Pte James Comrie
1st/7th Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers
Jimmy Comrie was born in Denny, Stirling, on 31st March 1881 and was part of a footballing family that produced four professional footballers – and, in fact, Jimmy’s cousin John (Jock) Comrie also played for Reading in 1914-15.
During the summer of 1906 Reading’s secretary-manager Harry Matthews lured Jimmy to Elm Park, where he went straight into Reading’s Southern League side and was virtually ever-present in the centre half position although he did play a few games at left half. The 1906-07 season was Jimmy’s only one with Reading because in the summer he moved to Second Division Glossop North End, where he was made club captain, but in September 1908 he moved on to Bradford City for ‘a very substantial sum’.
Jimmy later represented Lincoln City – and it was to Lincoln he returned to enlist in the Army, joining the 7th Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers. The Fusiliers were fighting in the notorious Ypres Salient and suffering heavy losses, which resulted in Jimmy being sent to reinforce those at the front line.
By 3rd August 1916 the 7th Battalion moved their base to Dranoutre, to the south west of Ypres and soon came under mortar attack from the Germans. On 5th August both sides attacked and counter-attacked, with the battalion suffering one fatality and three injuries during the two days of front line action. On moving to new billets at Meteren on 9th August, Jimmy was reported as killed in action and is listed as having died on that day.
Jimmy’s body was never recovered and so he has no grave, but, along with 54,895 other Commonwealth soldiers who have no recorded grave, Jimmy’s name is recorded of the Menin Gate, Ypres (on panel 12). Jimmy is also remembered on the war memorial in his birth town of Denny.
Killed in action at Ypres, 9th August 1916.
Commemorated at Menin Gate, Ypres, Belgium.