Gunner John Coburn

Gunner John Coburn
4th Bn Gordon Highlanders
Died 24th September 1917
John Coburn (or Cockburn as some records name him), was born at 4 Low Vennel, Wigtown on 16th April 1898, the illegitimate son of domestic servant Margaret Coburn. However, John seems to have spent his childhood living with his father as his mother disappears from records until his death in 1917. In 1901 the 3 year-old John was living with his father, James, a general labourer and grandfather, also James, a hawker of hardware goods at 9 Low Vennel. Ten years later the family still resided at number 9.
The Wigtown Burgh Roll of Honour indicates John Coburn serving with 3rd Battalion Kings Own Scottish Borderers but military records show him enlisting at Ayr with the 6th Bn Gordon Highlanders. At some time Pte Coburn transferred to the 1st/4th Bn of the Gordons. Whichever unit he served with he would have seen a good deal of action in France and Flanders. A photograph held by the Imperial War Museum shows a unit from the regiment engaged in road repairs in 1916.
In late August 1917 John Coburn was severely wounded and died the following month. The Galloway Gazette (6/10/1917) reported: Mrs Myles, Arthur Street, Newton Stewart has received notice from the sister in charge of a hospital that her son Pte J Coburn, Gordon Highlanders, died on 24 September of wounds received in action on the 27th. He was shot in the abdomen and thigh and is buried in a military cemetery near the hospital.
John Coburn is buried at Dozinghem Military Cemetery in Flanders. In July 1917, in readiness for the forthcoming offensive, groups of casualty clearing stations were placed at three positions called by the troops Mendinghem, Dozinghem and Bandaghem. The 4th, 47th and 61st Casualty Clearing Stations were posted at Dozinghem and the military cemetery was used by them until early in 1918. There are 3,174 Commonwealth burials of the First World War in the cemetery and 65 German war graves from this period.
Photo of World War 1 soldiers