Bridge of Weir

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M/305242 Private James Burns

Mechanical Transport Reinforcements, Army Service Corps

died of dysentery 8th October 1917

aged 23

Dar Es Salaam War Cemetery
St Machar's Church Memorial, Bridge of Weir

Gryfe Castle Cottage, Bridge of Weir
Son of James Burns and Margaret Jaffray

His Life

Brothers James and Robert Burns were both killed in the First World War. James was born on 18th October 1893 in Barskimming Offices, Mauchline, Ayrshire, the son of James Burns, a coachman from Fenwick, Ayrshire and Margaret Jaffray from Mid Mar, Aberdeenshire who had married in Kinning Park, Glasgow on 15th January 1892.

In 1901 the Burns family of four was living in 48 Woodside Terrace Lane, Glasgow. James senior was a domestic coachman. James junior (7) was at school.

By 1911, the family were in 43 Claremont Terrace Lane, Glasgow but James (18) had left home and was working as a domestic groom for the Ogilvie family at Corsliehill House, Houston, Renfrewshire. James was a boarder in Corsliehill, the home of the head coachman Charles Kirkpatrick and his family.

James enlisted at Perth, residence stated as Bridge of Weir. His Medal Roll Index Card does not state when he first entered the theatre of war but confirms that he was enlisted into the Army Service Corps. The ASC, or Royal Army Service Corps, was responsible for servicing all British army theatres of war. The food for men and horses, ammunition and everything else that was needed to service an army of three million men was transported by the ASC, which had more than 300,000 soldiers at its peak.

James was posted to Tanganyika, a name given by the British to the former German East Africa. The campaign lasted virtually the entire duration of the war and there were about 10,000 British Commonwealth casualties, two-thirds due to disease.

James died of dysentery in Dar Es Salaam, the capital of Tanganyika, on 8th October 1917, the second of the two Burns brothers to fall within five months, and is buried in Dar Es Salaam War Cemetery.


1901 Census 1911 Census Birthplace
Name Age Name Age
James7 James*18 Mauchline, Ayrshire
Robert4 Robert14 Glasgow, Lanark

* = not in James and Margaret Burns family home - see text for details


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