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James Essex

26th February 1926 - 6th May 2004

Norma Essex

JAMES ESSEX was born in Bognor Regis but spent his early years in Felpham, London and Worthing. His father was a freelance writer and Fleet Street journalist. In the mid-thirties the family moved to Lewes where his father, by then retired, augmented his income as a writer by running a family bakery and teashop in the centre of the town.

Jim Essex 1939He started at Lewes County Grammar School in 1938 as a scholarship boy in form 2A. By all accounts he was a bright lad with a flair for English. On his own admission he was inclined to get into various scrapes in his enthusiasm for involvment in the many extra-curricular activities that presented themselves in the run-up to the war. In fact his passion for getting involved in the ARP and the Home Guard and other wartime events was to lead to his abandoning formal schooling in favour of joining the Navy as a boy seaman early in 1943.

He spent several years in the Navy, some of it in the Far East, stationed in Brisbane, Australia. He was part of the force that relieved Hongkong from the Japs in 1945. He stayed in the Navy for several years after the war before he finally returned to the UK. He then took various jobs in business, mostly in the advertising and promotions business. He married his wife Norma in 1957 and they returned to live permanently in Australia in 1964. They spent several years exploring various parts of Australia before settling in Adelaide.

James led an active life in Adelaide during the seveties, creating life-long friendships while running his own promotions and advertising business. He was very much a "people person", well read, well travelled and very much involved in local and world events. His love of writing led him to become a freelance jounalist, like his father, and he became an officer of the Adelaide Press Club.

In 1980 James decided to move to Mount Tamborine, Queensland in semi-retirement to concentrate on his writing. Later he was approached by the Queensland Ex-POW Reparation Committee to write an extensive submission to the United Nations Commission of Human Rights concerning compensation from the Japanese government for their suffering and hardship during and after the war. Having completed the work James donated the copyright to the Reparations Committee who used it as the basis of a book, "Nippon Very Sorry - Many Men Must Die", sold to raise funds to pursue their claim.

James was a well loved man - an extrovert - who was well known in Australia for his outspoken views expressed in letters and articles in the press on the many injustices inflicted by governments and other powerful and uncaring organisations on the common man. He died after a short illness, aged 78, leaving his wife Norma.