Lt James Frederick VENMORE

Commonwealth War Graves Commission Link
© 2017 The Commonwealth War Graves Commission,-james-frederick/

Written and researched by David Bohl, with the kind help and documents supplied by historians worldwide.

Born 1889 in Walton lived at 27 Anfield Rd,  went to Mill Hill School and Liverpool University and worked as an architect







It is officially announced that the Military Cross for conspicuous bravery has been awarded to Lieutenant J Frederick Venmore of the 14th Royal Welsh Fusiliers.

On the night of January 30 last Lieutenant Venmore was on duty as patrol officer in front of the British trenches in France, when a sentry in the firing trench reported that three men in an advanced listening post had been wounded. Two of these men were just able to crawl back to the British lines over the barbed wire, but the third man was too seriously wounded to follow, being shot through both legs. Lieutenant Venmore volunteered to go to his assistance, and took with him a non-commissioned officer (Corporal William Williams, a Carnarvon man), who is also awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal.

They went out under heavy fire over the parapet, and after great difficulty successfully brought in the man over the wire and two ditches. This brave action was succeeded by a further gallant act on the following morning, when a message was received that a man had had his arm blown off at another listening post, practically unapproachable by daylight. Lieutenant Venmore again undertook to go to his aid, once more taking with him Corporal William Williams. They crawled across the open ground in the face of heavy machine gun fire. The sufferer was reached his wounds tended to, and he was subsequently brought to safety. Both the officer and his companion were most highly congratulated by the brigade and divisional officers.

Lieutenant Venmore is a son of Mr. James Venmore, a citizen of Liverpool and a justice of the peace in the city. He is twenty-seven years of age, and educated at Liverpool College and at Mill Hill School. He subsequently studied architecture at Liverpool University, and was engaged in that profession in Liverpool until at the outbreak of war he enlisted as a private in the 3rd Battalion of the Liverpool "Pals". He received his commission in the 14th Royal Welsh Fusiliers in December, 1914 and proved himself a capable and popular officer.

Lieutenant Venmore's well-earned distinction will give pleasure to his many friends in Liverpool and North Wales.




14th Battalion

James Frederick Venmore to be temporary Second Lieutenant. Dated 3rd December, 1914.


        Battle of Mametz Wood July 1916

The Wood was strategically important and strongly defended by German infantry and artillery; successive assaults on 7 to 8 July failed as the advancing troops were cut down while crossing open ground. However, a renewed attack by the 113th and 114th Brigades (the former consisting of four Royal Welch Fusilier battalions) early on 10 July gained a foothold in the Wood, and until late the following day Welsh battalions fought their way through the chaotic, shattered and bewildering mass of broken timber and dense undergrowth against an unseen enemy, preceded by a creeping artillery barrage which added to the deafening noise and further uprooted or brought down trees. To add to the horror and confusion, this even fell at times on their own men. But on the night of 11/12 July the Germans withdrew from the Wood, leaving behind hundreds of dead.

'Don’t forget the regiment you belong to!'
Private Edward Morris Edwards of the 14th Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers told how they attacked at 4am on July 10, 1916.
“We were led by Lieutenant Venmore, whose last words before going over the top were: ‘Don’t forget the regiment you belong to!’” he said.
“He was the first man to be killed – shot through the head. We penetrated approximately half way into the wood, suffering heavy casualties.”

[ - Soldiers Effects]

There is a slight discrepancy between the date of death on the Soldiers Effects record of 10th July 1916 and the CWGC record of 11th July 1916.
Clive Hughes on the Great War Forum explains:-

Lieut. James Frederick Venmore 14th RWF -  the same regimental source says he was killed in action in the attack on Mametz Wood on 11 July 1916.  However, he was (from newspaper accounts) reportedly hit in the arm during the initial advance on the wood on 10 July, and though he carried on was subsequently killed.  The war diary again makes no mention of him.  His Officers file (WO339/16505) has an initial date of 11 July queried and amended to 10 July, and his Probate record and Officers Effects sheet in it also give 10 July; but the telegram sent to his next of kin (dated 16 July) cites an 11 July date.  Other official documents in the file likewise vary between 10 and 11 July.  

One form dating from 30 August 1916 accompanying a death certificate sent to his father states "The date 10th given in an individual written report rendered by the authorities at the Base and is therefore embodied in the Certificate of death."  The Field Service Report also states that his death in action was reported by the OC Battalion as having occurred on 10 July. So there was certainly a query raised about which date was correct, and the authorities plumped for 10 July 1916.  Failing an eyewitness account, I expect that's the best we're going to get.   

Memorial at Liverpool College

[My thanks to Richie Kenrick who visited Dantzig Alley British Cemetery, Mametz in Sept 2019]

All Aliens RFC, Sefton RUFC photographs, programmes and memorabilia Copyright © 2019 Sefton RUFC