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James Thomson

49986 Sapper

74th Field Company, Royal Engineers, 15th (Scottish) Division

Age: 25

Date of Death: 31.7.17

Buried: Brandhoek New Military Cemetery III.A.6

Family history: Son of James and Barbara Thomson, Heronfield, Stoneywood Cottage, Denny. He had an older brother and five older sisters. Prior to enlisting in September 1914, he was employed as a moulder by Messrs Paul and McLachlan Ltd, Denny. He went to France on the 10 July 1915.

The action leading to his death

The 74th Field Company were involved in the opening phase of Third Ypres when the 15th (Scottish) Division attacked Frezenberg Ridge. One section of the 74th was allocated to the 45th Brigade which was tasked with taking and consolidating the Green Line. They dug posts at the Bremen located behind the Green Line. The War Diary records the Company casualties as one other rank killed and four wounded.

(Linesman Map)

In a letter to his parents his Company Commander wrote: ‘It is with the feeling of greatest sorrow and sympathy that I have to inform you of the death of your son on the 31st July last. I have been commanding his section for the past fourteen months, and during that time have learned somewhat to appreciate the greatness of his character and qualities. His mates also in the section express their greatest sympathy with you on your loss. I can safely say that he was beloved by everyone with whom he came in contact. Death was quite instantaneous, being the result of a direct hit from a shell; he could have felt nothing. The body was bought back and buried at the military cemetery at Brandhoek (near Ypres). A cross was put up, and the grave will be well tended.

Medals Awarded:

1915 Star, The British War Medal, Victory Medal

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