James Congdon was born in Cornwall, England on 22 May 1881 and baptised in East Looe, St Martin, Cornwall on 10 June 1881. The family at that time lived in Fore Street, East Looe, Cornwall.
His parents were John Edwin Congdon, born 1857 and Philippa Jane Congdon (nee Sargent), born September 1852. They also had four other children – Bertha Winifred Congdon, born 22 December 1879, May Russell Congdon, born 1883, John Henry Congdon, born 1884 and Philippa Ellen Congdon, born 1885.
James’s mother Philippa Jane Congdon died on 30 October 1885.
The 1911 Census shows that James now lived as a Boarder at 2 Princess Place, Plymouth, Devon and was employed in the city as a Drapers Assistant.
At the outbreak of the First World War he enlisted as a Soldier with 13th Battalion, Welsh Regiment at Ammanford, Carmarthenshire, South Wales and on 12 July 1915, aged 33 years married Frances Jane Parry at St Thomas’s Church, Rhyl, Flintshire. They lived at 1 Council Terrace, Rhyl, Flintshire and has a son, James Congdon who was born in 1916.
On 10 July 1916, an attack was made by the Welsh Regiment into Mametz Wood. Despite heavy casualties the fringe of the Wood was reached and bayonet fighting took place, before the Wood was entered and a number of German Machine Guns silenced. Fighting in the Wood was fierce. 676 men went into the attack and after a day of hard fighting the Regiment had lost almost 400 men. Sergeant Congdon being one of them.
Cymru Newspaper – Friday 18 August 1916. Sad News for Rhyl Families.
The last few days have brought sad news from the fighting line to so many Rhyl families, the number of Rhyl men now reported killed being about fifty. Particularly sad is the case of Sergeant James Congdon whose wife resides in Council Terrace, Rhyl. She gave birth to a son on the day she received news that he had been killed in action.
Six other Flintshire Soldiers were also killed in action on Monday 10 July 1916 during the Battle of Mametz Wood, they were – 2nd Lieutenant James Victor Sinnett-Jones who is remembered on the Caerwys War Memorial, Private 16534 Oscar Darby and Private 16442 Llewelyn Williams, who are remembered on the Rhyl War Memorial, Private 21235 Thomas Charles Jones MM, who is remembered on the Bagillt War Memorial and Lance Corporal 20977 Peter Jones and Private 26433 John Richard Jones who are remembered on the Greenfield War Memorial.
On 19 January 1917 a payment of £1.6s.3d was made by the War Office to Frances Jane Congdon, this being monies owed to her husband James. On 13 September 1919 and 15 December 1919, two further payments, which are recorded as a War Gratuity of £2.16s.8d and £5.13s.4d were also made to her.
He is also remembered on The North Wales Heroes Memorial Arch, Deiniol Road, Bangor, North Wales and on a Remembrance Plaque at The Royal Alexandra Hospital, Marine Drive, Rhyl, Flintshire.
There is a Flintshire Roll of Honour Card for James Congdon at the County Archives Office, Hawarden which is dated 9 September 1919.
He is also remembered on the ‘Battle of the Somme’ Roll of Honour Memorial 13th Battalion (2nd Rhondda) Welsh Region.