James Lewis Martin
James Lewis Martin was born in Orange in 1887. James was the youngest of twelve children born to Thomas Martin and his wife Ellen (nee Stephens). Thomas, a native of Galway, had come to the colony in the 1860s and settled in the Forest Reefs area. The family later moved to Sale Street in Orange.
James enlisted in Melbourne in January 1915, aged 27, and was assigned to the 12th Battalion as a private. He embarked from Sydney in June, however ill-heath saw him return to Australia just three months later. Private Martin re-embarked from Melbourne in October 1915, joining the 29th Battalion.
In March 1916 James was re-assigned to the 46th Battalion, and he proceeded to France three months later. James sustained a gunshot wound in his back in August 1916, which saw him hospitalised in England. He was hospitalised a second time, in February the following year, with mumps. In April 1917 he was hospitalised again, this time with a fractured arm.
James was promoted to Lance Corporal in July 1917, Corporal the following month, then Sergeant in October 1917. Sergeant Martin was killed in action on 11 July 1918, aged 30. He is buried at Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery in France.
James’ father, Thomas, died in August 1918. Before issuing Sergeant Martin’s’ war medals, the Army Base Records Office requested that the Orange Inspector of Police interview James’ mother, Ellen. Once she had testified that her husband was deceased and that James was unmarried and had no children Ellen was issued with her son’s medals.
James Lewis Martin is commemorated on the World War I Roll of Honour on the southern face of the Orange Cenotaph.
Leader, 26 July 1918, p. 3.
Last great sacrifice: Sgt James Martin killed