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Remembered Today:

Help Please, Pte James Nicol s/n 15724


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Hi there I am researching, Private James Nicol, s/n15724, 2nd Scottish Rifles

K I A, 12/6/1915 Aged 21, I have learned that he was wouned, at Festubert, Is that

possable, given , his Killed in Action on the 12/6/1915, thanking you, all the very best ,yours Inniskilling. :huh:

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The main battle of Festubert is given as 15 to 25 May 1915. He may have been slightly wounded and returned to the front line,and then later,on 12 June, possibly killed in the day-to-day actions such as sniping,artillery fire,trench raid etc.


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Hi there Sotonmate, thanks very mutch for that, all the very best, yours, Inniskilling :rolleyes:

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  • 11 years later...

Hi there! My name is Romy Nicol and James Nicol is my great, great uncle. I happened upon this thread today. James died of a sniper shot to the head, which killed him instantly in the trench.


Just the day before, his brother had visited him (he had to walk miles on his off day to do this), and so my Great Great Grandmother received both a letter to say James was well from his brother AND the letter to say he has been killed in action on the same day. Hope this helps! (Information passed down through family)

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Good Morning, neighbOther. Welcome to Great War Forum.  Your post is of interest.  It may surprise you to learn that there were at least 20 men called James Nicol who were killed serving with the British Army in the First World War.  If you know  which regiment your ancestor served in and his date of death, then you may be pleasantly surprised by further details  provided by my very learned colleagues.

    The situation where a letter arrived saying a man was well (usually from him as normal mail allowed to a soldier) arriving after notification that he had been killed is not uncommon-  If you think about it, a soldier's letter went through like normal letter post today and might take the better part of a week to arrive- while the dreaded postboy on the doorstep with a telegram from the War Office was a lot quicker. It is,perhaps, the old adage that bad news travels fast- but very bitter nonetheless.

     Lets remind ourselves who your ancestor was:



Service Number: 15724

Regiment & Unit/Ship

Cameronians (Scottish Rifles)

2nd Bn.

Date of Death

Died 12 June 1915

Age 21 years old

Buried or commemorated at


III. D. 4.


Edited by Guest
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I replied to this thread because the original details given match his record I have:

Private James Nicol, s/n 15724, 2nd Cameronians (Scottish Rifles)

KIA, 12/6/1915 - Aged 21

Extra information:

born to Mr and Mrs William Nicol of Clarkston, Airdrie.

Buried in Rue-du-Bois Military Cemetery, Fluerbaix, Pas de Calais, France

Second memorial grave in Clarkston Parish Church, Clarkston, Airdrie.


I know there are other James Nicols as well - it is a common name in Scotland and I research my family tree. I have been to his grave in France (the first in my family to do so).


I am a history teacher so your information is nothing new to me, but may be of interest to others.


I've attached his picture:

James Nicol.jpg

Edited by neighb0ther
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  Thanks NeighbOther-   Another little stereotype of the First World War-which you will know- is that letters from comrades or officers to a man's family almost invariably  said that he died instantaneously and felt no pain. It's a rather grim "standard" which was a saving grace to mitigate grief but often far from the truth.  The War Diary of 2nd Cameronians has been digitised and can currently be found on "Discovery" at The National Archives- I mention this because,as a concession while TNA is shut as per The Lurgi- it can be downloaded for free-You might find it of interest.

    The War Diary entry for 12th June 1915 suggests that your forebear did not die instananeously, as the condolence letter says-Here it is:




      The picture you post is all the more poignant for this.  There are no outright mentions of "killed" in the War Diary after 8th June but a trickle of wounded-alas, a standard level of "wastage" casualties.  Thus, if he died on 12th June 1915-as per CWGC-then,alas,it is possible that he been wounded several days before.  Usually, the series Soldiers Died Great War on Ancestry will distinguish this- if a man died pretty much the same day as he was wounded it will go down as "Killed in Action"- if a day or more had passed, then "Died of Wounds"

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Usually, the series Soldiers Died Great War on Ancestry will distinguish this- if a man died pretty much the same day as he was wounded it will go down as "Killed in Action"- if a day or more had passed, then "Died of Wounds"


Soldiers Died in the Great War shows him as Killed in Action - so given the war diary information possibly wounded but died before he entered the formal medical evacuation chain at the Field Ambulance stage.


The relevant part of the 2nd Cameronians War Diary can be found on the National Archive site here: https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C7352484

You just need to register for an account, (no financial details needed) - assuming you haven't already got one.

It almost certainly won't mention him by name but will give a feel for where they were and what they were up to.


His Medal Index Card, (literally that, an index card raised an the relevant records office in late 1918 to keep track of the issue of medals and related correspondence), shows that he first landed in France on the 17th March 1915. As such he qualified for the 1914/15 Star, as well as the Victory Medal and the British War Medal.

The war diary may show a draft showing up in the week to 10 days after he first landed.


He doesn't appear to have any surviving service records. His service medal roll for his Victory Medal & British War Medal, if completed correctly by the clerk at the records office, should show all the units he served with overseas. Given how short the time between landing and death it's likely to have all been with the 2nd Battalion, but worth a check. It's only on Ancestry.


The 2nd Battalion had been in France since November 1914, so James would have done his training with another unit - probably another home based unit of the Cameronians at that stage of the war - before being sent out as part of a replacement draft.


A search for surviving records for men with nearby service numbers may shed some light on the earlier part of his Army Career. His service number has the prefix A/, which may yield some clues to those familiar with the unit.


His entry in the Army Register of Soldiers Effects, (a financial ledger rather than an inventory), will show who the balance of his pay and war gratuity went to. The really clever people on the forum can tell from the amount of War Gratuity paid roughly when he enlisted.


Apologies if none of this is new to you.



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Hi Romy,


As well as the Battalion war diary, it might be worth downloading the Brigade HQ and Division HW war diaries (link and link) as they often contain 'extras' (such as maps, orders, and reports on operations) that don't appear in the lower level diary. If needed there is help on how to read map references here. These websites might also be of use - link/link.


2 hours ago, PRC said:

...can tell from the amount of War Gratuity paid roughly when he enlisted.



Unfortunately, in this case it doesn't help as the amount shown as paid represents 12 or less months, with overseas service. However, it looks like he may have enlisted in September 1914. Looking at surviving records for other near-ish number Scottish Rifles men shows:


15732 Cummings - enlisted 24.9.1914

15756 Murray - enlisted 17.9.1914

15763 McGuigan - enlisted 15.9.1914


His Soldiers Effect record  names his mother (Elizabeth) as his sole legatee. The associated 'will' appears to be available from ScotlandsPeople.










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