James Kerr

Military Information

  • Date of enlistment:
  • Place of enlistment:
  • Service no:
  • Rank: Second Lieutenant
  • Awards:
  • Regiment/Service: Highland Light Infantry
  • Unit/Ship: 4th Battalion attached to 16th Battalion
  • Place of Death: France
  • Age at Death: 25
  • Date of Death: 01.07.1916
  • Burial Country: France
  • Cemetery: Thiepval Memorial
  • Grave/Mem Ref no: Pier and Face 15 C.

Personal Information

  • Date of Birth:
  • Place of Birth:
  • Address:
  • Occupation: Banker
  • Mother:

    Jean (Jeannie) Stewart, 32 Argyle St, Dundee

  • Father:

    James S. Kerr, 32 Argyle Street, Dundee

  • Siblings:

    Murray, William, Francis and 3 other siblings (names unknown)

  • Spouse:
  • Children:

More about James Kerr

Second Lieutenant Jame Kerr was one of three brothers who fought in the First World War. He was killed in action on 01/07/1916. He was previously employed by the International Banking Corporation, Yokoshama, Japan.

A Banker in Yokohama, Japan, when the war broke out, Lieutenant Kerr returned home and early in the war enlisted in the 16th HLI. After his death, the Major of his Battalion in a letter to his father, wrote: “Your son’s Company, “A”, was the directing one in the main attack in the battle of the Somme, and he was last seen gallantly leading his platoon into the enemy trenches. What actually happened in the trenches we cannot say, as no one came back.”

During the Great War, his brother Murray served with the Royal Scots and William served with the Highland Light Infantry, with both brothers returning home safely.

James Kerr   Captain Highland Light Infantry

Captain James Kerr, H.L.I., son of Mr James S. Kerr, shoemaker, Wellgate, Dundee, is reported missing.

His commanding officer has written a letter to his father stating that he was last seen gallantly leading his platoon into the enemy trenches.  What happened no one could exactly say, as no one came back at the end of the day to report.

The letter proceeds:__”I read in the French papers that the Boches claim to have captured 48 British officers, and it is possible he may be among those, although he was one of the sort who would prefer to fight to the last.”

Captain Kerr was educated at the Morgan Academy, and after serving with the British Linen Bank for some years entered the employment of the International Banking Corporation, London, and spent five years at the branches at Bombay, Calcutta, Singapore and Yokohama.

On leaving a year ago to do his bit, the Japanese staff presented him with a beautiful inlaid sword.  On presenting himself at the War Office he was appointed a second-lieutenant in the H.L.I.

Dundee Evening Telegraph 17th Jul 1916

DUNDEE OFFICER KILLED IN ACTION.

Mr James S. Kerr, 32 Argyle Street, Dundee, has received official intimation that his eldest son, Second-Lieutenant James Kerr, of the Highland Light Infantry, who was previously reported missing on 1st July, was killed in action on that date.

Second-Lieutenant Kerr, who was 26 years of age, was a banker by profession and sacrificed an important appointment with the International Banking Corporation, Yokohama, to come home to serve his country.  He took a prominent part in athletics, and was an accomplished player of Association football.

Mr Kerr has other two sons with the colours.  Lieutenant Murray Kerr is in the Royal Scots.  He enlisted as a private in the Black Watch.  Private William R. S. Kerr is with the H.L.I.

Dundee Courier 11th December 1916

Additional information kindly supplied by Derek Robertson & Gary Thomson, further additional information courtesy of Derek Ramsay, Dundee Courier “Craigie Column” article 29.01..2020 and Michael Caldwell.

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