ANZAC day 2020 will be a vastly different day to years previous, but still bears little resemblance to the horrors that young Sergeant James Stanton experienced during the First World War.
Thanks to a canny series of events, we know a little about what he endured by the contents of his diary, written in the trenches and in the safekeeping of local man Mr Phil Gibbs for many years.
“My mother was given the diary by a lady next door neighbour - quite literally over the fence!”.
“I don’t know why or what the intention was at the time, but it wasn’t until many years later that I was made aware of it and despite numerous attempts to return it to the Stanton family, I have been unsuccessful. ” says Phil.
This year, and with the power of social media, elocal wants to help Phil in his quest to reunite the young man’s diary to descendants of his family. We know that the young man in question was James Richard Stanton and held the rank of Sergeant. The front of the diary lists his service number as 6/3166. Phil had researched his name and service number and found out more details about him.
“His family look like they originated from Amberley in Christchurch. I found out that he unfortunately lost his life in action on August 25th 1918, and the diary somehow found its way to ‘Betty’ of Fourth Avenue in Kingsland. Betty was my mother’s neighbour, but there is no surname listed so I don’t know her connection to James or his family”
Searching James’ service record confirms his mother Annie Stanton was indeed from Amberley in Christchurch and that he was killed in action 6 weeks from the end of the war. Those records though reveal little else about other family members or even a picture of the solider. Here at elocal our normal research methods and tracing mechanisms hit a snag with the recent lockdowns, so we need some help getting this story out there!
Do you or anyone in your family know a Stanton family who has members that hail from Amberley? Do you have a James Richard Stanton in your family tree? We would love to hear from you and encourage everyone to share this post far and wide so we can get this diary home.