Saturday, July 16, 2011


27 FEBRUARY 1917

The dreaded "KILLED IN ACTION" stamp on his service record.

James A. Douglas's WW1 British War & Victory Medal pair.

3391 PTE. J.A. DOUGLAS. 12-BN A.I.F.

British War & Victory Medals confirmed.
(Not elligible for 1914/15 Star)

Born in January 1887 in the Parish of Dunning, Perthshire, Scotland. Son of John Douglas who served in the Anglo Boer War with the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Highlanders (Black Watch). It appears from records that the DOUGLAS family settled in the mining town of Jagersfontein, South Africa. James A. Douglas was a Stone Mason by trade. During that time prior to the advent of WW1 he decided to relocate to the state of Victoria, Australia presumably to apply his trade in the mining industry there.

Upon attestation with the A.I.F. in 1915 (age 28) he indicated his next-of-kin as his brother John Sydney Douglas from Jagersfontein, South Africa. Records show that a few Douglas's served with the Jagersfontein Town Guard during the Boer war. (Not J.S. Douglas).
In an official entry on his attestation form towards the end of the War (1920), his next-of-kin was revised to reflect his father John Douglas. Initially residing in Perthshire, now ammended to Jagersfontein. I have to assume that James A. Douglas's medals were  posted to his family then living in Jagersfontein.

James's WW1 medal pair was kept together with his father's Boer War medal pair through all the years. His father John Douglas received the Queen's South Africa (Cape Colony & Wittebergen clasps) & the King's South Africa Medals (South Africa 1901 & 1902 clasps).

Wittebergen Battle clasp on QSA
Lance Corporal John Douglas from Dunning, Perthshire.
Enlisted in 1898.
Medals & clasps confirmed.
Discharged in 1902.

Named to 2nd Battalion Royal Highlanders (Black Watch)

The action leading to the death of
James Alexander Douglas

Records indicate that James A. Douglas was serving in France with the 12th battalion of the Australian Inperial Forces when he was Wounded in Action in Pozieres on 29 July 1916. Records also confirm that he was admitted for shell shock.

Early in 1917 James Douglas was involved in the fighting during the German withdrawl to the Hindenberg Line. At dawn on the 27th February 1917 Douglas's 12th battalion attacked the outpost villages of Le Barque and Ligny-Thilloy. He was sadly killed in the subsequent action. 

This was the same skirmish where Sergeant John Whittle VC won his Distinguished Conduct Medal.  Whittle won the DCM prior to his Victoria Cross action a month later in early April.

Below is the Casualty Form for DOUGLAS
Wounded in action and admitted for shell shock.

K.I.A. entry on his Field Service card.

James Alexander Douglas is remembered on

He now lay buried in the  A.I.F. BURIAL GROUND, FLERS, FRANCE 


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