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James Shirra


18812 Private

9th Battalion Scottish Rifles (Cameronians), 28 Infantry Brigade, 9th (Scottish) Division

Age: 28

Date of Death: 11.12.15

Buried: Menin Gate Memorial Panel 22

Family history: Son of the late William and Elizabeth Shirra, Broomagehall Cottage, Larbert. Before enlisting he was employed as a bricklayer by J.J.P McLachlan of Larbert. He enlisted in the early days of the war in the 11th Hussars but was transferred to the Cameronians. He was unmarried. He arrived in France on 29 June 1915.

The action leading to his death

The 9th (Scottish) Division was holding some 5,000 yards of line running from Hill 60 to Sanctuary Wood. The Battalion was in the line NE of the village of Zillebeke holding the trench system with names such as Fosse Way Post, Berry Post and Leicester Square. They were in an out of the trenches on the normal rotation and when out of the trenches were at Railway Dugouts where they provided working parties.

(Linesman Map)

On the 10 December the battalion HQ and the trenches were heavily shelled with not casualties. On the 11 December they reported enemy aircraft overhead and again with no casualties mentioned. It would seem that James was a casualty of what was known as ‘trench wastage’, the British calculated that they would lose two hundred men per day to trench wastage, killed, wounded, sick etc. The Divisional history describes this time in the Salient: ‘It was undoubtedly the worst and most disagreeable spell of trench life that the Division experienced during the war.’

Medals Awarded

1915 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal

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