Private James Loan
2nd Battalion, Scots Guards
Died 16 May 1915
Private 10634 James Loan, 2nd Battalion, Scots Guards, was born in Whithorn, the eldest son of James Loan, a traction engine driver, and his wife, Mary. He had two sisters and a brother and lived in George Street, Whithorn, but had left Galloway for Edinburgh before the start of the war and had married Margaret Darward. He worked at the St Cuthbert’s Co-operative Society store in Edinburgh and, at the outbreak of war, he enlisted with the Scots Guards. After initial training he arrived in Belgium on 26 March 1915.
On 29 May 1915 the Galloway Gazette announced that Pte Loan had been killed in action on May 16th. The following week it carried the following tribute to him:
At the close of his sermon on Sunday last at Whithorn Parish Church, the Rev D M Henry, after referring to the late Captain Johnston Stewart said:- We also remember here today another who was a native of Whithorn and who was killed at the front on the day before Captain Stewart – Private James Loan, son of Mr & Mrs Loan, Bladnoch. Sad it is to think of the fine young life cut short, but all the same it is splendid to think that he has lived and died so well. He is an honour to his parents, his native place, and to his country: we who knew him will always think of him as a hero, for he has done his part as bravely and as nobly as the bravest of them. And our sympathies go out this day to his bereaved parents and family.
Private Loan’s body was not found and he is commemorated on the Le Touret Memorial, Pas de Calais, France which commemorates over 13,400 British soldiers who were killed in this sector of the Western Front from the beginning of October 1914 to late September 1915 and who have no known grave. He is named on Wigtown War Memorial because his family lived in Bladnoch and on Whithorn’s, his birthplace. In October 1915 his widow, Margaret, was sent the outstanding pay due to James, £1 0s 7d (£1.03). After the war she was paid a War Gratuity of £3.