Miraculous escape for Private after shell lands on his mules

Private McCulloch and Lieutenant Stewart
Private McCulloch and Lieutenant Stewart

The Galloway Gazette had more news of ‘The War’ raging across Continents in 1917.

The Galloway Gazette, 20th January, 1917


Private James Sproat, Highland Light Infantry, was wounded for the second time in the space of two months. He was first wounded on 18th November, 1916, but was able to return to duty soon afterwards. He was more seriously wounded at the beginning of 1917, as he described in a letter home to his parents.

He wrote: “During the New Year week, the Huns started to shell the village I was in. A big shell landed about twenty yards away from me, killing both my poor mules. I had a miraculous escape really.

“I have several wounds on the side of me head and about both thighs. Thankfully, none of the wounds are dangerous and I an making a favourable recovery.”

Mr and Mrs Sproat had four other sons serving in France at that time.

Twenty-year-old Private James Cairn McCulloch, who was born at Penninghame House, Newton Stewart, died of wounds received in action. Prior to enlistment he had been employed as a grocer with the Co-operative Society in Pencaitland, East Lothian.