James Thomson McDade


1915 James Thomson wmWhen James Thomson McDade was born on December 3, 1888, in Stair, Ayrshire, his father, John, was 41 and his mother, Helen, was 34. In 1891 they lived in Hamilton.

James’ father John Thomas passed away on January 28, 1893, in Paisley, Renfrewshire, at the age of 46. For a short time at the turn of the 20th Century, he lived with his mother and stepfather at 3 Bairds Rows, Blantyre.

He married Mary Ann Rogers on April 21, 1911, in Hamilton, Lanarkshire when he was 22 years old. They had two children during their marriage. A Miner, he married Mary Rodgers, and they moved with the job to Udston Square in Hamilton.


He joined the 10th Battalion the Highland Light Infantry. Number 1635 and became a corporal. On the 25th September 1915 he was engaged in the battle of Loos.

James was killed in Loos, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France, at the age of 26. He was listed as “Killed missing in action”. He is remembered on the War Memorial at High Blantyre Cemetery.

Bill Duncan, who sent me this photo told me, “With the help of the War Graves Commision and the German War Graves Commission we gained a little more information. His medals were discovered in an old rusty tin box after being lost for 70 years by a relative in America.”

Taken on that very day of the death of James, this photo of Loos shows British soldiers advancing through a gas cloud.

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This got me thinking of another WW1 Blantyre soldier also of the name James Thomson. The other James was part of the Royal Scots Fusiliers, 7th Battalion, who died at Flanders on 28th February 1916.

Both men are remembered today, on remembrance day.

On social media:

Jean Boyd My Gt uncle Peter Johnstone was also killed in Action at the Battle of Loos on the 25th Sept 1915 he was 21 years old, like many souls he has no known grave, he is remembered with honour on panel 117 at Loos Memorial France
Bill Hunter It is nice to see that additional work has been carried out with regards to James. It took me many years to find out about James. There were no photos or anything else. Even the Regiment name I was given was incorrect. But eventually it all came together. I traced a member of family still in the USA who furnished me with the Photo of James and Mary and the children. Later I was attending a dinner when I got into conversation with a French Count, who told me that he sat on the German and Commonwealth War Graves Commision’s and he told me that at times the Germans would bury the British War dead when they over run the British Trenches. A Barvairian Regiment was at Loos and they searched there Archives but unfortunatley they had not buried any of the British killed at Loos. It is possible that Burial Parties removed the ID tags (as there were only one) to record the deaths and when it came to the actual burial they could not identify anyone because of the tags being removed and that many were buried as Known only to God. The photos of the medals etc. again were sent from the USA. An elderly relative had died and when clearing out the house the Medals were found in an old rusty tin. The family now have them on display. James was my Grand Uncle.

Bill Hunter's photo.

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