McCutcheon, James Milliken (No. 42692)

McCutcheon, James Milliken (James)


No. 42692, New Zealand Rifle Brigade, NZEF

Died of wounds on Tuesday 18 September 1917 (aged 35)


Etaples Military Cemetery, France (Grave XXVI. B. 9A)


Commonwealth War Graves Commission

New Zealand World War One Roll of Honour

Newtownards and District War Memorial

First Newtownards Presbyterian Church


James Milliken McCutcheon was born on 18 December 1881 in Ballywatticock, Newtownards and he was the eldest son of Andrew and Mary McCutcheon (nee Edgar) who were married on 10 December 1879 in Second Ballynahinch Presbyterian Church.  Andrew McCutcheon from Ballywatticock, Newtownards was a son of Andrew McCutcheon, a farmer.  Mary Elizabeth Edgar from Carricknaveagh was a daughter of Joseph Lowry Edgar, a farmer.

The McCutcheon family lived at Edenvale in the townland of Cunningburn, Newtownards

Andrew McCutcheon was a farmer and he and Mary had at least eight children:

Eleanor Edgar (born 8 October 1880 in Ballywatticock)

James Milliken (born 18 December 1881 in Ballywatticock)

Jane (registered as James, born 10 April 1883 in Ballywatticock)

George (born 14 August 1884 in Ballywatticock)

Andrew (born 21 March 1886 in Ballywatticock)

Mary Elizabeth (born 31 December 1887 in Ballywatticock)

John Corry (born 15 October 1889 in Ballywatticock)

Annabella Edgar (born 24 June 1891 in Ballywatticock)

Their mother, Mary, died of influenza on 10 July 1891 (aged 38) and on 7 November 1893 their father, Andrew, married Mary Clegg (a widow, nee Dalzell) in Regent Street Presbyterian Church Newtownards.  Andrew and Mary McCutcheon (formerly Clegg, nee Dalzell) had no children.

James McCutcheon moved to New Zealand around 1909 and he worked as a farm labourer.  He enlisted in Gore on 4 January 1917 and it was noted in his attestation papers that he was 5 feet 6½ inches tall.  He left Wellington on 2 April 1917 aboard the Troopship Corinthic and he arrived in Plymouth, England in June that year to complete his training.  Before going to France in July 1917 James was granted two-day’s leave to visit his father in Newtownards.  Working conditions in France were harsh for the dangerous work of laying communications cables at night.  On 17 September 1917 Andrew McCutcheon received a telegram from the Officer in Charge of New Zealand Records in London informing him that his son was dangerously ill in the 56th General Hospital at Etaples and ‘might be visited if desired’.

Andrew McCutcheon requested further details and the following day he received another telegram with the message, ‘Very much regret to inform you that information has just been received that your son, Rifleman James McCutcheon, died at 12.15 this morning (18th September) from shell wound in left shoulder’.  Further information came later from Nurse K.M. Smith, Matron in the hospital ‘He was very seriously ill when admitted to this hospital and there was little hope of his recovery, although everything possible was done for him.  There was a change for the worse in his condition yesterday and he was unconscious from then until the time of his death.  He was unable to leave any messages’.

Private James McCutcheon (No. 42692) was 35 when he died and he was buried in Etaples Military Cemetery, France.

Private James McCutcheon (No. 42692) is commemorated on Newtownards and District War Memorial and in First Newtownards Presbyterian Church.