36 years of Service
W.O. II (RQMS) JAMES S. OAKES
DUKE OF WELLINGTON REGIMENT
During WW1, my Great Grandfather James Oakes served as a Sergeant with the 9th (service) Battalion Duke of Wellingtons Regiment, 52nd Brigade 17th Northern Division. He saw combat at many of the war’s most brutal battles, including the Somme, Passchendaele, and the Last Hundred Days.
Recalling a dreary morning, he said to my Grandmother,
“I was walking along one morning in the trench, and I walked right past this Soldier. As I did, I turned and called out, Thomas! I had no idea (my brother) had come over to France. It was quite a nice surprise.”
WW2 Service 1939-1946:
In WW2, James served as a Warrant Officer in the 46th West Riding Division during the Battle of France in 1940. During his service in WW2 he was in command of the company stores and was already in his 50s! He was recommended for the Distinguished Conduct Medal but awarded a Mention in Dispatches for his actions during the Evacuations at " The Other Dunkirk".
The citation for this award read,
“[Oakes] showed great initiative and courage by leading a party of 28 Batmen, Cooks, and Storemen against the enemy… with fixed bayonets [they] drove the enemy into other French troops who mopped them up… the enemy withdrew for the night [facilitating] this Battalion and many more attached troops going to the beach where they were successfully evacuated. The party which he led testifies to his courage and personality, which spurred them on during action at Veules Les Roses.”