William Henry Hampson AKA Stuart-James: [Heath 1920–1921]

Head and shoulders of William Hampton apparently in army uniform
William Hampson

William Henry Hampson was born in Northowram on , the son of Lewis James Hampson, a native of Halifax, and Edith Annie Hannam from Liverpool, and he went on to further his education at Heath Grammar School. My grandfather, Lewis, is recorded in the Education Board register as an ‘Entertainer’ but he seems to have disappeared at some stage after he and my grandmother divorced.

William Henry Hampson went with his family to South Africa, probably in 1922 as his last recorded attendance at Heath was , and continued his studies at King Edward VII School, Johannesburg.

He changed his surname to James and, when he married Georgina, my mother, to Stuart-James. He returned to London in the 1930s and qualified in Electrical, Mechanical, Automobile and Aeronautical Engineering. He joined the South African Air Force and from 1943 travelled the country lecturing for the Instructional Film Section.

He later became an audiologist in Durban, South Africa, and invented a machine which helped stutterers. He made quite a name for himself. He was also, like his father, a magnificent pianist and entertainer, though he never did that professionally. He died in 1974 in Durban and sadly most of the family history died with him.

The following obituary appeared in South Africa:

Stuart-James, William Henry, was born in England and educated at Heath Grammar School, Halifax, and K.E.S. Johannesburg. After leaving school he took up motor racing, both Amateur and Professional, 1924/29. In 1929 he joined Kinemas Ltd as Service Engineer., leaving them to take up a position in Laurenco Marques Power Station as Assistant to the Chief Electrical Engineer in 1931. During his period of service here, he went overseas to England and Europe, and whilst in London, qualified in Electrical, Mechanical, Automobile and Aeronautical Engineering. In 1946 he designed and built his own aircraft as a hobby. At the outbreak of war in 1939 he came to the Union and early in 1940 joined the S.A.A.F. He was commissioned in the same year and in 1943 was appointed O C of the Air Force Instructional Film Section remaining with this unit until the end of 1945. He has two children. He has written music for a pantomime, and during the war frequently entertained soldiers and the public with his versatile piano playing. He is fond of reading and paints in oils. He travelled throughout South Africa with mobile cinema equipment for the S.A.A.F., showing films and lecturing to the public. He served on the D.S.D.C. in Kimberley and Durban for many years. Since the war he has been a director of companies.

(Mrs) Maraday Wahlborg

PS: I live in Colorado, US (naturalised citizen, born in South Africa) but I am very proud of my Yorkshire heritage. I collaborated in writing Kay Kendall’s biography in conjunction with Kim Kendall and author Eve Golden. Much time was spent at Withernsea Lighthouse Museum and my lifelong collection of articles and photographs are now safely housed there. The book was published in the USA in 2002 under the title The Brief, Madcap Life of Kay Kendall.