James Burns


29-03-1924 v Bramley
4 (0)

Biography of James Burns

James Burns by Alex Service

James signed for the Saints from the Wardley club and the Big Lanc as he was known was considered to be a fine prospect. In the St.Helens Newspaper in mid-August the talk is of Burns 'recovering nicely after a severe illness,' and it was hoped he would be fit for the start of the season. The newly-formed Supporters Club actually donated '10 so that he could recuperate at the seaside or elsewhere. By 13th March 1925 there was sad news: "The St.Helens Football public will sincerely condole with Mr and Mrs Burns in the sad loss they have sustained by the death of their son James. His death is a big blow also to the St.Helens Rugby Club, who acquired him from Wardley about a year ago. He had shown splendid form and looked like making one of the best forwards the club had ever possessed. Over 6 feet in height 22 years of age and a fine young fellow in every sense, he was as mild and gentle off the field as he was resolute and unyielding on it. No more popular player ever went into the pack."
His former team-mates Heath, Clarey, Shaw and Briers were the pall bearers at his funeral.

James Burns – further notes and observations.

It is interesting to note that James played for the Junior team Wardley at Knowsley Road in the Challenge Cup on 16 February 1924 and, despite their heavy defeat, he must have taken the eyes of the Saints’ Committee. George Lewis kicked 13 goals that afternoon. James signed soon after and made his debut on 29 March 1924 against Bramley. Saints won 13-8 and the team won in his last match for the club, against Salford on 26 April 1924 by 37-11. That was before injury struck. It is interesting to review how things went with the notes in the Saints’ programme, following his progress.

Saints v Widnes 15 October 1924
We regret that Burns has had to cease training for the time being chiefly on the grounds of caution. We all wish to see him again yet we have been medically advised to make haste slowly here and the best for Burns is the best for the club. He hopes to commence training in two or three weeks time.

Saints v Keighley 6 December 1924
A deputation found poor Burns very ill and play for him this season is out of the question. His old smile is still there and the Salford loss worried him. Since our last visit he writes that he is feeling better and tell Mr Shaw and Ben Briers I am glad they have found their feet again. Remind me to Lewis and all the boys wishing them a merry Xmas and a happy New Year. A grant is being made to him and a collection on the ground taken today.

Saints v Halifax 14 March 1925
Although clearly expected it was sad news to receive last Friday’s wire that Jimmy Burns was nigh onto death. Committee members went on Saturday morning to find he had passed away and we extend our deepest sympathy to his mother and father in their great bereavement. Jimmy was borne to his last resting place by four of his comrades Shaw, Briers, Heath and Clarey acting as bearers accompanied by Mr. Fred Jones of the Committee these being the club’s representatives. He was buried at Moston Cemetery and manifestations of high esteem wreaths were sent by the club, the members of the Supporters Club, by members of the Committee and players. We deeply mourn his loss and we know the efforts which were put forth on his behalf by all Saints’ members have been very much appreciated. It is not given by many to endear themselves in the hearts of their fellows so quickly, but we shall all remember Jimmy and we are glad that we have known him who now sleeps ‘until the shadows flee away.’

These are touching words indeed. Our thanks to Adrian Lawrenson and Curtis Johnstone for providing us with this insight into this unfortunate scenario for St Helens RFC.


Season (Official Matches)TriesGoalsDGoalsMatches
1923~24 2 0 0 4
TOTALS:2 0 0 4
Season (Other Matches)TriesGoalsDGoalsMatches


29th Mar 1924 1
10 Bramley L H 13 8 VIEW
5th Apr 1924 2
10 Rochdale Hornets L H 15 13 VIEW
12th Apr 1924 --
10 St. Helens Recs* Fr H 8 10 VIEW
18th Apr 1924 3
10 Wigan L H 3 14 VIEW
26th Apr 1924 4
10 Salford L H 37 15 2 VIEW
*Unofficial Match. **Non Playing Sub.
WINS : 3 | LOSSES : 2 | DRAWS :


Copyright © Saints Heritage Society 1999-2024.