James Palmer Huffam was the youngest of four sons of Mr. Edward Valentine Huffam of the firm Huffam and Michie, Coachbuilders, High Street, Berwick, an ex-colour sergeant in the Black Watch and High Bailiff for Berwick County Court.
James was a former pupil of Spittal Council School and became an apprentice with J. Cockburn, Builders and Joiners of Castlegate.
In February 1915, he enlisted as a private in the 7th Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers. On completing his training, James volunteered to join the 1st/7th Battalion in France, where two of his brothers were already serving. His elder brother, Harry was killed in action on 21st August 1915.
James was promoted to sergeant in May 1916 and later recommended for a commission. In January 1918, at the age of 20, James was gazetted as 2nd Lieutenant and sent to join 5th Battalion, Duke of Wellington’s West Riding Regiment.
2nd Lieut. Huffam’s gallantry in actions on 31st August 1918 resulted in his being awarded the Victoria Cross.
He was promoted to lieutenant on 30th January 1919 and served for a time in India with 1/9th Gurkha Rifles and in Sierra Leone with the Royal West African Frontier Force, when he was promoted to captain..
Huffam returned to the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment in 1921 and retired in 1938 with the rank of major.
Huffam saw action again during the Second World War, serving as Assistant Provost Marshal in France in 1940. He also took part in the Normandy D-Day landings n 1944.
James Palmer Huffam VC died at Stanmore in Middlesex n 1968.
Advertisement from Berwick Advertiser, 22nd May 1914 (Courtesy of Berwick Record Office)
2nd Leut. James Huffam VC (Photo extracted from “History of Spittal School”)