Private James Swanston

Private James Cockburn Swanston, 2nd Battalion, Royal Scots Fusiliers. He was killed in action in France, aged 30, on 30th July 1916 during the Battle of the Somme. He had been born in Stitchill and was the son of Mr and Mrs E. Swanston of East Lodge, Stichill, Kelso and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, Thiepval, Somme, France. Before he enlisted in December 1915 he had been employed as a forester in Stitchill. He fell in the attack on the heavily fortified village of Guillemont. The Battalion reached its objectives but the flank attacks failed leaving the Fusiliers isolated and forced to retire. Casualties were very heavy. The attack began with 20 Officers and 750 Other Ranks and finished with  3 Officers and 140 Other Ranks. The photographs show Scottish troops on the Somme and the colour photo shows a peaceful Somme landscape today with ” no gas, no barbed wire, no guns firing now”.

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