Each November, I like to explore and research the bravery of Blantyre soldiers. Today, recognising another brave Blantyre man in 1915.
In September 1915, official communication was been received by Mrs. Cummings, who lived at 245 Glasgow Road, Blantyre, from her son. Sergeant James Cummings, that he been recommended for the D.C.M.
The official notice, which was signed the Lieutenant-Colonel commanding the 3rd Battalion Gordon Highlanders, is as follows : “Your gallant conduct in the field 16th – 19th May, 1915 has been reported to me, and I have had much pleasure in bringing it to the notice of higher authority.”
The specific act of gallantry performed by Cummings, who was then a Lance-Corporal, was carried out at Bethune when he went to the aid of eight wounded comrades. Three Scots Guards and five Gordons, and in face of a heavy and continuous fire succeeded in bringing them back to their trench, although badly wounded.
Afterwards he was promoted to the rank of sergeant. Sergeant Cummings was a twenty-one years’ service man and at the outbreak the war was called up as a reservist, and had not been home since. Prior to WW1, he had seen service in India, and went through the Tirah campaign, the relief of Chitral, Dargai, and was also through the Boer War, for which he held four medals and clasps. Sergeant Cummings was then about 40 years of age and unmarried. He had a brother in the Scots Guards, and, strange to say, the brothers once swapped places with each other in the trenches.
I’m presuming James Cummings survived war, not appearing on the Blantyre Memorial. Many of his fellow soldiers died at Bethune, Northern France. James was lucky, his bravery far outweighing that.
As the photo shows, British Cemeteries at Bethune, filled up quickly.