Sergeant-Major James Poole was born in St. Helier, Jersey and attested for the Royal Sappers and Miners at Woolwich in November 1836, aged 17 years. Advanced to 2nd Corporal in January 1845, he fought in both the Second and Third Kaffir Wars, while attached to 9th and 10th Companies, and is credited in Connolly's History of the Royal Sappers and Miners and Royal Engineers as having killed two rebels when surprising cattle thieves. Certainly the Corps saw a great deal of action at this time and Gordon Everson provides an excellent account of its activities in the relevant pages of his South Africa 1853 Medal. It is interesting to speculate whether Poole was with l0th Company in 1842, when a party of Sappers accompanied Smith into Natal to face defeat at the hand of the Boers. Having been advanced to Sergeant in late 1848 and to Colour-Sergeant in early 1854, he was next actively engaged in the Crimea during the Sebastopol operations. Poole, who also witnessed a stint of service in Canada, was finally discharged as a Sergeant-Major in January 1866, his intended place of residence being Birkenhead, Cheshire.