Blantyre Man’s Gallantry

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Blantyre, Lanarkshire, Scotland

Blantyre's Heroes

Blantyre Man’s Gallantry

Glorious Charge of the Cameronians

Recommended for V.C.

Blantyre Man's Gallantry

In the Blantyre and Hamilton Districts yesterday there was great rejoicing when it became known that Pte. James Crothers, of the Blantyre Company of the 6th Cameronians, had been recommended for the V.C. His parents reside at Rosebank Avenue, Blantyre.

The specific act of gallantry carried out by Pte. Crothers took place at Festubert, when the Cameronians made their glorious charge which cost them a heavy toll of killed and wounded, both in officers and men. There was a call for volunteers to go out and rescue the wounded who were lying between both firing lines. Pte. Crothers at once responded.

Among the men whom he succoured that night was an officer, badly wounded and unconscious whom Pte. Crothers, at great personal risk, succeeded in bringing back to safety. The gallant private was afterwards paraded before the General, who complimented him very highly for his gallantry, and intimated that he would have pleasure in recommending him for the V.C.

Pte. Crothers, who has two brothers serving at the front, is 25 years of age, and previous to the war was engaged in Messrs. Archibald Russell’s Loanhead Colliery. He was a member of the Hamilton Company of the Territorials, now merged in the 1/6th Cameronians, in which company he had been in for three years, and for four years previous he belonged to the old Volunteers. He was well known in the Burnbank district, where his parents resided before going to Blantyre, and for some years was a pony driver in Earnock Colliery, and latterly, for two years previous to mobilisation, he was employed at Loanend Colliery, Newton. Strange to say, he carried out his heroic deeds and never received a scratch.

Telling the News

With becoming modesty he tells the news. In a letter to his parents he seems to look upon his marvelous gallantry in a matter-of-fact manner, and does not think he has done anything calling for special comment. The following passages appear:-

“You will have heard the good news by this time. I have been recommended for the D.C.M., but, God knows, it was the last of my thoughts, for, my God, it was simply awful to see our poor comrades lying and could do nothing for themselves. I did not think of decorations, I only did my duty, with God’s help, and I will always thank Him for the strength He gave me, and I hope He will spare me to come home and see you all again”.

“Something told me that God would bring me through, for I had such confidence, and it could have been nothing else but His assurance that brought me out of it.”

Further letters received later more fully described the gallant deeds done by Private Crothers, which has brought credit not only upon himself, but to the district to which he belongs. He proved a hero in every respect.

In Face of Terrific Fire

It appears from the letters received that after the fateful charge, volunteers were asked for to bring in the wounded; but an officer said that it would be useless, as no man could live in the face of terrific fire of the enemy. But Crothers made up his mind that he would go, and off he went, and the first man he came across was his lieutenant, who was badly wounded, and he carried him to their own lines amid a perfect torrent of hail. On three occasions he went back and brought back a man each time to safety.

The gallant action of Crothers was reported to the General, who said that he would have the pleasure of recommending him for the V.C., and failing that, he would certainly be awarded the D.C.M.

The deeds of their hero were freely discussed in Blantyre yesterday, and until late last night there were many visitors to Rosebank Avenue, where the parents of Private Crothers received many congratulations. Great pride was felt for the gallant son who had proved a true soldier in a trying hour when he was willing and ready to give his life for others – the highest gift of all.

Source: Daily Record and Mail, Tuesday July 13th, 1915


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