James Laidlaw

Date of birth: 1893
Place of birth: Edinburgh, Scotland
Service No.: 512464
Rank: Lance Corporal
Regiment / Division: London Regiment (London Scottish)
Battalion: 14th Battalion
Died: 30th March 1917 aged 23 years
Death location: Chorlton, Lancashire

 

Life before the War
James’s parents were William (b.1852 Edinburgh – d.02/12/1922 Southampton) and Charlotte, nee Walker (b.1854 Perthshire – d.11/08/1922 Southampton).  They were married in Edinburgh on 23rd December in 1875.  At the time of his death William was working as a Chemist Shop Assistant.

William and Charlotte had 5 children, all were born in Scotland.  James’s siblings were:

Margaret  b.1878.  No record of Margaret appears after the 1891 census.

Eliza  Ann Brown b.1881.   Married Thomas Allan about 1905.   He drowned as a result of an attack by an enemy submarine on 27th June 1918 whilst serving as 3rd Engineer aboard HMHS Llandovery Castle.  When he died their address was 62 Arthur Road North, Southampton.  He is remembered on the Tower Hill Memorial.

Annie  b.1888.  No record of Annie appears after the census of 1911 when she is recorded as ‘single’.

Charlotte  b.1890.  On the 1911 census Charlotte is single.  There is a death for a Charlotte Laidlaw in Southampton in 1956, aged 66 years, but no evidence can be found to confirm that this is James’ sister.

In the 1881 Census William and Charlotte are living at 2 Darlings Buildings, Edinburgh with their daughter Margaret and also Margaret McGregor, who is Charlotte’s mother.  William is employed as a Druggist Assistant.

By 1891 three more children have been born – Eliza, Annie and Charlotte. and the family is still at the same address.  William is now working as a Railway Goods porter.

The 1901 census shows that the family has moved to 25 Dean Street, Edinburgh and James’ uncle, also called James, is living here.  William’s daughter Margaret and his mother-law are not recorded on this census.  William has again changed employment and he is now a Tapestry Embosser.

In the 1911 census the family is living at 35 Newcombe Road, Southampton.   James’ sister Eliza is has been married for 6 years and has a daughter Charlotte, aged 5 years,and they are also living here.  Eliza’s husband Thomas was probably at sea.  William is working as a Chemist Shop Assistant and James is a Plumber’s Assistant.

 

War History
James’ medal card shows that when he enlisted he was Private 6285 but when the Territorial Force was re-numbered in 1917, the 14th Londons re-numbered within the block 510001 to 530000, and so his new number was 512464.

The London Scottish was started in 1859 at meeting of Scottish residents in London.  It was decided to form a Volunteer Rifle Corps and became the 14th Battalion of the newly formed London Regiment when the Territorial Force was created in 1908.

A soldier had to be Scottish or of Scottish descent to join and before 1914 a fee of £10 had to be paid.  This was a lot of money, but this was to ensure that those who joined were from Middle Class families.

Usually the Territorial Forces were under strength but the 14th Battalion was almost at full strength and also one of the best equipped.  In September 1914 it was the first TF to join the British Expeditionary Force and it fought its first battle at Messines on October 1914.  The Battalion remained on the Western Front for the rest of the War, fighting at Ypres, on the Somme, at Arras and Cambrai.

James died on 30th March 1917 in Chorlton, Lancashire but no details can be found as to the reason for his death.  He was awarded the Victory and British War medals.  He is buried with his parents at Southampton Old Cemetery, grave reference 158 A 176.  The inscription reads:

UTW LAIDLWAW, James  Lance CorporalSacred to the Memory of Corporal James Laidlaw
Company 1st Batt. London Scottish
Who died March 30th 1917, aged 23 years
Only son of William T Laidlaw
Late of Edinburgh

Also of
Charlotte Walker, wife of William T Laidlaw
Died August 11th 1922, aged 66 years

Also of
William T Laidlaw who died Dec 2nd 1922
aged 72 years

 

Researcher: Shaun Connolly
Published.: September 2014
Updated: Insert dates here

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