, Sergt. R. Patterson, expressing his deep sympathy with Mr and Mrs Altree at the loss of such a splendid soldier and son.” Mr Altree has also two other sons at the front.”
James has no known grave and is remembered at Le Touret Memorial, Rue du Bois, 62136 Richebourg, France on Panel 32 and 33, and on the Memorial Gates in Rugby.
RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM