Cramlington family on First World War memorial search for relative James Bond

Mystery surrounds First World War soldier James Bond and relatives are keen to trace a war memorial in County Durham where his name may be etched

Richard Bond with the gravestone in France for his grandfather, James Bond
Richard Bond with the gravestone in France for his grandfather, James Bond

A man is on a mission to get to the bottom of what happened to his courageous grandfather - the real James Bond.

Richard Bond from Cramlington knows his relative James died at a French battlefield during the First World War and is certain his name sits on a war memorial somewhere in County Durham.

The 79-year-old is now keen to track down any engravings in his honour to try and shed more light on the soldier.

“Your name would have been engraved on the place where you’re from and I’d particularly like to know if there’s anything at Coundon or maybe at Easington. I believe he enlisted in Durham,” said Richard.

“James Bond wasn’t such an unusual name then because we’ve seen many Bonds on the memorial in France but we like to think it’s a little bit special.”

“I’d love to hear from anyone who might have seen a James Bond on a war memorial - it would stand out.”

James, who was also occasionally known as John, was a member of the 6th Battalion, the Durham Light Infantry and when he died in on November 5 in 1916 he left behind four children and widow Henrietta.

Richard said: “We’ve no photos, not even his medals but we’ve been to see his grave in France at Warlencourt British Cemetery twice and it was very emotional.

“My grandmother never liked to talk about it, it was rare that he was every mentioned him except she said he died in the Somme.” The 6th Battalion was a territorial force and formed at Bishop Aukland at County Durham and landed in France at Boulogne in 1915.

Later that year it suffered heavy casualties forcing the soldiers to merge with the remaining men from the DLI’s 8th Battalion.

The many battles at the Somme area of France took place between July and November 1916 and his date of death suggests he was part of a an attack on an elevated area of land called the Butte de Warlencourt held by the Germans. The military operation lost 400 men in a single day. Richard doesn’t know what James did for a living, but believes he may have been in his late twenties or even thirties when he died.

He left behind a daughter Nelly, of Sunderland, and sons John, Arthur and Richard from Annitsford in North Tyneside.

Richard said: “We know very little about him and there’s no family members left to ask.”

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