James William Bale was born in Rugby in 1891 to James and Emily (nee Payne). He was baptised at St Matthews Church on 22nd Feb. He was the 3rd of at least 5 children. The family lived at 1 Lagoe Place, but later moved to no. 9. He attended St Matthews school and when he left in 1904 he held a prominent place in the school sports
James joined the 2nd Bn., Royal Welsh Fusiliers (service no. 9339) in about 1907 and at the time of the 1911 census was based at Quetta, India. The regiment was transferred to France when war broke out. By the time of his death he had been “mentioned in despatches” and promoted to the rank of sergeant for bravery in the field.
In March 1916 he was awarded a DCM with the following citation:
“For conspicuous gallantry. When on patrol his officer was wounded. Corporal Bale at once sent his patrol in, went back, and brought his officer under fire which was directed at him. This is the second time he has rescued his officer on patrol.”
It was publicly presented to him in Rugby, when he was home on leave a few weeks before his death.
On 22nd June 1916, 2nd Bn, RWF were serving in the trenches near Givenchy, Pas de Calais, when the Germans exploded a large mine destroying 80 yards of the line. This was followed by an hour long bombardment. There were about 100 casualties. James William Bale was one of them.
He is buried in the Gorre British and Indian Cemetery in France.
RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM