Gunner dies on his first day in action

Gunner James McCourtney
Gunner James McCourtney

The Galloway Gazette, June 16th, 1917


The family of 20-year-old Gunner James Courtney, of Princes Street, Newton Stewart, were devastated to learn that he was killed on his first day in action on June 1.

The news was given to them in a note from the Adjutant of the Battery to which he belonged.

When was broke out he was serving his apprenticeship as a compositor with The Galloway Gazette.

He had always been keen to join the Army, and when war broke out in August 1914 he and his best friend from Newton Stewart travelled up to Edinburgh to join the Royal Scots, his uncle’s regiment. But they were both rejected as they did not come up to the physical standards required by the army.

In December, 1915, however, Courtney was accepted for the Artillery and he went into intensive training in England and Ireland up until the beginning of May 1917, when he was sent out to the Front. He had only been in France three weeks, and the evening of June 1 was his first taste of action, when he was unfortunately killed.

Gunner Courtney was a general favourite with all who knew him, being of a frank, open disposition and obliging and courteous in manner. His early death was much regretted and much sympathy was felt for his family in their bereavement.