The intentions to document this information are long standing in that they go back some two decades to the early/mid 1990’s, just a few years before the subject of this site, James Kitchener Heath passed away.

As is the case in so many families in which a generation experienced war and all its traumas, certain aspects of service are known, but all too often the details are sketchy and disjointed. Add into this mix the passage of time and the result is invariably a collection of stories and fragments of memories accompanied by a handful of fragile and faded documents (if you are lucky) that represent the sum of information relating to the most extraordinary period in a soldier’s life. This was certainly the case in our family..... and it’s not much to go on.

In February 1995, my Father and I struggled to put together a potted service history to be read by the cleric presiding over my Grandfather’s funeral. At this point I decided to take steps to fill in some of the gaps as best I could.... sadly now without the benefit of first hand testimony.

A well known turn of phrase, ‘written on the back of a fag packet’ is defined by the Collins on-Line dictionary as something ‘composed or formed quickly and without detailed analysis or research’. As far as first hand source material for this history is concerned, no better a description could be made. The details gleaned from my Grandfather in brief (and often emotional) discussions in the 1990’s are summarised as a list of place names written in an old man’s shaky handwriting on the back of a standard envelope! (this will feature later). On the upside, a standard envelope is approximately twice the size of a cigarette packet, which immediately doubles the amount of information to work with!

By my own admission, this site is a little self-indulgent, being of primary interest to myself, my mother, my children and a handful of relatives still living in Staffordshire. In addition, it may be that the information presented here will be read by others outside of the family who have a passing interest in military or family history.

I would welcome any comments/suggestions or dare I say it relevant information to contact me.

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Jim Heath Enters The Fray - 6th January 1940

On 6th January 1940, Jim Heath entered the Brighton Army Recruiting Office in Brighton with the intention to sign up for service with the Territorial Army embodied in the North Staffordshire Regiment. In the questionnaire on the reverse he gave the following details:

Address: 17 Newport Road, Burgess Hill
Parish or Town of Birth:  Newcastle-Under-Lyme in the county of Staffordshire
Trade or calling: Baker's Assistant
Age (in years) last birthday: Twenty Five
Day, month and year of birth: 14 Sept 1914
Are you married?: Yes
How many children dependent upon you: One

The following signed and witnessed declaration is made at the bottom of the document.

I James Kitchener Heath do solemnly declare that the above answers made by me to the above questions are true, and that I am willing to fulfil the engagements made: also that I understand that, should my health fail or should I sustain an injury during military service, I shall not be eligible for consideration for pension or gratuity on account of disability unless the disability is directly attributable to the conditions of military service.

The second passage of this declaration concerning pension eligibility in the event of sustaining an injury would become very relevant in the years to come.

There follows an oath.


I James Kitchener Heath swear by Almighty God that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to His Majesty King George the Sixth, His Heirs, and Successors, and that I will, as in duty bound, honestly and faithfully defend His Majesty, His Heirs, and Successors, in person, Crown and Dignity against all enemies, and will observe and obey all orders of His Majesty, His Heirs and Successors and of the Generals and Officers set over me.

Finally the certification.


I Lieut. Col. E. J. Nixon do hereby certify that, in my presence, all the foregoing questions were put to the Recruit above-named, that the answers written opposite to them are those which he gave to me, and that he has made and signed the Declaration, and taken the oath at Brighton on this day of 6 Jan 1940.

From this point onwards, Jim Heath became a soldier of the British Army No. 5051929.

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