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James McLay


15992 Guardsman

1st Battalion, Scots Guards, 2nd Guards Brigade, Guards Division

Age: 21

Date of Death: 15.9.17

Buried: Tyne Cot Memorial Panel 10

Family history: Son of James and Agnes McLay, of Nancybank Cottage, Bonnybridge. He had two brothers Robert, who was a Private serving with the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders, and John an Second Air Mechanic serving with the Royal Flying Corps. Prior to enlisting on 2 October 1916, he was employed as a furnaceman by Smith and Wellstood Ltd, Columbian Stove Works.

The action leading to his death

On the 14 September the battalion was in the line at the Broenbeek. The German artillery was active as were enemy aircraft firing at their posts with machine guns. A battalion patrol went out and went up the Staden Railway where they encountered and enemy post and were fired on with machine guns and bombs. The patrol returned with one casualty. Battalion casualties that day were 2 other ranks killed and 6 wounded. On the 15 September the battalion shortened their lines and reported no casualties.

(Linesman Map)


His brother Robert, who was wounded at the time and in a nearby Casualty Clearing Station, had applied for special leave on 26 September to visit his brother, as he knew his brothers battalion was billeted nearby (they were in Picadilly Camp). The nearest CCS was Gwalia.

Medals Awarded

The British War Medal, Victory Medal.

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