James Frederick Rayment was born at Hackney, London, in October 1873, the sixth and last child of an Essex born Blacksmith named Anthony Rayment and his wife Anne Rayment née Keeble.
James was only seven years old when his father died at the age of 54 leaving him, together with his three brothers and two sisters, to be brought up by his mother Anne alone.
After leaving school he appears to have tried several different jobs but eventually settled down to work in the printing business.
He married Mary Margaret Lloyd at St Thomas in Lambeth, Surrey, on 25 December 1893 when he was 20 years old and in October the following year the marriage resulted in the birth of a daughter Mary Eliza Annie. In January 1901 however, after only 7 years of marriage, his wife Mary passed away at the relatively young age of 26.
It was nearly five years later, at the age of 32 that he married Fanny Rebecca Lloyd, this marriage taking place at St Barnabas Church in South Lambeth, London, on Christmas Day 1905, and the next year the marriage was blessed with a son James William David born on 7th August 1906.
At the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, James was still working as a Printer’s Warehouseman at a General Printers and was living in a two-roomed house in Townsend Street, Southwark, London, with his wife and children when he decided to join the Army in order to “do his bit” and to see the World.
By this time he was more than forty years old but nevertheless he was accepted by the Army on 29th October 1914 when he signed up for the term of “one year or the duration of the war” having previously been a volunteer for the 2nd London Rifles.
On the 14th October the following year he was transferred to “B” Company of the 18th Battalion Rifle Brigade and just over one month later (on 25th November 1915) he found himself embarking at Devonport in Devon for service overseas. He disembarked at Rangoon in Burma on 5th January 1916 and served there for the remainder of the war.
It is of course well known that fighting in The First World War officially ended at 11am on 11th November 1918 (the famous 11th hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month), but it is sometimes forgotten that deaths did not then end immediately. So it proved in this case because, although James had managed to survive the conflict, it was not until 10th December 1918 (just four weeks after the Armistice) that he died at the age of 46 in Rangoon before he could be discharged from the Army. Consequently his death was regarded as a war death and he was buried in Rangoon Cantonment Cemetery.
It was not until June 1922 that his widow Fanny, then living at Stockwell in South London, received his British War Medal. The delay appears to have been caused by some rather sloppy record keeping on the Army’s part, Private James Frederick Rayment having apparently been confused with another deceased soldier of the same name.
In 1948 his grave, together with the graves of 35 other Commonwealth servicemen who died in Rangoon during the First World War, was moved from its original location at the Cantonment Cemetery into the new Rangoon War Cemetery situated some 5 miles (8 kilometres) from the port at Rangoon, Burma (currently known as Yangon, Myanmar) and so he now lies in plot 4.G.5., where his grave is maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
There are no known photographs or pictures of James, but a photograph of his final resting place is shown above (left).