109525 Pte. James McVittie was born on August 27th 1883, at Langholm, Dumfrieshire, Scotland, to William and Agnes McVittie.


Emigrating to Canada in 1906, James arrived in Montreal on July 20th aboard the S.S. Canada. Having served with the Governor General's Body Guard in Toronto prior to the war, when the call came, James, a surveyor by trade, did not hesitate and attested in Toronto on November 27th, 1914, as part of the original contingent that would soon become the 4th CMR. He was assigned to 'A' Company come that time.


He was able to revisit his home in 1916, when he was granted 8 days leave and returned to Langholm in late May 1916. Had that leave been a week or so later it would have saved his life, as, sadly, he returned at the beginning of June and the 4th CMR was decimated in the 'Battle for Mount Sorrel', on June 2nd 1916.


James was initially reported missing on June 2nd, 1916, a state that continued until all casualties were accounted for in the chaos over the following days, and even then not until the extensive POW lists from that day had been received from the Germans; a process that in some cases took several months. In James' case it wasn't until February 1917 that it was known for sure that he wasn't a POW. Sadly, James wasn't accounted for either in the casualty lists and as such he was recorded as lost without recovery somewhere in the vicinity of Maple Copse and Armagh Wood, near Ypres (now Ieper), Belgium, on June 2nd, 1916.


Pte. James McVittie is subsequently remembered on the Menin Gate Memorial, in Ieper, a monument erected solely to remember all who had been lost without trace in the defence of Ypres (some 54,000 names appear there, whilst a further 34,000 that couldn't be fitted onto it were added to the memorial walls at Tyne Cot Memorial).


James is also remembered on the War Memorial in Langholm, Dunfries.




Credit and thanks are extended to Timothy McCracken for the biographical details, as written up by 4cmr.com