Bridge of Weir

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7475 Gunner James Aitken McGibbon

"Z" 17th Trench Mortar Battery, Royal Field Artillery

killed in action 6th April 1917

aged 31

Ste Catherine British Cemetery
Freeland Church Memorial, Bridge of Weir

Son of William McGibbon and Martha Aitken
Riversdale, Bridge of Weir

His Life

James Aitken McGibbon was born on 17th June 1886 in Bridge of Weir. He was the son of William McGibbon, farm servant from Inveraray, and Martha Aitken, thread millworker from Bridge of Weir. William and Martha later formalised their common law relationship by being married by Rev Thomas Carruthers in the Free Church, Bridge of Weir on 31st October 1893.

1n 1891 William (35), Martha (37) and two children, James Aitken (4) and Janet Aitken (7) were living at Campbell's Land, Bridge of Weir.

By 1901 James, 14, was a labourer in the leather trade living with his 50 year old mother. Janet Aitken is listed as a 17 year old boarder. She was an ironmonger's shop assistant. William was not in the family home on the evening of the census. William died of tuberculosis in 1907, aged 48. His son James registered his death.

By 1911 James and his mother had moved to Riversdale on the Main Street in Bridge of Weir. This tenement occupied the site on which the library (now "The Bridge") was built. James was 25, single, and a currier with the leather company. Martha was 59 and a widow. They had a boarder - a 20 year old chauffeur, Thomas Davidson.

Within a few weeks of the outbreak of World War I, James volunteered, and joined the Royal Field Artillery.

Gunner McGibbon first joined the theatre of war on 13th July 1915 in France. At the time of his death he was in "Z" battery of the 17th Division's Trench Mortar Unit. He, with two of his comrades, was killed on the third day of the preliminary bombardment in preparation for the Battle of Arras that was due to begin on 9th April 1917. He is buried in the Ste. Catherine British Cemetery in the outskirts of Arras. The village was held by Allied forces from March 1916 until the Armistice but was within range of German artillery for much of that time.

His medal index card records correspondence from William McGibbon, Hewish Road, Croydon, Victoria, Australia requesting his medals as next of kin (4th April 1920). William was his brother.

Battle of Arras

The field of battle where James McGibbon fell on 6th April 1917. The 17th Trench Mortar batteries were bombarding enemy lines in preparation for Zero Hour on 9th April 1917.


1891 Census 1901 Census 1911 Census Birthplace
Name Age Name Age Name Age
Janet Aitken7 Janet Aitken17 Saltcoats, Ayrshire
James Aitken4 James Aitken14James25 Bridge of Weir

A brother William is referred to in Newspapers and Army Medal Index Card.


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