Lieut Burnet George James, RFA, attchd 7 Sqdn RFC.
From Stoke Bishop, Bristol, Burnet was born on 26 October 1886. The son of a tobacco manufacturer (Sir Edward James), he was educated at Charterhouse between 1905 and 1910 where he was a prominent member of the Charterhouse cricket XI . A keen sportsman, he played for Clifton Rugby Football Club from 1908 and he played for Gloucestershire at cricket three times in May and June 1914. In 1907, Burnet had enlisted into the 1st Gloucestershire RGA Volunteers, but he resigned in 1912. However, upon the outbreak of war, he volunteered his services, once again, into his old unit which, by now, had become 1st South Midland Brigade RFA (TF) of the 48th (South Midland) Division.
After arriving in France in March 1915, Burnet saw limited front line service before transferring to the Royal Flying Corps (7 Squadron) in July 1915 and he soon saw action when, on 26 July, his plane (a Voisin LAS, numbered 5028 and piloted by 2nd Lt Louis William Yule) came into contact with an enemy aircraft at 7000 ft, some five miles south-east of Ypres. The following month a member of 7 Squadron (Capt Liddell) received the third air VC of the war and the squadron moved to take a role in the Battle of Loos. On 26 September 1915 Yule and James were crewing a BE 2c (number 1719) on a reconnaisance mission over the Loos batlefield when, due to engine problems following a combat, they were forced to crash land near Helvele. Sadly, this crash proved fatal for both James and Yule and they were buried together in a German cemetery behind the lines. They now lie in neighbouring graves in Cement House Cemetery, Langemark, Belgium.
26 September 1915
Research by David O'Mara, Croonaert Research Services.