James William SHINN


SHINN, James William

Service Number: 2607
Enlisted: 23 April 1915, Keswick, South Australia
Last Rank: Corporal
Last Unit: 48th Infantry Battalion
Born: Hounslow, England , December 1890
Home Town: Middlesex, London, United Kingdom
Schooling: National School, England
Occupation: Motor Driver
Died: Killed in action, France, 7 August 1916
Cemetery: Serre Road Cemetery No.2
Plot XIII, Row J, Grave number II
Memorials: Adelaide National War Memorial, Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Magill War Memorial
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World War 1 Service

23 Apr 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Keswick, South Australia
26 Aug 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 2607, 16th Infantry Battalion, Battle for Pozières
26 Aug 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 2607, 16th Infantry Battalion, RMS Morea, Adelaide
7 Aug 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Corporal, SN 2607, 48th Infantry Battalion, Battle for Pozières

Help us honour James William Shinn's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.


James William Shinn was born in Hounslow, Middlesex, England in December 1890. He grew up in Hounslow just west of London with his parents and older brothers. Here he attended National school in London. James was also a Methodist. He later migrated to Australia after he had finished school, for an unknown reason. His parents though, stayed back in England. Here, James worked as a motor driver. James did not have a wife or girlfriend. 

James was a man of fair complexion, brown eyes and brown hair. Like many others in those days, James was short, standing only at 5"6 tall and weighing only 65kg (145lbs) upon embarkation.

James enlisted to serve for Australia in World War 1 in Keswick, South Australia on the 23rd of April 1915, aged 24. He had no prior service or training in military forces. He was given the service number of 2607 and ranked as a private. He embarked Adelaide on the 26th of August, onboard the RMS Morea. This boat was the 6th boat of the P&O M class passenger cruise liners. It could travel up to 16 knots per hour and could hold just over 600 passengers and 300 crew members.

James trained in three different locations; Alexandria, Mudros and Tel-el-Kebir. He first arrived in Alexandria but was taken to train in Mudros after only a week in Alexandria, as he was showing great promise. He called Mudros his home for just over 2 months, before this training camp came to an end and he was taken back to Alexandria. After another 2 months or so in Alexandria, he was taken on strength and transferred to the 48th battalion. While training with the 48th in Tel-el-Kebir, James was promoted to a corporal on the 3/3/16. A corporal was a ‘non-commissioned’ officer. This meant he was in charge of a small group, consisting of about 15 members of the 48th battalion.

After a long 4 moths training, James the 48th finally went off into battle. They fought in the battle of the Pozieres in France. There task was to defend ground that had been captured earlier by the 1st division. Tragically, on the 7th of August 1916, the last day in which the 48th were fighting here, James was killed in action. His specific cause of death is unknown, but it is most likely from a gunshot wound.

James’ mother received all of his personal belongings as she had been assigned his kin. She still lived at James’ childhood home, 10 Farm Road, Stockley-Yieusey. RSO Middlesex England.

While at war, James received 3 medals; a victory medal, British war medal and a 1914/15 star. Receiving all of these medals shows that James was a great example of someone who showed ANZAC spirit as he was loyal and committed to the service of his country. He didn’t need to be convinced that service to our country was the right thing to do, as he willingly signed up to do so. This shows that his values and beliefs aligned with the service for our country.                                                                                         

Today, you can find James in the Serre Road Cemetery No.2, Beaumont Hamel, Picardie France (Plot XIII, Row J, Grave number II). His name is also located at 147 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial.

James’ story is one of loyalty and commitment that showed great ANZAC spirit. Australia should be proud that like many others, James went and served for our amazing country.




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