Displays and Events, University History

Dunholme’s link to First World War Hero

A member of staff based at Dunholme Villa, Park campus recently contacted the Special Collections and Archives after receiving a visit from a representative of the Cotswold Branch of the Orders and Medals Research Society.

The Society has recently undertaken a project to map all the addresses in Cheltenham where residents went on to fight and lose their lives during World War I, which was recently reported in the Gloucestershire Echo.

Major James Russel Landale lived at Dunholme prior to the outbreak of war. He was born in India in 1881 and went on to be a student at Cheltenham College between 1896-1899. He then trained at the Royal Military College Sandhurst before fighting in the Boer War and serving in the Indian Army, where he was made a Captain.

James was promoted to Major in 1915 and served with the Indian Expeditionary Force in Egypt. He was killed in action in Mesopotamia on 9 March 1916 aged just 34, leaving behind a wife and two sons. His Brigade Commander praised Major Landale’s leadership and bravery. He had been wounded in the thigh but took no notice and carried on fighting until he was mortally wounded.

In a cruel twist of fate, his father Surgeon General Landale died in England on the same day as his son.

The Cotswold Branch of the Orders and Medals Research Society are hosting a 1914 Centenary Exhibition at Swindon Village Hall, Cheltenham on Sunday 3rd August 10am – 5pm. Entry is free and you can find out more about the project and the personal stories of Cheltenham’s war dead.

St Mary’s College, one of the University’s predecessor colleges, purchased Dunholme Villa in 1946, having been a nursing home during the time after Major Landale lived there. It remains part of our Park campus and houses several different staff teams including Faculty Administration, Quality and Standards, ICT and Estates staff. Work is currently being carried out to transform the ground floor into a new studio for Media students.



From the “Cheltenham Chronicle and Glo’shire Graphic” 18 March 1916. Held at Gloucestershire Archives


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