Bridge of Weir

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James Reston SGT JAS R F RESTON 6TH A.&.S.H.

1583 Lance Sergeant James Ramsay Farquhar Reston

1st/6th Battalion, Argyll & Southern Highlanders

killed in action 20th June 1915

aged 24

Pont-du-Hem Military Cemetery, La Gorgue
Freeland Church Memorial, Bridge of Weir

Son of James Reston and Marion Cowan
1 Windsor Place, Main Street, Bridge of Weir

His Life

James was born on 22nd October 1890 in Buenos Aires, Argentine. He was baptised on 22nd November 1890 in St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church. He was to be the first of six surviving children of James Reston (29) of Glasgow, a plumber, and Marion Cowan (22) from Ochiltree, Ayrshire.

Before their second child Mary was born in about 1893 they had returned to Scotland, and were living in Mauchline, Ayrshire. By 1901 the Reston family of six was in the Old Garden House, Kilbarchan. James senior was a plumber.

In 1911 the family of eight was living in a 4-roomed flat in 1 Windsor Place, Main Street, Bridge of Weir. James senior was by then a telephone fitter with the National Telephone Co., James junior (20) was an apprentice iron moulder, Mary was a telephone operator, and Hugh was a Post Office telegraph messenger.

Bridge of Weir comrades James enlisted with the 1/6th (Renfrewshire) Battalion, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders soon after war began. The 1/6th Argylls initially formed part of the 1st Highland Brigade, Highland Division, which in May 1915 was retitled to 152nd Brigade, 51st (Highland) Division. It was a popular battalion for Bridge of Weir, and a photograph, probably taken at Bedford Camp, of eight serving Bridge of Weir comrades was published in July 1915 after James had been killed. Hugh volunteered for the Gordon Highlanders.

After training in Bedford, the 1/6th Argylls first joined the theatre of war on 1st May 1915 when it disembarked from the SS Victoria at Boulogne. After a week in bivouacs undergoing general training the batallion was placed on notice to join the general reserve, and by 22nd May it was billeted at Dissaux Michez Farm near La Couture. On 23rd May it suffered its first casualties in the trenches when three men were killed by shrapnel. On 6th June the 1/6th Argylls were posted to reserve trenches at Festubert in the Pas-de-Calais, mainly occupied in repairing earthworks and improving the trenches, often under heavy shell fire. Sometime in this period James was promoted to Lance Sergeant. On 10th June, the battalion was relieved by the 1/8th Argylls, the battalion in which John Lauder, the son of music hall entertainer Sir Harry Lauder, was then a Lieutenant. (Captain John Lauder was to be killed on 28th December 1916 in circumstances that have invited speculation that he may have been shot by one of his own men). On 14th June the battalion returned to the front line trenches at La Quinque Rue and on 15th June a party of 80 NCOs and men attacked enemy trenches, an action for which Private William Carlile was nominated, unsuccessfully, for a Victoria Cross, while 50 men repaired a communications trench and Orchard parapet and 15 men completed a dressing station at Brewery. Although the battalion was relieved again by the 1/8th Argylls on the 17th June, it was ordered immediately to move in relief of 5th & 6th Seaforths in the Fire Trenches.

After an active few days of working parties under machine gun and shell fire, Lance Sergeant Reston was shot dead by a sniper on 20th June as he was leaving the firing lines of the trenches, barely seven weeks after he had arrived in France. The battalion suffered 16 killed and 62 wounded between 14th and 20th June. James's burial place at La Gorgue is about 10 miles west of Loos. His body, with another 19 British soldiers, was re-interred from its original burial place at Festubert.

Trenches - Festubert The 1/6th Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders trench map for their deployment near Festubert from 18-20 June 1915. Note North is downwards. James Reston was shot somewhere on the front line trenches as he left the firing lines.


1901 Census 1911 Census Birthplace
Name Age Name Age
James F10 James C F20 Buenos Aires, Argentina
Mary F8 Mary F18 Mauchline, Ayrshire
Hugh F4 Hugh F14 Mauchline, Ayrshire
Janet F1 Jessie F11 Mauchline, Ayrshire
Minnie F9 Kilbarchan, Renfrewshire
Margaret F2 Kilbarchan, Renfrewshire


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