19635 Private James Scott, 16th (Service) Battalion (The Sportsman’s Battalion) Royal Scots
James Scott was born in Airdrie about 1895. He was the son of James Scott, a wire rope work labourer, and Annabella Scott (maiden surname, Bennet). James grew up in Airdrie, attending Airdrie Academy and served his time as an apprentice wire rope maker with the Caledonian Wire Rope Company. That might have become his career but for the fact that James Scott was also a noted footballer. He played for Craigton Thistle and Petershill FC before going professional with Raith Rovers of Kirkcaldy in 1913. He was considered to be “a brilliant forward with great possibilities” and scored 25 goals in 59 league games for Raith Rovers. James Scott was amongst a significant number of professional football players who enlisted in the Sportsman’s Battalion of the Royal Scots. James was resident in St Monans, Fife when he enlisted in Edinburgh. During his training James managed to get leave to marry fisherman’s daughter Catherine Reekie at the Olive Hall in Airdrie on 2nd April 1915. The Sportman’s Battalion went to France in January 1916. On 1st July 1916 the Battalion was part of the 34th Division's assault on the La Boiselle Salient east of the town of Albert. The Sportsman’s Battalion was reputed to have penetrated further into German territory than any other battalion that day. Unfortunately Private James Scott did not live to see it. He was possibly amongst the first of the battalion to fall on 1st July. Newspaper articles report that he was shot through the head or neck (accounts vary) as he climbed out of the battalion’s trench. James Scott’s final resting place is unknown. He is officially commemorated on Pier and Face 6D and 7D of the Thiepval Memorial in France.
Courtesy of Allan MacKenzie, Local Studies Officer, Airdrie Library. Copyright CultureNL / Airdrie Local Studies. For more information visit www.culturenl.co.uk.