Sergeant James McCaskie

Sergeant James McCaskie, ” D” Coy. 2nd Battalion, Seaforth Highlanders. He was killed action in France, aged 26, on 3rd May 1917 during the Battle of Arras and is commemorated on the Arras Memorial. Before enlisting under the Derby Scheme he had worked as a hairdresser with Mr Hunter in Coldstream. ( The ” Berwickshire Advertiser ” gives his rank as Corporal ). He had been born in Maxwelltown, Kirkudbrightshire and was the son of William and Alison McCaskie of 2 Dovecot, Coldstream and thge husband of Jessie McCaskie of 14 Market Street, Coldstream. William was head gardener at Carham Hall having moved to Carham from Benvoulin Lodge, Oban, Argyll.  His brother John also fell, see above ).He fell in an heroic but utterly suicidal attack on strong German positions near the infamous Chemical Works at Roeux. After a weak and ineffectual artillery bombardment which neither destroyed the wire entanglements nor disturbed the defenders the Seaforths together with the 1st Royal Irish Fusiliers attacked over open ground into the massed fire of 30 enemy machine guns. A small group of men under Lt Donald MacKintosh did manage to get into a German trench where they fought off several counter attacks until they were overwhelmed. MacKintosh was later awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross.  Out of the 12 Officers and 420 Other Ranks who took part 12 Officers and 363 Other Ranks became casualties. The photos show Allied troops during the Battle.

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