b. 31/03/1897 Dunblane, Scotland. d. 16/02/1968 Burnt Oak, Middlesex.
James Palmer Huffam (1897-1968) 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. His mother was Dorothy Roughead Huffam, of 2 West Street, Spittal, Berwick-on-Tweed. His siblings were Alfred Meek, John Henry, Elizabeth Clara Margery, Dorothy Francis, Henry Harold and Dorothy Gertrude Beatrice. 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. At St Servin’s Farm, France, Second Lieutenant Huffam with three men rushed an enemy machine-gun post and put it out of action. His position was then heavily attacked and he withdrew, carrying back a wounded comrade. Again in the night, accompanied by two men only he rushed an enemy machine-gun, capturing eight prisoners and enabling the advance to continue.
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. He was initiated as a Freemason at St David’s Lodge No 393 Berwick on Tweed on 17th February 1920, age 22. On 23rd April 1935, he married Constance Marion Huffam at Valetta, Malta and they had two children.
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 on 6th June 1944. He retired for the second time in 1945 and died in 1968 at Burnt Oak in Middlesex, on 16 February 1968. He was cremated at Golders Green Crematorium, West London and his ashes were scattered. His medals are not publicly held.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: NOT PUBLICLY HELD.
BURIAL PLACE: GOLDERS GREEN CEMETERY, LONDON. ASHES SCATTERED.
Golders Green Crematorium VC Memorial
Freemasons Memorial, London (Brian Drummond)
James Huffam VC's son Robert at the stone unveiling at
Dunblane Railway Station (Duncan Kirkhope)