Lance Corporal James Renton

Lance Corporal James Renton, 20th Battalion, ( 1st Tyneside Scottish ), Northumberland Fusiliers. He was killed in action, aged 39, in France on the 1st July 1916 on the first day of the Battle of the Somme. He had been born in Selkirk in 1877 and was the son of the late James and Mary Renton of Tait’s Hill, Selkirk and the husband of Georgina Renton of Edinburgh whom he married in Northumberland in 1905. He had been employed in the Dunsdale Mill in Selkirk before leaving the area. In 1911 he was living in Ushaw Moor near Durham. He landed with his Battalion in France in January 1916. and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, Thiepval, Somme, France. He fell in the great general offensive on that fateful day. The Battalion attacked at La Boiselle up “Mash Valley” in four waves but came under intense machine gun fire from the flanks where neighbouring units had not managed to advance at all. Casualties were horrendous with 10 Officers and 62 Other Ranks killed with 10 Officers and 305 Other Ranks wounded. In addition 7 Officers and 267 Other Ranks were posted missing. Not one Officer escaped being a casualty. It is thought some men reached the third German line but by nightfall the survivors were back in the British front line trenches. The first photo shows British troops attacking across a very wide no mans land with very little cover and the second shows the Tynesiders beginning their attack at 7.30 a.m.

Scroll to Top