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Remembered Today:

La Ferte-sous-Jouarre Memorial


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On our church Roll of Honour there is a 2nd Lt James Adam Hamilton Fergusson of HLI. He died on 20.09.1914. His commanding officer wrote to his parents giving details of his death. It appears that when he was wounded a doctor went to his aid but he too died. The letter states that James, the doctor Lt John Forbes O'Connel and another officer 2nd Lt Colin Landseer MacKenzie were buried together. On the CWGC site Fergusson is shown as being listed on the La Ferte sous Jouarre Memorial while MacKenzie and O'Connel are buried in Vendress British Cemetary in graves IE8 and IE10.

So where was James Fergusson buried? Could his body have been taken home at a later date? Could he have been buried in plot IE9? :unsure:


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His body was certainly not returned home. Even though he died in the period when bodies could be returned home at the relatives' expense he was not one of them and the practice was banned from mid-1915. Also, if he had been returned home, his name would not be on the memorial to the missing but at his eventual burial location.

The significance of his name being on a memorial to the missing is that his body was never found or found but not identified. The liklihood is one of the following....

(1) His body was totally destroyed by explosion

(2) His body was recovered but was not identified and he lies in a grave marked 'Known Unto God'.

(3) His body is still out there somewhere, never having been found.

(4) His body was found and buried on the battlefied but was subsequently destroyed by shellfire or its location lost.

Grave I.E.9 is occupied bt Pte W.Dennison Cameron Highlanders Died 14.09.14

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Thanks for the reply.

It was Col Wolfe Murray who wrote to James Fergussons parents saying that he had been buried with two other officers.

Captain Gaussen also wrote to his parents " He had just pointed out to me that the Germans were bringing up more ammunition when they hit him in the head. He was quite unconcious and I do not think he suffered at all. After I was hit I had to crawl past him and he looked quite happy and peaceful. The doctor tried to get to him in case there was anything that could be done, but he too was killed as soon as he got there."

It seems a shame that his body should then be "lost"


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Firstname James Adam Hamilton

Service number

Date of death 20/09/1914


Place of birth



Rank 2/Lt

Theatre of death Unknown

was killed just after the local laird here near Edinburgh

info from the Memorial-


Lieutenant 4th Bart.

2nd Bn., Highland Light Infantry who died on Monday, 14th September 1914. Age 31.

Additional information: Son of the late Sir James Henry Gibson-Craig, 3rd Bart., and of Lady Gibson Craig, of Riccarton, Currie, Midlothian.

Commemorative Information

Memorial: LA FERTE-SOUS-JOUARRE MEMORIAL, Seine-et-Marne, France

Location: La Ferte-sous-Jouarre is a small town 66 kilometres to

the east of Paris, and the Memorial is situated in a small park on the south bank of the River Marne, just off the main road to Paris. The Memorial Register is kept at the Town Hall. The La Ferte-sous-Jouarre

Memorial commemorates nearly 4,000 officers and men of the British Expeditionary Force who died in August, September and the early part of October 1914 and who have no known grave. The monument consists of a rectangular block of stone, 62 feet by 30 feet and 24 feet high, with the names of the dead engraved on stone panels on all sides of the monument.

Local memorial: Currie Church panels

Unit information:

2nd Highland Light Infantry

4/8/1914 Maida Barracks, Aldershot: 5th Bde, 2nd Division.

14/8/1914 landed Boulogne. 11/11/1918 5th Bde, 2nd Div, Villers Pol, France.

The village of Ferte-sous-Jouarre was captured in a night fight on the 10th September which was a hand-to-hand fight among burning buildings. The advance was continued on the 12th – 13th but was brought to a halt when they ran into artillery and machine-gun fire north of the village. Lt Gibson-Craig volunteered to deal with a concealed machine-gun which was firing from the wooded hills to the west. He was given a small company and their attack was entirely successful but Lt Gibson-Craig and two of his men were killed, at the cost of 50 of the enemy. Their bodies were brought two miles back and buried near the village. Wooden Crosses were made to mark the spot but the positions were subsequently lost later in the war through shellfire. Officers Died gives the date as between 12th – 17th September 1914.

Lt Fergusson was presumably also buried in the same area.



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  • 7 years later...

Evelyn, I'm researching names on the Pirbright, Surrey war memorial, including Capt David Gaussen. This quote from his letter is most valuable. Please may I use it & also do you have any other personal details? I've found most of the regimental/divisional history for him.


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Hi Evelyn

From the HLI Chronicles " On September the 20th the Germans opened a heavy attack with rifle fire at 6 am. They were repulsed, and entrenched 300 yards from the advanced British trenches. Two platoons of the Battalion under Lieut Lilburn, with two companies of the Worcester Regiment, made a gallant but unsuccessful attack on the German trenches. Casualties killed- 2nd Lieut C L McKenzie, Lieut J A H Fergusson, 2nd Lieut E R H McDonald, Lieut J O'Connor (RAMC attached) and 15 nco's and men; wounded-Capt A W D Gaussen, Lieut Lilburn and 69 nco's and men. "

He is mentioned a few times in Proud Heritage Microsoft Office Word 97 download (you may have it already?)

" The business of mobilising was carried out with the efficiency to be expected of an operation planned to the last detail, and in the 74th there was even time to send off the colours with appropriate ceremony. The colour-party paraded in full-dress—for the last time in the history of the Regiment. The King’s Colour was carried by Second Lieut. James Fergusson, younger, of Spitalhaugh, the Regimental Colour by Second Lieut. Campbell Ffolliot Powell, and the Assaye Colour by Second Lieut. Cohn Landseer Mackenzie. All three were young men of great promise, and all were killed in action within a few weeks. By 9 August the battalion was completely mobilised and ready for the field, and on that day was inspected by the King and Queen. "

A man I am researching Pte 10704 James Reid 2nd HLI fell on the 20th September. I am not yet sure if he was involved in the same action, as men from other companies fell that day. I think Lieut Fergusson was "B" Coy?

There is also mention of a 2nd Liet Fergusson a fine cricketer, (batsman/wicketkeeper) but not sure if its your man?

Cheers Mike

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Don't know if this is of any use?...



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