Diamond War Memorial Project

Private James Gamble

'D' Company, 10th Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment (Prince of Wales' Own). Regimental Number 12701
Born: ---- Died: 1916-07-01 Aged: 23 Enlisted: Enlisted Leeds.

Name recorded on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing, Somme, France. Name also commemorated on the Diamond War Memorial.

Son of Alexander and Jane Gamble, 1, Lower Ebrington Street, Waterside, Londonderry.

A pathetic farewell message was written by a dying James Gamble on the covers of a couple of little Wesleyan Hymn books, which had been given to Private Gamble by the Reverend Robert Byers, formerly of Clooney Hall City Mission, Londonderry. On the carton holding the books was the direction, 'Please send these to Mr and Mrs A. Gamble, 1, Ebrington Street, Londonderry.' The little package, all red-stained, was found by Lieutenant Hales lying at the bottom of a trench quite close to the body of the Derry man.

Here were the messages:- 'From Jim ? Dear father and mother, I have done my best and I hope to meet you in heaven. God bless you.'

On the second book was written ? 'Please do not weep for me. I shall be happy to the last. With love and kisses. ? Jim.'

Private Gamble was the sole support of his mother, his father being paralysed and his brother, in the Garrison Artillery, married. He served his apprenticeship in Ebrington Factory, and was a collar cutter in Leeds when the King's call for men came to him.

The story of the death of James Gamble led one Derry man in the trenches to pen the following exhortation (reproduced in the Londonderry Sentinel, on Tuesday, September 19, 1916) to those local men who had failed to join up: 'In reading the ?Sentinel? of the 19th August what attracted my attention most was, I regret to say, the dying message of the late Private Gamble, West Yorkshire Regiment, saying, ?I've done my best.? It may sound strange when I say I've thought it over, and I have now asked the question how many of our Derrymen are there who have not yet joined us on this march towards the Rhine. I want to know what Derryman is going to take the late Private Gamble's place in the ranks. As I read that message of that heroic Derry boy I feel very glad to think I belong to the same city. Many other brave Derry boys have, like him, paid the supreme penalty, giving their lives that others may live. How many more Derrymen are going to say, ?I will do my best?? How many others are going to help us to shorten this campaign? How many Derrymen are going to assist us in the task now facing of a third winter's campaign? What I would like every man in Londonderry to know is that every man who enlists now means an extra man in the firing line, and one extra man means an extra rifle, which means an extra 250 rounds of ammunition. Besides, I reckon one Irishman equals ten Germans, ten equal one hundred, and one hundred equal one thousand. We will assume a German landing party enforced a landing on our shores. Are the men who stop behind, promenading the principal streets of Derry, the men whom our fathers, mothers, sisters, wives and sweethearts look to for protection from the ravaging hordes? If so, heaven help them. I'm afraid the odds are sadly against those Derrymen. Never let it be said that your mothers reared you as jibbers. Derry boys, remember the eyes of a vast universe are upon us Irish. Don't you think it a shame that the casualties in the ranks of our Irish regiments are made up from the reserve of our English regiments? Derrymen, bear in mind that we are now on the last lap of the greatest war the world has ever knew. Is it that you are too busy following up last Saturday's cricket match, or following up the football results, or spotting out a probable winner? If so, think of how many of the finest players the city could produce, men who have made the name of Derry famous, including some of our finest boxers. All these men played the game to the end. Are you going to do the same? If so, let us have it today, lest tomorrow might be too late. Remember we must see those German swine beaten. Boys, remember when the day comes for us to fire our last shot, when the order is ?Cease fire,? when the war drums cease to roll and our battle flags are furled, what number will you number off in the ranks of our Irish regiments? Will any of you help to swell the ranks of our regiments who will march back with the remnants of what is left of this battered but victorious army? Derrymen, once again I say, ?Hats off to the proud relatives of the late brave Gamble.?