Captain James Brown

James Brown, was the third headmaster at Auchinraith Primary School at the start of the 20th Century. A remarkable man, whose tale needs told here, as a mark of respect for what he did for us.

James Brown came to Blantyre in 1900 from a town near Campbeltown. Unmarried, he lived with his sister at 8 Church Street. His teaching time At Auchinraith Primary School however, was relatively short lived, for upon his military interests and being of enrolment age, he was called to active service during the First World War.

He enlisted in the army in 1914 and served there as a captain, leading the Blantyre Territorials of the 6th Scottish Rifles. A posting in Summer 1915, saw him positioned at Festubert, under truly terrible conditions.

James was killed in action on 16th June 1915 while leading his men at Festubert. These amazing photos were taken at that battle of Festubert, on or around that day and they show the incredibly harsh reality of the landscape he was fighting in and how it looks today.

A letter to Captain Brown’s family from one of the wounded men informs them, “Our Captain died a hero’s death.’ Wounded in the shoulder, he got back to his feet and encouraged his men forward shouting , “Stick it Blantyre!” He was then shot in the head but still went forward until he was killed at the edge of the enemy trench.”

RIP Captain James Brown.

On social media:

Jane Johnstone My grandfather, I believe served in the 6th Scottish Rifles but I know little about his experiences in fact..nothing? I wonder if he was with the Captain?

The Blantyre Project what was his name Jane? Some of the events of WW1 are quite well documented for people who fought in this war.

Lorna Hughes it looks a truly horrid place to die so far from home. My Grandfather James Leishman served in France circa 1916/17 in the Medical Corp, I still have his postcards to his girlfriend(later his first wife) Catherine(Kate) Von Beck McLaren, but of course he couldn’t say exactly where he was, these postcards are the pretty embroidered kind, he would have been between 19 and 21 during this time, I have some photos of him in uniform if you would like to see them.

Sharon Morrison Doonin Paul is there a reason he wouldn’t have stayed in the HT’s house (124 Craig St)? This was our former home and I’d love to know more about it. Gary Morrison too

The Blantyre Project I’ll check 1911 census tomorrow. He was at Church Street in 1901 but this was before he became the head teacher. Other Blantyre historians reported incorrectly he was the first headmaster of Auchinraith, but he wasnt. He was the 3rd. The first headmaster was James McNish. The headmasters would have stayed in the Head masters house at Craig Street.

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