James Cunningham likeness

James Cunningham cap badgeLance Corporal James Cunningham

12th (Service) Battalion Highland Light Infantry
Service No: 471

James Cunningham grave

1879

1

4

0

78
Personal details

Family Information

Son of John Walker Miller Cunningham (08/01/1863 - 19/12/1907) and Agnes Smellie Cunningham (1866 - ) of 1c Cullen St, Coatbridge. James' father was killed in a railway accident at Craighead Colliery in Blantyre in 1907. James' older brother William was killed on the same day with the same Regiment on the 2nd day of the Battle of Loos. Both have no known grave. In his Will James left all his property and effects to his mother. From the 1901 Census - Address - 5 Cullen St, Coatbridge - John Cunningham aged 38, Agnes Cunningham aged 35, Elizabeth Cunningham aged 13, Jane Cunningham aged 12, Peter Cunningham aged 10, William Cunningham aged 8, Janet Cunningham aged 6, James Cunningham aged 4, Agnes Cunningham aged 1. Brother Robert was born in 1902 and brother John in 1906. James and his brother William's Pension was awarded to their mother Agnes on the 06/12/1916.

Born / Resided

Coatbridge / 1c Cullen St, Coatbridge.

Died

Killed in Action on the 26/09/1915 on the 2nd day of the Battle of Loos (with his brother William)

Enlisted

Coatbridge /08/1914

Employed

Clerk in the British Tube Works.

Age

19

Buried / Remembered

Loos Memorial (Panel 108 to 112), Pas de Calais, France.

Cemetery / Memorial Information

The Loos Memorial commemorates over 20,000 officers and men who have no known grave, who fell in the area from the River Lys to the old southern boundary of the First Army, east and west of Grenay, from the first day of the Battle of Loos to the end of the war. On either side of the cemetery is a wall 15 feet high, to which are fixed tablets on which are carved the names of those commemorated. At the back are four small circular courts, open to the sky, in which the lines of tablets are continued, and between these courts are three semicircular walls or apses, two of which carry tablets, while on the centre apse is erected the Cross of Sacrifice.

Additional Information

The Battalion arrived at Boulogne on the 10/07/1915 and were part of the 46th Brigade, 15th (Scottish) Division. James arrived in France on the 28/07/1915. The Battle of Loos : 25th of September – 15th of October 1915 : The first genuinely large scale British offensive action but once again only in a supporting role to a larger French attack in the Third Battle of Artois. British appeals that the ground over which they were being called upon to advance was wholly unsuitable were rejected. The battle is historically noteworthy for the first British use of poison gas. On the opening day (morning) : In the centre the 15th (Scottish) Division : In this sector the gas cloud hung back, causing delays and some losses to the advancing troops. Although the infantry had only 200 yards to cross from the heads of the Russian saps, the gas and smoke only covered them for the first 40 yards – and as men emerged into the clear, two German machine-guns swept twice across the advancing line, causing many casualties. The afternoon and evening : 15th (Scottish) Division was in some difficulty, despite having succeeded in capturing Loos itself. Men were helplessly pinned down on the forward slope of Hill 70, and the artillery support that had been called for since 10.50am was only just beginning to happen. The enemy made a determined attempt – having reinforced this area – to envelop the troops lying out in the open and to force them towards the second German line. On the 26th September - 5.00am : Orders are received by 15th (Scottish) Division. Reinforced by 21st Division, they are to recapture Hill 70 with an attack at 9.00am. It was proving virtually impossible to move artillery forward to support this attack, and ammunition supplies were dwindling – fresh ones being held up in traffic. The attack would be supported by artillery firing from their original positions, and the second German line would barely be touched. A bombardment of two rounds per gun per minute was ordered. In confusion, some units did not receive an order to withdraw from the most advanced positions, and British shells fell on their own infantry in places. Many infantry units did not receive orders to attack until 7.00am, and in at least one case, 8.00am. SEE PHOTOS x 18 FOR THE BATTALION WAR DIARY SEPTEMBER 1915 and PHOTOS x 17 FOR THE 15th (SCOTTISH) DIVISION BOOK 25th - 26th SEPTEMBER 1915. Scottish Regiments lost a huge amount of brave men at Loos. Here is a list of Infantry Battalions who lost more than 500 men at the Battle of Loos from 25/09/1915 to 16/10/1915 - 7th Cameron Highlanders 687, of which 19 Officers, 9th Black Watch 680, of which 20 Officers, 6th King’s Own Scottish Borderers 650, of which 20 Officers, 10th Highland Light Infantry 648, of which 20 Officers, 7th King’s Own Scottish Borderers 631, of which 20 Officers, 8th Devons 619, of which 19 Officers, 8th Royal West Kents 580, of which 24 Officers, 8th Buffs 558, of which 24 Officers, 12TH HIGHLAND LIGHT INFANTRY 553, OF WHICH 23 OFFICERS, 8th Black Watch 511, of which 19 Officers, 5th North Staffordshire 505, of which 20 Officers, 8th Seaforth Highlanders 502, of which 23 Officers. James was Killed in Action on the second day of the battle. James was 1 of 99 men from the Coatbridge Memorial who fell during and from injuries from the Battle of Loos. James is listed as 11TH BATTALION on the Memorial. See Directory for James' brother William's page. James is also remembered on the Stewarts and Lloyds, St Augustine's Parish (book) and Old Monkland Churches Rolls of Honour (see photos. James listed with his brother William on the Old Monkland Church Roll of Honour). See photos for James' Medal Index Card, his CWGC Grave Registration, his name on the Loos Memorial Panel List, his name on the Loos Memorial, his name in the De Ruvigny's Roll of Honour, his Army Register of Soldiers Effects, his Service Medal and Award Rolls x 2, the Highland Light Infantry Cap Badge, James' and his brother William's Pension Records x 3 and photos x 3 of a Remembrance tribute presented to the Church by the Old Monkland Brownies on the 10/11/2019. These feature all of the lost men from the Parish during the 1st World War. Finally, see photos for Newspaper clippings x 3 (Coatbridge Express x 1 and Airdrie and Coatbridge Advertiser), photos of a wreath x 2 placed by myself at Loos Memorial in July 2023 remembering ALL the men who left from the Iron Burgh who are named there, myself at the Highland Light Infantry Panel at Loos Memorial in July 2023 (James listed top right) and SEE PHOTOS FOR 26 PAGES FROM THE MOST UNFAVOURABLE GROUND BOOK REGARDING THE BATTALION and DIVISION 25/09/1915 (fantastic book on the Battle of Loos kindly signed by the author Niall Cherry).

Photos
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War Diaries

The battalion War Diary is available on the National Archives website.

Creative Commons License

We have made this information and the images available under a Creative Commons BY-NC license. This means you may reuse it for non-commercial purposes only and must attribute it to us using the following statement: © coatbridgeandthegreatwar.com

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