During 1917, there was warm celebrations when Blantyre man Private James Crothers of the 6th Cameronians was recommended for the V.C (Victoria Cross).
Pictured is his mother, Mrs Crothers, along with brother Richard Crothers (also 6th Cameronians). Mrs Crothers is also pictured outside her home at Rosebank Avenue.
F Company were from Blantyre and like many of the men who signed up for war, they volunteered or were drafted together. James fought alongside two brothers in this war.
In letters to parents, he modestly wrote back to his mother telling her that he was told he may receive a Victoria Cross. He described some of his experiences saying that on 15th June, whilst on a charge, and amidst shot and shells falling, he brought back men to the ‘safety’ of the trenches.
Amongst them was a wounded officer who made the recommendation. James was shell shocked for a time after this event, a breakdown of his nervous system and he spent several days in bed, after which he could regain his composure and write home.
Although born in Burnbank and a pony driver as a youth at Watson’s Colliery in Earnock, coming to Blantyre after 1915, as an adult he had grown to love his new hometown.
Digging into this further, it appears James never received his VC after all, no official decoration noted, which is a little disappointing after hearing of his bravery. Perhaps he was promoted instead or maybe the officer who suggested it, succumbed to his injuries before anything could be done!
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