Roll of Honour


James Kerr Tod Ritchie


James Kerr Tod Ritchie was born on 12th February 1889 Townhead, Beith, Ayrshire. His parents were John Ritchie, a Master Shoemaker, and Jane Muir Ritchie (née Tod) who had married in Beith on the 3rd June 1878. James was a clever youngster and after leaving school enrolled at the University of Glasgow in the autumn of 1907 to study Medicine.

Image of James Kerr Tod Ritchie

However he only studied at the University for a single year, taking Zoology and Chemistry. After sitting his first exams he left his studies. In 1911, James departed from Glasgow on board the Hesperian bound for Montreal, Quebec, Canada arriving on the 6th November 1911. By the time war came, he was working as a Bank Clerk.

It did not take him long to volunteer. He passed the medical exam for the Army in December 1914 and enlisted on 11th January at Victoria, British Columbia. He was in the Reserve at that time, a fit young man, of medium build, though not tall at just over 5 feet 7 inches. According to his attestation papers he had dark hair and grey eyes.

He gave his religion as Presbyterian and signed up as willing to serve in the Canadian Overseas Expeditionary Force. It was not long until he was bound for the Western Front with the 16th Bn. of Canadian Infantry (Manitoba Regiment). Sadly, it was also not long until he sacrificed his young life. Private James Ritchie was killed in action on 20th May 1915 at the Battle of Festubert. He is commemorated at Vimy Memorial, and remembered by his University for his courage. He was 26. Just over a year later his brother, Robert, died in the first day of the Battle of the Somme.