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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Lt. James Percival McNicol , 10th Bn A & SH

Rob B

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Can any one help,

Sue has just completed research into my Great Aunt a Sister Winifred Mary GEDYE of the Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service,

who served on the Western Front from 1914 to her return to the UK in 1920.

In her records at the National Archives was a letter from the mother of Lt James Percival McNicol of the 10th Battalion of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.

She wanted to speak with my Great Aunt who nursed her son until he died at 3 Casualty Clearance Station at Gezaincourt Nr Doullens on 20th June of 1918.

Can any one throw any light on him, and the action that lead to his wounding.

This is one of those threads that came to light and obviously this great old lady had an impact on Lt McNicol for him to mention her to his mother back home in Dunbartonshire.

Thank you all so much.


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My God. Great War Family Research has studied him for a client. I'll PM you with contact details.

James Percival McNicol was aged 18 years and 210 days when he attested to enlist for general service in Edinburgh on 24 April 1916.

A single man who had been born at New Kilpatrick in Dumbartonshire on 28 September 1897, he lived at Huntly, Bearsden and was employed as a farmer’s pupil. James had attended school at the Glasgow Academy, and was currently serving as a cadet with the Officers Training Corps contingent at Edinburgh University.

He was given rank and number Private S/16659 in the 15th (Reserve) Battalion, the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders and posted to Army Reserve.

On 8 July 1916, James completed an application for attendance at an Officer Cadet Unit with a view to obtaining a commission as a temporary officer of the regular army. J. H. Dickin, a parish minister who lived at New Kilpatrick House in Bearsden, supported his application. This man said he had known James for nine years. Edwin Temple, headmaster of Glasgow Academy, verified that James had the appropriate standard of education.

While serving with the OTC, James achieved qualifications in miniature and open range rifle shooting.

His application accepted by the authorities, James was recalled on 7 August 1916, and posted to No. 4 Officer Cadet Battalion at Oxford.

James passed the training course successfully, and was appointed to a commission in the Special Reserve of Officers and posted to the 4th (Extra Reserve) Battalion, the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders on 22 November 1916. Formally, he was discharged from the ranks at this point.

There is a large gap in the file in terms of what next happened to James, for the next items relate to his death while attached to 10th Battalion.

On 20 June 1918, Lieutenant Colonel Ray, commanding officer of No. 3 Casualty Clearing Station, then located at Bagneux near Doullens, sent to the War Office a report of the deaths of two officers. It listed Second Lieutenant J. P. McNicol, 10th Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, having died as a result of wounds to the throat, buttocks and arms.

The same day, a dreadful telegram was sent to James’s father: “Regret inform you that 2/Lieut. J. P. McNicol Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders reported twentieth June admitted third Casualty Clearing Station France, suffering from gunshot wounds throat thigh and arm right dangerously ill”. This must have raised a good deal of anguish and uncertainty in the household, and arrived at the very time that James died.

James McNicol is buried in Plot 3, row E, grave 7 in Bagneux British Cemetery.

On 14 June 1918, “Battalion took over front line, left sub sector, from 2nd KOYLI. Considerable inconvenience caused daily by enemy heavy trench mortar and notwithstanding a certain amount of heavy artillery fire on Moyenneville, direct hits are obtained daily on either the front line or Cornwall Avenue. Constant repairing is necessary nightly. Enemy artillery has been less active lately”. On 22 June, the battalion was relieved by the 1/5th Border Regiment and came out for rest.

The diary notes that Lieutenant McNicol was killed in action on 20 June 1918.

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How sobering is that,

Chris, thank you so much for that I have a copy of the letter from his mum and can e-mail it to you should you want.

This forum has excelled itself yet again.

Thank you,


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Hi Malcolm,

That would be wonderful. To think this all came from a mothers letter in the National Archives.



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Serendipity? Do you get the feeling that some men are still making heroic efforts not to be forgotten? [Don't answer that - I know there will be dissenters ;) ].

It would have been part of Winifred Gedye's job as Sister-in-charge to write letters to the family of men who died at the Casualty Clearing Station, and in view of the short time between wounding and death, I'm sure that's how Annabella McNicol knew who had been caring for her son at that time.

An interesting series of coincidences though!


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Although Lt McNicol is listed in the Roll of Honour, the 10th A&SH Bn history makes no mention of him. However, it does comment that during the period in question, they were "sadly troubled by those pests the Minnies, from Moyenneville, the exact locality of which could never be located. The Minnies were known as 'Pansy', 'Poppie' and 'Daisy,' and familiarly called the 'Flower garden'"

Given the nature of his injuries, i wonder if Lt McNicol fell foul of one of these?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thank you for all that wonderful back up information, and Pam the photo was great. As to the nature of the injuries Steve they do have the charactaristics of shrapnal wounds.

And Malcolm thanks for dodging the Old College mafia having lived up the Road opposite the Queens Hall for years I am well aware of how sniffy they can be.

I am amazed as ever at what this one letter has produced.

Thank you all for putting a face and background to James.

Yours Aye,


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  • 3 weeks later...

Rob B

I've just sent you a PM - I'm in shock.... Just joined this forum this evening...

James Percival McNicol was my grandmother's brother. See my only other post(earlier this evening) for another photo.

Kind regards (still taking deep breaths!)


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Surname McNICOL

Firstname James Percival

Service number

Date of death 20/06/1918


Place of birth

Other 4th Bn.


Rank 2/Lt

Theatre of death Unknown

This is his Scottish National War Memorial entry.

Ain't this a good forum!!!



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This is an amazing turn of events all through the intervention of Sue and her visit to the archives. I feel I know Lt Jim McNicol beter than some of my ancestors and having served in the Royal Highland Fusiliers it was even better for me that he was a Jock Officer.

Sammycat I will be in contact.

Isn't this forum impressive, thanks to all of you.


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Great thread.

And I agree that as we commit ourselves to Remembrance, somehow, as Sue tentatively suggests, there seems to be more than a little good fortune/serendipity

coming to our aid.

Sammycat - can you post the excellent group shooting picture in this thread as well ?

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Hi All,

Brilliant thread. What a set of coincidences these are. A truely heart warming story. Keep up the good work !!



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Well done and congratulations to all involved in this great story. :D

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