James Windsor Lewis was born in Aberdare, Glamorgan in 1877.
The census of 1881 recorded him living with his family in Plasdraw House Aberdare. Head of the household was James Lewis aged 54. He was a Magistrate for the Counties of Glamorgan & Brecon and a Colliery Inspector. His wife was Louisa C Lewis who was 35. (Her brother was the Bishop of St Asaph). Their listed children were James W who was 4 and Rachael E who was 1. There were four servants – 2 housemaids, a cook and a dairy maid.
James Windsor Lewis was educated at Bradfield School in Berkshire and Magdaline College in Oxford where he gained an Honours Degree in 1898. He later became a member of the Inner Temple.
In the census of 1901 Second Lieutenant James Windsor Lewis was living at The Barracks in Canterbury. He was 24 and single. (This census records that he was born in Scotland which was an enumerator’s error). The Cardiff Times reported on the 20th July 1901 the following:
Hussars for South Africa
Lieutenant James Windsor Lewis son of the late Mr James Lewis, Plasdraw, Aberdare of the 8th Hussars leaves Canterbury on Saturday in charge of 100 Hussars for South Africa.
In 1906 James married Katherine Henrietta Gregorie. The Cheshire Observer reported the wedding on 22nd July 1905 as follows:
The marriage of James Windsor Lewis late 19th Hussars with Katherine Henrietta, daughter of Major General Gregorie C.B. Colonel of The Royal Irish Regiment took place in All Saints Church Wokingham on Tuesday. The ceremony was performed by the Bishop of St Asaph, Uncle of the bridegroom assisted by the Rev B Long Rector of the Parish and the Rev A P Carr.
James Windsor Lewis became a Candidate for the Conservatives and twice stood unsuccessfully in Parliamentary elections in Cleveland in 1909 and 1910 against Mr Herbert Samuel who later became Home Secretary. He continued to be a Unionist candidate for some years in North Somerset.
In 1907 he researched and co wrote a book with Charles Delme-Radcliffe, ‘A Territorial Army In Being – A Practical Study of the Swiss Militia And the Norwegian Militia 1908’. This came about as the result of an inquiry for Lord Roberts and the National Service League into systems of universal military service. James Windsor Lewis visited Norway as part of this project.
The 1911 census recorded the family living at 67 Cadogen Place, London SW. James Windsor Lewis was 36 and was listed as a Barrister. His wife of 5 years, Katherine Henrietta was 35. Their two children were James Charles Lewis who had been born in 1907 and Joan Henrietta who was born in 1909. There were three servants. There was to be another daughter, Jean Mary was born in 1912.
When the First World War broke out, James Windsor Lewis once more returned to soldiering. He joined the Welsh Guards where he received a commission. His medal card (on Ancestry) tells us that his first Theatre of the conflict was in France and he entered it on the 19th October 1915.
His death was reported in a number of newspapers. The Aberdare Leader reported on the 17th June 1916 as follows
After some hours work on the night of June 5th at 1.40 in the morning of June 6th a Company of the Welsh Guards under Mr Windsor Lewis had just returned to their billets at Ypres. Having seen his men safely in their quarters, the deceased officer was making his way to his own quarters when a shell came across and the young officer met an instantaneous death. He was buried the same day at the soldier’s cemetery in the presence of officers and men of his battalion, the chaplain the Rev Thursby Pelham officiating. The late Lieutenant Windsor Lewis was first cousin to Mrs Lewis wife of the Vicar of Aberdare.
There is a Medal Card (accessible on Ancestry) for James Windsor Lewis which tells us he was awarded the three medals listed above. On the back of the card is written “Mrs J W Lewis (Widow) The Court. Groundall, Hampshire”.
James Windsor Lewis left a will which is listed on the England and Wales National Probate Calendar – accessible on www.ancestry.co.uk. It states
Lewis James Windsor of Llwydcoed Glamorganshire and 67 Cadogan Place Middlesex. Lieutenant Welsh Guards died 6 June 1916 in France. Probate 18 September to Katherine Henrietta Lewis widow and Alfred Davenport, solicitor. Effects £128032 .. 16sh .. 2d (Resworn £130821 ..11sh ..6d)
The details of this will were much reported in the South Wales press at the time.
James Windsor Lewis’s parents moved at some point from Aberdare to Winterbourne in Gloucestershire. His father, James Lewis died there in 1901. His widowed mother Louisa Catherine Lewis eventually moved to St Asaph where her brother was Bishop. (He was to become the first Archbishop of Wales). She shared a particular bond with her brother. His own son, Henry Laidley Garland Edwards had also been killed in the war and was named on the St Asaph War Memorial. He has his own page on this website.
Louisa C Lewis was recorded in the 1911 census at Trefelwy, St Asaph, a household she headed with a team of 4 servants. She died in St Asaph in 1921.
This is why James Windsor Lewis is listed on the War Memorial in St Asaph.