Private James Todd

Photo of a PoppyPrivate James Todd

7th Battalion, Kings Own Scottish Borderers

Died 27 September 1915

James Todd was born at Kirkurd, Peeblesshire, the son of John Todd, and his wife, Jane Wilson Todd, on 21 June 1891. James Todd’s link with Wigtown comes from the fact that his parents were living at West Kirkland farm at the time of his death. James was living in Castle Douglas when he enlisted in the army.

James served with the 7th Battalion, Kings Own Scottish Borderers, which was raised in August 1914 when the war broke out. After training on Salisbury Plain in early 1915 the Battalion landed at Boulogne on 10 July 1915. They fought in the action at Hooge in later in the month, being the first division to be attacked by flamethrowers. On 25 September the battalion were at the Battle of Loos and it is likely that it was here that James Todd, by then an acting Sergeant, received the wounds that were to lead to his death two days later. He is buried in Vieille-Chapelle New Military Cemetery near the French town of Bethune along with 645 other casualties. His outstanding pay of £17 was paid to his mother and she also received a War Gratuity in 1919 amounting to £6 10s.

It was at the Battle of Loos on 25 September that one of James Todd’s fellow soldiers of the 7th Battalion, Piper Daniel Laidlaw, won the Victoria Cross. Prior to an assault on enemy trenches and during the worst of the bombardment, Piper Laidlaw, seeing that his company was shaken with the effects of gas, with complete disregard for danger, mounted the parapet and, marching up and down, played his company out of the trench. The effect of his splendid example was immediate and the company dashed to the assault. Piper Laidlaw continued playing his pipes even after he was wounded and until the position was won.