No. 3/6756, 1st Battalion, Gordon Highlanders
Killed in action on Sunday 15 November 1914 (aged 38)
No known grave
Le Touret Memorial, France (Panel 39 to 41)
Newtownards and District War Memorial
In some records his surname is spelt McBlane and in others McBlean.
The name James McBlain is inscribed on Newtownards and District War Memorial but it is not listed in the booklet produced for the Unveiling and Dedication Ceremony held on Saturday 26 May 1934.
In the Soldiers Died in the Great War 1914 – 1919 database it is recorded that Private James McBlain (No. 3/6756), who served with the 1st Battalion Gordon Highlanders, was born in Newtownards and he enlisted in Hamilton, Scotland.
James McBlain was born on 30 January 1876 in William Street, Newtownards and he was a son of Stewart and Mary McBlain (nee Dowling, sometimes Dolan) who were married on 30 June 1866 in Newtownards.
The McBlain family lived in Newtownards, in Greenwell Street, William Street, Little Francis Street and at 38 Movilla Street.
Stewart McBlain worked as a bleach-works labourer, Mary worked as a sewer and according to family records they had eight children:
Stewart (born 1866)
Agnes (born 14 December 1867 in Greenwell Street, Newtownards)
Mary (born 4 July 1869 in Greenwell Street, Newtownards)
James (born 30 January 1876 in William Street, Newtownards)
Elizabeth (Lizzie, born 7 November 1878)
John (born around 1879/1880)
Margaret (born 27 February 1881 in Little Francis Street, Newtownards)
Jane (born 27 February 1881 in Little Francis Street, Newtownards)
James McBlain served during the South African War and in civilian life he worked as a labourer.
James McBlain and Minnie White were married on 24 December 1902 in Greenwell Street Presbyterian Church Newtownards. James McBlain, a soldier from Newtownards, was a son of Stewart McBlain, a labourer. Minnie White from Newtownards was a daughter of David White, a labourer (deceased).
James and Minnie McBlain (nee White) had eight children:
James (born 17 February 1905 in Movilla Street, Newtownards)
Stewart (born 5 June 1906 in Movilla Street, Newtownards)
Henry (born 4 July 1907 in Movilla Street, Newtownards)
Mary (Minnie, born 14 June 1908)
Duncan (born around 1909/1910; died)
John (born 27 January 1911)
David (born 10 May 1913)
Elizabeth (born 1 August 1914)
James McBlain’s father, Stewart McBlain, died of bronchitis on 1 January 1906 in Movilla Street, Newtownards; James was with him when he died.
James and Minnie McBlain and their family moved to Scotland around 1907/1908 and they lived at 33 Mill Street, Bridgeton, Glasgow. Later they lived at 42 Scott Street, Bridgeton.
On 31 August 1914 James McBlain re-joined the colours in Hamilton, Scotland and he served with the 1st Battalion Gordon Highlanders. It was noted in his attestation papers that he was 5 feet 4¾ inches tall with hazel eyes and light brown hair.
James McBlain’s brother, Stewart McBlain, served with the Royal Corps of Signals.
Private James McBlain (No. 3/6756) was 38 when he was killed in action on 15 November 1914 and he has no known grave. It was noted that both of his parents were deceased.
Private James McBlain (No. 3/6756) is commemorated on the Le Touret Memorial in France and on Newtownards and District War Memorial.
Private James McBlain’s grandnephew, Gunner William McBlain (No. 1472262), died on active service during the Second World War. William was a son of James’s brother Stewart’s son Stewart.