Service no. R/14879
Rifleman, King’s Royal Rifle Corps, 7th Battalion
Killed in action aged 20 on 15 September 1916
Remembered at Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France
Information from British Army WWI Service Records 1914-1920
James Larcombe, a 19-year-old compositor from Stockwell, joined the King’s Royal Rifle Brigade on 3 August 1915 at Battersea. He stood 5 feet 3½ inches tall and weighed 112 pounds. His chest measured 35½ inches, which he could expand by 3 inches. He wore glasses.
There was just one disciplinary matter in his file. In March 1916 he was disciplined for hestitating to obey an order. His punishment was three days CB (confined to barracks).
His short Army career ended just over a year later at the Battle of the Somme, where he was missing in action and then declared dead.
On 2 November 1916, Louisa Larcombe, his bereaved mother, wrote to the Rifles Record Office from her home in Hubert Grove, confused by information she had been given and clinging to hope.
I regret to inform you that I have been notified from the War Office that my son, Private J. Larcombe, R/14879, B. company, 7th Platoon, 7th Battalion, K.R.R., was missing after being in action on 15th Sept. last, there has also being [sic] one of his letters returned marked on the outside wounded on the 21st/9/16 and present location uncertain. Dear Sir as I am very anxious to know what has become of him, I should be most gratefully obliged if you could [make a] few inquiries about him off some of the lads that was with him on that date or any other possible way and kindly oblige.
Mrs. L. Larcombe
There is no record of the Army’s reply, if any.
Information from the 1911 census
In 1911 James Larcombe was a 13-year-old schoolboy, living with his family in 5 rooms at 21 Hubert Grove, Stockwell. Robert Larcombe, 58, was a tram conductor, born at Crewkerne, Somerset. Louisa Larcombe, 49, was born in Bow, east London. His parents had had 5 children (2 had died). The children on the census were:
Robert Larcombe, 18, a clerk at the Conservative Club, born in Newington, London
Louisa Larcombe, 16, a machinist (blouse-making), born in Newington
James Larcombe, 13, born in Lambeth