Territorial Force Efficiency Medal, EVII, 256 Cpl J. Stuart, Northern Cyclist Battalion.
Named: “256 Cpl. J. Stuart. Nthn Cyc. Btn”, awarded in the Army Order 1st April 1909.
Newcastle Journal & also in Shields Daily News 10th August 1915, records him in a failed lifesaving attempt with a soldier from his battalion whilst bathing in the sea.
‘GALLANT ATTEMPT FAILS – SOLDIER DROWNED AT SEATON SLUICE
“Accidentally drowned whilst bathing” was the verdict returned by a coroner’s jury at Seaton Sluice, yesterday, after an inquest held on Ernest Wright, a member of the Northern Cyclists Battalion.
Corporal James Stuart, of the Northern Cyclist Battalion, who went to bathe with the deceased and others, said just as he was entering the water he heard cries for help, and saw deceased struggling in the water about ten yards from the shore.
He swam towards him, but the backwash of the sea carried deceased out almost as quickly as witness could swim.
He ultimately reached deceased, and endeavoured to swim ashore with one arm, holding deceased with the other hand. Later, he found he was losing his hold. He thought it better to turn on his back, but in doing so he lost his grip of the deceased, who sank almost immediately.
The Coroner (Mr H.T. Rutherford) complimented Stuart on his bravery. He added that he had been thinking very seriously of the increase in bathing fatalities amongst soldiers on the coast, and he thought something ought to be done to minimise these as far as possible. There were numbers of men on the coast who had experience of the currents, and who knew when it was safe to bathe and when it was not safe, and he thought these men would be glad to supervise the soldiers when bathing.
He commended this to the authorities. A military officer present said the matter would have attention