[I am grateful to Kathleen Darbyshire for family information. Kathleen is a niece of both James Kay and Arnold McCann].
James Kay was born on 21 July 1911 at Scotforth, near Lancaster. His father was James Kay (b. 1882 in Forton), a farm labourer. His mother was Florence Stedman (b. 1884 in Wyresdale). James and Florence were married in 1907 and they had four children: Robert (b. 1906), Edith (b. 1908), then James jnr, then Fred (b. 1913). By 1916, the family had moved to Lindle Lane, Hutton, and that year James snr joined the army. He enlisted with the Grenadier Guards and was given service number 26720 and posted to 4th Battalion. He was sent to France probably in early 1917 and he was gassed on 25 July 1917. This was just before the start of the Third Battle of Ypres (31 July-31 October, otherwise known as Passchendaele), so in one sense being gassed may have been a small blessing. James returned to the front line and remained in service until the end of the War. He was demobilised in October 1919. When he came home, he got a new job as a postman, and in 1926, James and Florence had a daughter, Vera. The family lived at 1 Prospect View, Lostock Hall.
On Boxing Day 1934, James jnr married Isabella Fowler Chattell (b. 1912 in Lincoln). They already had a son, Kenneth, born a year earlier. At the time, James was living at 3 Lostock View, Lostock Hall, but after they married, James and Isabella moved to 38 North Road, Preston. James was a bus inspector. They had two more children: Colin (b. 1936) and Denise (b. 1938).
James joined the army and was assigned service number 2326356 and posted to the Royal Corps of Signals. He was sent to Malaya with the forces who were trying to stop the Japanese advance. They landed in Singapore in February 1942, but surrendered after only 10 days. James was then a Prisoner of War and he died, probably at Kranji POW camp, on 15 August 1942. He was 31 years old.
Dysentery ward, Kranji POW camp hospital
Service Number: 2326356
Unit/Regiment: Royal Corps of Signals
Date of death: 15/08/1942
Buried at: KRANJI WAR CEMETERY, Singapore
Grave Reference: 10. B. 3.
Additional Information: Son of James and Florence Kay; husband of Isabel Fowler Kay.