Obituary – James C Tainsh 1923-2015

11 June 1923 – 7 November 2015

Jim Tainsh had a long and distinguished career as an architect after recovering from serious wounds suffered in Burma. There he served with the 3rd Battalion of the 10th Gurkha Rifles, for whom he maintained lifelong respect and affection.

As a pupil at Morrison’s Academy in Crieff, Perthshire, he developed his skills in art and design. In his retirement he constructed a beautiful stained glass panel which combines intricate patterns of jungle, mountains and inscriptions relating to Gurkha regiments. The frame is fashioned from a 300 year old oak tree from Jim’s garden. He presented this to the Royal Gurkha Rifles and it now takes pride of place in the Hindu Temple in their barracks at Shorncliffe, Kent.

After officer training he joined 3/10GR in the desperate battles of 1944 to halt the Japanese advance towards Assam and to cover the withdrawal of the 17th Indian Division which included 1/10GR. With that battalion was serving Jim’s schoolfriend Albert Wilson, whom Jim planned to meet, but fate intervened.

In March 1944 in a dawn attack on a Japanese position Jim was seriously wounded by our own artillery and evacuated back to UK. The same 25 pounder shell that struck him killed five Gurkhas nearby. A year later his friend Albert Wilson fell leading his company of 1/10GR against the Japanese, whose defeat in Burma still had some way to run. Albert is buried at Taukkyan and remembered at his school and on the village War Memorial at Muthill.

Because his recovery in UK took so long Jim did not return to the Gurkhas but joined his county regiment, the Black Watch, in Scotland. There he met his wife Pamela who had served with the ATS in North West Europe after D-Day. After demobilisation he trained as an architect in Dundee, but finding no suitable work in Scotland, crossed the Border. He enjoyed a successful career in England, culminating in his appointment as County Architect for Warwickshire, where he built a beautiful house above Barford. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects in 1969.

Helped by their daughter Deborah, he nursed Pamela through a long and distressing illness until her death in 2014. He continued to support the Gurkhas in many ways. With his grandson Edward he attended the opening of the Gurkha Memorial at the National Arboretum in September 2014. For his 92nd birthday this June he organized a party at the Crossed Kukris Restaurant in Nuneaton which realized £500 for the Gurkha Welfare Trust.

He had hoped to join the Gurkha marching contingent at this year’s Service of Remembrance in Whitehall, despite suffering from several serious conditions. Ever optimistic and thrusting against the odds, a slight recovery was enough to galvanize him and his family into making all the arrangements for travel and accommodation. Alas, this was not to be. He passed away at home the day before the parade.

Our sympathies go to Deborah, to her husband Paul and to Jim’s grandson Edward at their loss.

John Patchett

PICTURE ENCLOSED – Jim at his 92d Birthday Party, raising funds for the Gurkha Welfare Trust.