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Rev. Thomas William Douglas James

Rev. Thomas William Douglas James

War dead  Male  Born 13/7/1886  Died 9/2/1945

Categories: War Memorial WW2

Countries: China/Hong Kong

Thomas William Douglas James was born on 13 July 1886 in Gloucester, a son of Alfred Tovey James and Sarah Elizabeth James. His father was a merchant's clerk. He was baptised at St Luke's Church, Gloucester, (now demolished), on 8 August 1886 and the family were living at Weston Road, Gloucester. The 1891 census shows that they had moved to 2 Linden Road, Gloucester and the 1901 census has them living at 60 Wellington Street, Gloucester.

He studied at Westminster College, Cambridge and went to Swatow, China in 1910 and stayed there for 15 years undertaking missionary work. He was concerned for open-air work and established a book-shop in an area that was a centre of Confucianism and an old Chinese temple was converted to a church in 1922. He also helped to arrange an armistice in 1917 between two Chinese forces so that peace was restored in Swatow and his efforts were rewarded by the local Chamber of Commerce erecting a memorial stone on a local temple.

He married Mary Elizabeth Duffas who had been appointed to the Wukingfu Girls School and they had two children, Alfred William Douglas James and Elizabeth M James. They all made trips between the UK and China on several occasions. In 1927 he was transferred to Hakka, China but returned to Wukingfu, China the following year. He was recalled to London in 1935 to fill the post of Foreign Missions Secretary and the 1935 & 1936 Post Office telephone directories list him at The Hollies, Southborough Road, Bickley, Kent but those dated 1937 onwards show the address as 36 Southborough Road, Bickley. The 1939 England and Wales Register, that was compiled for the issue of National Identity Cards, shows him as a minister of religion at Westminster College, Madingley Road, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire.

He was attending a conference at Church House, Tavistock Place, on 9 February 1945 when it was hit by a V2 rocket and he was killed, aged 58 years. Probate was granted to his widow and his brother, Benjamin Crowther James. His effects totalled £2,485-19s-9d. He is one of the 65 names on the Missionary Roll of Honour Board in The Gibson Hall, St Columba's United Reformed Church, Cambridge. He is also commemorated in the Civilian War Dead Roll of Honour, located near St. Georges's Chapel in Westminster Abbey, London.

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Rev. Thomas William Douglas James

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