Corporal Mechanic James Hopkins


James Hopkins was born on 12 November 1878 at Ballylumford, Islandmagee, County Antrim, the eighth of twelve children of farm servant and labourer Alexander Hopkins and his wife Elizabeth (nee Gordon).

In 1902 Hopkins enlisted in the 5th Dragoon Guards, serving with that regiment until 29 April 1911. The following year, on 7 September, he enlisted in the North Irish Horse (No.733). He embarked for France with A Squadron on 17 August 1914, seeing action on the retreat from Mons and advance to the Aisne.

Hopkins served with A Squadron until 12 December 1915, reaching the rank of sergeant. He then transferred to the Royal Flying Corps (No.14232) and was given the rank of 2nd Class Air Mechanic. He was posted to the No.1 School of Air Gunnery, working there as a carpenter for the remainder of the war.

He was promoted to 1st Class Air Mechanic on 1 February 1917, acting corporal on 18 May 1917, corporal on 1 October 1917, and acting sergeant on 1 March 1918. On the formation of the Royal Air Force on 1 April 1918 he was given the rank of corporal mechanic.

On 23 February 1919 Hopkins was demobilised and transferred to the RAF's Class G Reserve. He was discharged on 30 April 1920.