Photo courtesyAlfred Needham
James Thomas Swindell - known as Jim - was born at Crich in 1876 and worked as a quarryman from a young age. He attested for service with the militia in 1894, serving with the 3rd Battalion of the Sherwood Foresters (Derbyshire Regiment). Jim married Millicent Winson in 1897. As a militia reservist, Jim embarked for South Africa on 26 May 1900 as part of the 1st Volunteer Company of the Sherwoods. Several years after returning from his service during the Second Boer War, Jim and his family settled in Belper.
Jim is known to have served as a private soldier in the army during the First World War: he and his three brothers are listed on the First World War 'Roll of Honour' inside Crich Parish Church. Jim's oldest son - also James Swindell - served during the First World War, with the Northamptonshire Regiment.
An article from the Belper News, dated 6 July 1917, (reporting on death of his brother-in-law George Winson, killed in action) stated that Jim was serving in France. The article furthermore states that he is serving "in a Northumberland Regiment." There is no record of any James Swindell serving in a Northumberland regiment. There are, however, two James Swindells recorded as having served in the Northamptonshire Regiment (one of whom was Jim's son), so perhaps Jim served alongside his son in the Northamptonshire Regiment, and the Belper News recorded the regiment incorrectly. A further article in the Belper News, dated March 1920, states that Jim served in the army from 1914-1918.
After the war, Jim returned to his family at Belper and was well-known locally as a successful pigeon fancier. He was for many years a member of Belper Flying Club. He passed away in 1958, aged 82 years.
Medal Roll Index Card
Swindell James Northamptonshire Regiment 19404; also Labour Corps 451417.
He was awarded the Victory, British War and 15 Star medals.
Entered France 13 July 1915 and was discharged 8 March 1919
As mentioned in the newspaper report (Belper News, dated 6 July 1917) his son, James Swindell jnr also served.
His brothers William Swindell, Fred Swindell and Sam Swindell are also on the Roll of Honour.
1891: Cowper Lane, Crich
RG12 piece 2747 folio 11 page 16
1901: Cow Hill, Belper
RG13 piece 3228 folio 202 page 22
1911: Field Head, Belper
RG14PN20965 RG78PN1250 RD436 SD3 ED3 SN173
1939 Register: 20 Canada Street, Belper
James Swindell b.18 May 1876; labourer navvy, heavy
Millicent Swindell b.17 August 1875