James Love is named on Wigtown War Memorial but it is only after extensive research that his background has been discovered. It appears that he was born as James Thomson Love in 1890 at Mochrum, the son of Agnes Love. In 1892 there was a legal judgement which named James Thompson (sic) of Loch Head, Mochrum, as James’ father. Young James lived at Elrig with his three half-siblings before moving to High Milton Cothouse at Mochrum where the family was living in 1901.
Private 20961 James Thomson Love enlisted with the Royal Scots Fusiliers at Elrig under the name of Thomson and served with the 2nd Battalion. On 1 July 1916, supported by a French attack to the south, thirteen divisions of Commonwealth forces launched an offensive on a line from north of Gommecourt to Maricourt. Despite a preliminary bombardment lasting seven days, the German defences were barely touched and the attack met unexpectedly fierce resistance. Losses were catastrophic and with only minimal advances on the southern flank, the initial attack was a failure. In the following weeks, huge resources of manpower and equipment were deployed in an attempt to exploit the modest successes of the first day. However, the German Army resisted tenaciously and repeated attacks and counter attacks meant a major battle for every village, copse and farmhouse gained. At the end of September, Thiepval was finally captured. The Battle of the Somme finally ended on 18 November with the onset of winter. It is here that Private Thomson fell in action on 30 July. His body was never found and his sacrifice is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, the Memorial to the Missing of the Somme. It bears the names of more than 72,000 officers and men of the United Kingdom and South African forces who died in the Somme sector before 20 March 1918 and have no known grave. Over 90% of those commemorated died between July and November 1916.
Agnes Love was paid James’ outstanding pay of £2 6s 5d on 9 October 1917 and received a further £3 War Gratuity in 1919. As yet James’ link to Wigtown has not been established.