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Shirley Knapp (nee Cochrane) is a leading member of Lemsford Local History group and has provided more memories and images for our archive than any other member. When we asked her for her memories of WW1 that were passed onto her she produced a comprehensive, personal and loving recollections of her family, she bought them all to life for this generation. Her first article ‘Cochrane family Loss & Grief,’ deals with the reality and hardship of WW1 to a close country family. Her articles about the members who died, wounded and returned give a feel for the times. Her images provide us with an idea of what those times were like to live through. – Thank you Shirley To find full list of Census entriesClick Here


James Cochrane 1898 – 1982 – Survived War

James Cochrane 1898 – 1982 Born in Hatfield Hyde he was the 3rd son of John and Lucy Cochrane. He moved with his parents to Valley Road Corner as a small baby and later to one of the Brocket Cottages on Church Hill. He went to Lemsford School starting at 3 and leaving at 14. For a short while he worked in Brocket Gardens under Mr Kent.

On the 1st of May 1915 James enlisted with the Hertfordshire Territorial Reinforcement at Hertford. Later as a corporal he took a contingent of 120 sixteen year olds to Etaples in France. He was transferred to the 12th Royal Sussex Regiment and was promoted on the battlefield to Sergeant (Somme 1917) A story is told of how he crawled into ‘No Mans Land’ during a battle and pulled back a seriously wounded soldier to Allied Lines. He managed to do this by hooking his feet under the armpits of the soldier, a Mr Church from Hatfield. Sometime later he was wounded himself.

Lemsford News October 1917

War Note: We regret to hear that Sergeant James Cochrane has been seriously wounded. We gather that the bullet, after passing through his elbow, entered his chest. His escape was providential, and we sincerely hope that he will soon be restored to health again. He is at present in Hospital in Sheffield.

After recovery, James Cochrane was seconded to the Northern Army School of Instruction at Thetford, eventually becoming senior Musketry Officer. Following demobilisation in March 1919 James went to Canada. He took over the homestead of his eldest brother who had sadly drowned in Lake Saskatoon whilst trying to save a friend. He farmed in Alberta with his brother Dave for 16 years returning to England in 1934. He married Betty Beech form Wheathampstead and lived in Welwyn Garden City for the rest of his life. He worked at Norton Grinding Wheel Co for 25 years until his retirement in 1960.

Discharge Papers for James Cochrane

Lemsford Local History Group have a large archive of documentation & images for all aspects of history in Lemsford Parish. For our website we require your help to update and provide memories, facts and images about all aspects of the past in Lemsford Parish. Please Contact us on

Andy Chapman LLHG

Enjoy Our Images

All photographs, images, PDFs and text used on this website are for your enjoyment. Please remember all photographs and material used on this site MAY NOT be copied, in whole or in part, or be duplicated to another computer, transmitted, published, reproduced, printed, hotlinked, etc. without the express written permission of the Lemsford Local History Group. To apply to use an image or article Contact

Article Author Date Read Article
Cochrane family Loss & Grief Shirley Knapp 2014 Read More
David Cochrane 1883 -1917 Shirley Knapp 2014 Read More
James Cochrane 1881 – 1967 Shirley Knapp 2014 Read More
James Cochrane 1898 – 1982 Shirley Knapp 2014 Read More
James Halsey 1875 – 1916 Shirley Knapp 2014 Read More
William & Robert Cochrane Shirley Knapp 2014 Read More

Lemsford Local History Group

The Lemsford Local History Group, formed in 2001, is interested in all aspects of the history and the people of this area - both ancient and modern. We welcome correspondence from anyone who shares this interest.The group archives now include a significant number of photographs and documents, as well as records of baptisms (to 1985), marriages (to 1970), burials (to 2003) and memorial inscriptions (to 2003) from the St John's parish church registers. Records of births, marriages and deaths before the consecration of the church in 1859 will be found in the registers of Bishop's Hatfield parish. The archive also contains admission records for the village school - St. John's Church of England Junior Mixed Infants school - since it was first opened in 1872