Photo of Private James Fleming
Private James Fleming
5th Battalion, King’s Own Scottish Borderers
Died 22 January 1917
James Fleming’s name does not appear on Wigtown’s War Memorial nor on the records of war dead of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. He does not appear on the latter because his premature death at the age of 19 from tuberculosis cannot be directly linked to his military service. Why he is not recorded on Wigtown’s memorial is not known.
He was born John Ross, the illegitimate son of domestic servant Janet Margaret Ross on 4 March 1897 at 16 Agnew Crescent, Wigtown. He went on to play football for Wigtown Utd and the photograph here shows him as part of the Galloway Shield winning team from the 1913-14 season.
He is one of the few soldiers whose military papers still exist. They show him enlisting of 14 December 1914 as a Private in the 5th Battalion, King’s Own Scottish Borderers (a reserve Battalion). He named his next of kin as his grandmother, Jane Fleming, of Kilquhirn, Wigtown. He then transferred to the Army Service Corps but was discharged in October 1915 following a spell in Taunton Hospital, suffering from tuberculosis. He was issued with an armband to wear in public to show that he had been discharged from service due to being unfit to serve.
After discharge he gained employment as a chauffeur but that was not to last long as he died on 22 January 1917 at 22 High Street: the cause of death was registered as tubercular disease of the larynx and lungs. The death was reported by his uncle, W Ross, of 11 High Street. James was only 19.
Photo of Wigtown Football Club with Private James Fleming