2nd Lieutenant James Gilbert Aird

Biography of 2nd Lieutenant James Gilbert Aird

Born in 1894 in Irvine, Ayrshire, James Gilbert Aird was the son of Robert Aird and Helen Aird (nee Ferguson) (1860-1937). He was the middle child in a family of five - younger brother of Agnes and Annie Aird, and elder sibling of William and Helen. His father worked as a Spirit Merchant in Saltcoats, Ayrshire; the seaside town where James grew up. The family moved around the town; living in Canal St for a time before relocating to Winton Circus. In these early years, James attended Colmonell and Girvan High School.

In 1914, at the age of twenty, James came to the University of Glasgow to study Law. In his first and only year at the university, he studied Scots Law. He had already shown a keen interest in the field having volunteered in his local Town Clerk’s Office for several years. Upon arriving at University, he volunteered in the office of Messrs Robb and Crosbie, located in Glasgow.

The following year, James enlisted in the Army. Previously a part of the University of Glasgow's Officer Training Corps, he was gazetted as 2nd Lieutenant for his services, serving with the 15th Bn. Lancashire Fusiliers; and was involved in one of the first offensives of the Somme. The scale of confusion and loss on the first day of the Somme meant that James, like so many other soldiers, was originally deemed ‘missing’, not ‘killed’. Later, it was confirmed that he had fallen, aged 21.

2nd Lieutenant James Gilbert Aird is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial. When the University Chapel was built in the late 1920s, his father donated £10 in James’ memory. James appears on the Roll of Honour within the Chapel. He is also remembered by his parish and town: in St Colmon’s Church, Colmonell, he is commemorated on a plaque; in Saltcoats, a memorial stands bearing his name amongst the other fallen.


2nd Lieutenant James Gilbert Aird
Rank: 2nd Lieutenant
Regiment: 15th Bn. Lancashire Fusiliers
Degree: Student
Awards: N/A
Comments: Killed in action, 1 July 1916
Note/Press Clipping: Ch 4/4/2/3/941
Photo ID: Ch 4/4/2/2/3

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