Document of the Month - May

Stirling Burgh Police, 1914 – Police Constable James L. McIntosh 

The focus of our document of the month is not on the Police Force itself, but on the Police Constable in the second row, second from the right. His name is James Leith McIntosh...or should that be Charles Leith McIntosh?

James McIntosh began working with the Stirling Burgh Police in 1912. After working for the Force for three years MacIntosh enlisted with the Seaforth Highlanders in 1915.  As member of the Seaforth 8th Battalion, McIntosh would experience all of his combat in the Western front as part of the Battle of the Somme.

His Battalion was mobilised for war in July 1915 and landed in Northern France, in the town of Boulogne. When the Actions of Spring ended on 13th June1916, McIntosh and his Battalion would make their way to the town of Pozières in France.

McIntosh was killed on 17th July 1916, three days before the Battle of Pozières would start. Fatally wounded, he died aged 26 and unmarried. His grave is located in Bethune Town Cemetery, France.

The news of McIntosh’s death made its way back to Stirling a week later. The Stirling Observer first recorded this on July 25th 1916. Curiously, the Observer reported his name as Charles Leith McIntosh. A week later, on the 1st August 1916, another article appears on McIntosh in the Stirling Observer, this time acknowledging him has as James L. McIntosh.

So who were Charles and James? It's clear that they were the same people judging by the articles in the Stirling Observer. Both articles stated that he served with the Stirling Burgh Police for three years. Moreover, there is a reference in the Stirling Burgh minutes acknowledging the death of former Police Corporal James L. McIntosh in 1916.

It is probable that incorrect information was given at the time of McIntosh’s death. McIntosh would have been identified by his fellow comrades or officers, with this information heading back to his parents. With the hardships and horrors of war, it is of no surprise that some information would have been incorrect.

For James, however, this misinformation carried forward to his memorial and grave. In the Stirling Roll of Honour he is listed as Charles L. McIntosh of the Seaforth Highlanders. At his grave in Bethune Town Cemetery, he is again recorded as Charles L. McIntosh of the Seaforth Highlanders.