In memory of
Second Lieutenant James A. H. Fergusson
Highland Light Infantry
†September 20th 1914, age 22
Son of Sir James and Lady Fergusson
Spitalhaugh, West Linton
Remembered with honour at
LA FERTE-SOUS-JOUARRE MEMORIAL
The first of the local men to fall was Second Lieutenant James Adam Hamilton Fergusson of the Highland Light Infantry, son of Sir James Ranken Fergusson of Spitalhaugh and Lady Fergusson. He enlisted in the Highland Light Infantry in February 1912 and was killed at the Battle of the Aisne on Sunday, 20th September 1914. In a letter to Lieutenant Fergusson’s parents, Colonel Wolfe Murray wrote, “I daresay before this reaches you you will have heard that poor Hamilton was killed in the trenches by a rifle bullet to the head. Lieutenant O’Connell, Royal Artillery Medical Corps, our Medical Officer, most gallantly went to his assistance under a heavy fire and was himself shot dead. From what I hear, however, there was no hope from the first that he (Hamilton) died shortly afterwards. I cannot tell you how grieved I am, and we all are, at his loss. It was only the day before that his Company commander, Captain Gaussen – who is slightly wounded – told me how plucky and cool he always was under fire, and I myself have seen it. We buried him in the evening, with O’Connell and another brother-officer, young McKenzie. …… He was a general favourite with officers and men, and showed promise of becoming a splendid officer.” His Company Commander wrote “I know a letter don’t do much good at a time like this, but I was with your boy almost at the end, and so thought you might like to hear from me. Also I loved him too. All through the war he had done so well, and was always cheery, that I had got to look at him as my right-hand man”.
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.