7 - The Fallen

“The Fallen” -  Remembered

James William Tesseyman was born on 20 Sep 1884 in Acomb, Yorkshire, England as the first child of market gardener James Tesseyman and his wife Jane Elizabeth Sellers who had married in Dunnington.  

He was baptized on 09 Nov 1884 in St Nicholas Church. Another ten children were born into the family, which was at Dunnington Common in 1891, and still together in Dunnington in 1901. James William had left home by 1911.  

He enlisted at York during WW1, initially serving in the West Yorkshire Regiment. Later he became S/30988 Rifleman J.W. Tesseyman in the 13th Battalion of the Rifle Brigade, and served with that Battalion in France and Belgium.  

On 23 Apr 1917, British units launched an assault east from Wancourt towards Vis-en-Artois but made little advance against stiff German resistance and suffered heavy losses. To the north, German forces were counter-attacking at Monchy-le-Preux, and although this was blocked, British commanders called off the assault next day. The 13th Battalion, part of 37th Division, from trenches north of Roeux on the north bank of the River Scarpe, was able to advance to the lower slopes of Greenland Hill.  

After Canadian forces captured Vimy Ridge, a further assault began on 28th April to secure the eastern side of the Ridge. Led by the 1st Canadian Division, the village of Arleux was captured although casualties were very high. 111th Infantry Brigade, including the 13th Rifles, continued the attack to the north of Greenland Hill, and reached the Plouvain to Gavrelle road.  

Rifleman James W. Tesseyman, perhaps fatally wounded during this battle, was originally reported as ‘missing’. A later War Office casualty list names him as ‘now reported killed’ and his death was officially recorded as ‘killed in action, 28th April 1917’.  

There is no known grave, and James’s name is one of those on the panels of the Arras Memorial in France. He is also commemorated on the WW1 Memorial in St Nicholas Church, and on the Roll of Honour in Dunnington Reading Room.  

Fr Val Hollands  (01904 489 283)