Private 22240 3rd Battalion, Oxford & Bucks Light Infantry Died on home soil on 24th February 1916 aged 23 Remembered with Honour in Portsmouth (Highland Road) Cemetery Grave reference B.I.20
James was born in 1893 in Flackwell Heath to Thomas and Jane. He came from a large family and had four brothers and four sisters. By 1911 the family were living in Station Road, Loudwater and Thomas was listed as a paper maker and James was a mill hand along with two of his brothers.
James enlisted in the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry in High Wycombe and was called up to join the 3rd Battalion on 24th January 1916. He was engaged in training at Cambridge Barracks, Portsmouth, where he fell ill after a bad reaction to a vaccination after only a month. He contacted home and reported that he was feeling a little better and looking forward to his first leave but sadly he then took a turn for the worse whilst on parade and was immediately admitted to hospital where he died from cerebro-spinal meningitis on 24th February 1916 at the age of 23. The funeral was held in Portsmouth on 28th January with full military honours and was attended by several family members.
His obituary in the Bucks Free Press dated 10th March 1916 reported the circumstances of his death as above and mentioned he was well known in the village. It went on to say that he would be sadly missed by the Methodists in Wooburn Green where he had devoted his time on the Sabbath Day for the last three of four years to Sunday school teaching and other church work.
James is remembered with honour at the Portsmouth Highland Road cemetery.
Name James KEEN
Rank/Number Private 22240
Regiment Oxford & Bucks Light Infantry 3rd Battalion
Enlisted High Wycombe
Age/Date of death 23 24 Feb 1916
How died/Theatre of war Died Home
Last known address Loudwater
Cemetery Portsmouth (Eastney or Highland Rd) Cemetery, Hants
Grave or Memorial Reference B.I.20
Location of memorial Loudwater
Date/Place of birth c1893 Flackwell Heath
Date/Place of baptism
Pre-war occupation of Casualty
Parents Thomas & Jane Keen
Parent's occupation paper maker - beaterman
Parents’ Address (last known) 1901: Station Rd, Loudwater
Wife’s Address (last known)
Notes SDGW gives battalion as 4th Garrison battalion