He was rejected by the RAF because of poor health.

But Birchencliffe teenager James Watson was determined to do his bit for his country in the Second World War.

He defied his dad, who had secured him a job in a reserved occupation at the Hopkinsons’ foundry in Birkby, and enlisted in the Army.

But his war ended in horror in Germany, when he was one of several troops killed while clearing mines.

Now the story of the teenager’s war has been told in a new book, written by his nephew.

And every penny raised by the book, A Teenager’s War, will be going to military charities.

It is a remarkable story about a young man’s exploits on the front line with the 5th Black Watch 51st Highland Division.

Young James, who died on April 9, 1945, is buried in Rheinberg War Cemetery in Germany.

But several of his family still live in Huddersfield.

James was one of five children, and three of his sisters still live in Huddersfield.

They met up as the book was launched to reminisce about their brother.

Marion Brearley, Alma Jones and Jenny Jazwinski were all brought up with James in Lockwood and later in Birchencliffe.

Young James was born on July 16, 1925, to Albert and Minnie Watson in Lockwood and he was doted on by his sisters.

When he was young he developed tuberculosis which left him in poor health and the family decided a move from Lockwood would be good.

They bought a home overlooking fields in Yew Tree Road, Birchencliffe, and James went to Lindley School before starting work at Hopkinsons.

But despite him working in a reserved occupation, he wanted to follow his mates into the forces. He was turned down by the RAF because of his poor health but defied his dad to enlist in the Territorial Army on April 8, 1943.

Within weeks, he was at a training camp in Scotland and started infantry training with the famous Black Watch in June.

Less than two years later, he and his comrades were tasked to clear deadly Schu-mines in and around the town of Shuttorf in northern Germany.

James Brearley's book A Teenager's War
James Brearley's book A Teenager's War
 

One of those comrades said: “I had travelled about 25 yards when there was an almighty explosion down by the pond as one of the Schus had detonated, followed by a mass of explosions, causing the whole lot to go up.

“Bodies were thrown all over the place. I was on my knees with Jim nestled in my arms. His eyes were open and I told him everything would be okay.

“Jim looked at me as he slowly shook his head as if to say his time was up.

“His eyes slowly closed as he took his last breath. His face was perfect, unharmed by the explosion, but he had taken heavy blasts to his stomach.

“The medic put his hand on my shoulder and softly whispered he has gone.”

His nephew, James Brearley, who has written the book after years of research, said: “I have dedicated it as a tribute to James and all those brave young men who fought for our freedom and for those who are still protecting us today.

“I have gifted the book to military charities and hope to raise �10,000. The charities can sell the book through their outlets and keep 100% of the selling price.”

A Teenager’s War, price £15, go to www.jamesbrearley.com .