WWI centenary: Pte Strand returned from the war with a life-changing injury

RETURNING HOME James Strand after he returned from the war.
RETURNING HOME James Strand after he returned from the war.

For many men who returned home after sustaining life-changing injuries in World War One there was little support available.

And not a lot of detail is available about the circumstances that led to Pte James Strand losing his leg in France and spending the remainder of his time as a prisoner of war at Quedlinburg.

But his granddaughter, Lesley Reilly, has pieced together what little is available from remaining records.

She said: “He was always embarrassed about his leg.

“He probably felt like less of a man because of his injury. A lot of men probably felt that way.

“There were many men who did return and serve honourably and we still need to respect them.”

Pte Strand was born in Manchester, in 1881, and lived in Bradford Road, Birstall, when he signed up in 1916.

He was from a travelling fairground family but left to be a trolly bus conductor based at a bus depot in Ings Road, Carlinghow when he married his Batley sweetheart, Eleanor Scott, in 1907.

Pte Strand was shipped off to France after he signed up.

Mrs Reilly said it seemed that he was left behind after sustaining a serious injury to his leg before was captured by the Germans in Montingy, in Northern France.

But his life was saved by a German surgeon who amputated the limb.

She said that unlike many men he chose not use a prosthetic when he returned home and worked as a tailor at Jessop’s, in Hick Lane.

“You can only guess how he felt after having such an active lifestyle,” she said.

Most of his military record was destroyed during the blitz in the second world war, but Mrs Reilly confirmed he received the Victory Medal, the British War Medal and the Silver War Badge for being honourably discharged due to his wounds. He was demobbed on February 14 1919 and had four children who were all born in Birstall.