James Owen Nelson was born in 1873 at Portsea. As a Lance Sergeant with the Seaforth Highlanders he took part in the Nile Expedition. In 1899 he was commissioned in to the Sussex Regiment and fought with them in the Boer War, South Africa.
He received accelerated promotion as a Captain into the Regiment from the Royal Sussex Regiment in 1906. He went out with the 4th Battalion Worcestershire Regiment to Gallipoli in 1915, and took part in the historic landings at Cape Helles. During the course of the landing the Battalion was held up by a thick belt of barbed wire. Captains Ray and Nelson led a party of volunteers who crawled through the grass amid a hail of bullets and cut lanes in the wire. This gallant episode formed the subject of Gilbert Holiday's drawing "the Wire Cutters," which is in the Regimental Museum.
He was severely wounded in May 1915, and afterwards commanded various labour units. He was later an instructor at the R.M.C., Sandhurst.
For his services in the war he was awarded the 0.B.E., and promoted Brevet Lieut.-Colonel.
During the last phase of the Irish troubles in 1921 he temporary commanded the 4th Battalion Worcestershire Regiment.
He commanded the Worcestershire Depot from 1922 to 1923 and then retired.
Lieut.-Colonel Nelson died suddenly at Upton-on-Severn, on 7th June 1952, aged 78. His funeral, which took place at Upton-on-Severn on June 11th, was attended by the following of the Regiment: Brigadier B. S. C. Clark, D.S.O., Lieut-Colonel and Miss Hamilton Cox, Major J. B. Brierley, M.B.E., M.C., Colonel S. W. Jones, Messrs. Pumphrey, Hill, Moses, Meadows and Webb.
Lieut.-Colonel J. O. Nelson