Name: James Robert Caird
DoB: November 4 1892
Regt: 3rd King’s Own Scottish Borderers
DoD: April 23 1915
School Career: 1901-11
James Robert Caird was born in India in 1892; the son of a professional soldier and grandson of an MP and Scottish landowner. His grandfather was the Right Honourable Sir James Caird (1816-1892) of Cassencary, Kirkudbright; his grandmother was Margaret Henryson (1822-1863). Their youngest son Lindsay Henryson Caird (1861-1930) married Janet Laura Hunt in 1891. James was born the following year, but in the same year his mother died, possibly in childbirth. By the 1901 Census James was living with step mother and siblings in Bedford but father was a Major in the Border Regiment at Carlisle Castle. Presumably this was why young James came to the grammar school in Carlisle, where he also appears on the 1911 Census as a scholar. James’ uncle James married Mona Caird (Nee Alison) the feminist author. She knew Elizabeth Cady Stanton, the celebrated American feminist activist. Another uncle Robert Henryson Caird was very involved with Great Ormond Street Hospital.
James seems to have been good at sport as he played in the Rugby team in 1910 and 1911. He played fives in 1910 and was on the cricket team in 1911. He came 1st in the sack race on sports’ day in 1910 and also enjoyed swimming. He was a key member, and later secretary of, the debating society. In – what appears to have been a tongue in cheek debate on alcohol – James spoke in favour of brandy and said that wine did “people a great deal of good”. He like drama. In the 1909 performance of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” he played Starveling. In 1910 in “Much Ado” he played Verges. In his last year at school he won prizes for geography and divinity. He presented a book to the Library: “The Last Days of Pompeii” by Lord Lytton.
James was a member of the Inns of Court O.T.C. when war broke out. He was a clerk employed by the Australian Mercantile Land and Finance Co Ltd, Ingram House, Stockwell, London. He obtained a commission in 3rd King’s Own Scottish Borderers, Aug 15 1914 and served with 2nd Bn. Highland Light Inf. near Ypres, from November 1914, to March, 1915. He took part in the capture of Hill 60. He was only 22 when he died on April 23 1915, during the advance on St Julien, and he is commemorated on the Menin Gate. A witness, a Sergeant McMurchy reported he was shot through the head and died instantly. James had applied for a permanent commission – clearly he intended to be a career soldier like his father. He was gazetted captain after his death.
King’ Own Scottish Borderers
One sad postscript is a letter in 1920 from his father concerning the 1914-5 Star to which his son was entitled.
a) Carlisle School Memorial Register 1264-1924
b) Census: 1871 RG10/1179
1911 RG RG14/31324
1861 Scotland Census
c) UK, De Ruvigny’s Roll of Honour, 1914-1924