Brandon-Thomas, James Grant

Son of Walter Brandon-Thomas, author and actor, whose most famous work is the play “Charley’s Aunt”, a hugely successful play that was quickly translated into many languages and at one point had 44 different productions running simultaneously across the world. James Brandon-Thomas came to Winchester from Willeslie House School. He was a leading member of the OTC, shooting for the Bisley VIII from 1910 to 1912, and was Captain in his last year. He also won a prize for English Speech. He went up to University College, Oxford and on the outbreak of the war joined 2nd Battalion, Innskilling Fusiliers, to whom he had already been attached as an officer of the Special Reserve.

He went to France in September 1914, and shortly before his death was gazetted into the Regular Army. At Messines on 31st October the Germans over-ran some Italian-held positions and fierce fighting involving many Battalions from different regiments ensued. It was during a bayonet charge that Brandon-Thomas was severely injured and later died at No 7 British Red Cross Hospital (Allied Forces Hospital) in the Hotel Christol, Boulogne on 17th November 1914.

The War Diary records that there was “Heavy fighting at Messines. We recaptured several trenches from the Germans, which trenches had been taken from th 55th Rifles (sic) the previous day. Our casualties Second Lieutenant Brandon-Thomas severely wounded…..” Unusually, his body was returned from France to England and he is buried in Brompton Cemetery. His father is also buried at Brompton. His name appeared in Lord French’s despatch on January 1915.

War: World War 1

  • Surname: Brandon-Thomas
  • Forenames or initials: James Grant
  • House: College
  • Years in School: 1907-1912
  • Rank: 2nd Lieutenant
  • Regiment: Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers
  • Date of Birth: 1st November 1894
  • Date of Death: 17th November 1914
  • How Died: Killed in Action
  • Location in War Cloister: Outer E2
  • Decoration: NA
  • Burial Site: BROMPTON CEMETERY, LONDON: Grave 8.6.172701