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

Transfer to North Staffordshire Regiment I.T.C.

The document above was issued to Jim Heath confirming that as a recruit, who attested for the North Staffordshire Regiment on 6th January 1940, he had been issued with a train ticket allowing him passage from Brighton to the North Staffs' Infantry Training Centre (I.T.C.) in Lichfield on Southern Railways.

A description of the recruit is given as 25 years and 3 months of age, 5' 6 3/4" in height of fair complexion with brown hair, blue eyes and dressed in civilian clothes. In addition he was armed with a 4s 6d ration allowance.

The document is also signed by Lieut. Col. E.J. Nixon.

Reference is made to the date of 15th January 1940 (possibly the date on which he had to be in Lichfield?).

Finally, EJCA-95-1 appears hand written on the document. The same alpha numeric number is also written on his sign up papers. A search for the meaning of the acronym EJCA has not provided any further detail. Can anyone shed any light on it's meaning in the context of a newly recruited soldier?

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