Paton, James (No. 241244)

Paton, James

Private 

No. 241244, ‘A’ Company, 1st/4th Battalion, Royal Scots Fusiliers

Died of wounds on Wednesday 25 April 1917 (aged 19)

Buried:

Alexandria (Hadra) War Memorial Cemetery, Egypt (Grave A. 39)

Commemorated:

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Troon War Memorial

BIOGRAPHY

In some records his surname is spelt Patton.

James Paton was born on 26 April 1897 in the townland of Ballyboley, Greyabbey and he was the eldest son of Francis and Mary (Minnie) Paton (nee Gunning) who were married on 16 October 1896 in Greyabbey Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Saviour’s).  Francis Paton (aged 20) from Ballygrangee was a son of William Paton, a labourer.  Mary Gunning (aged 20) was also from Ballygrangee.

The Paton family lived in the townland of Ballyboley, Greyabbey; the townland of Ballygrangee, Newtownards and in William Street, Newtownards before they moved around 1903 to Old Station House, Troon in Ayrshire, Scotland.

Francis Paton worked as an agricultural labourer and he and Minnie had at least four children before they moved to Scotland.  At least three of them were baptised in Carrowdore Parish Church of Ireland Church (Christ Church).

James (born 26 April 1897 in Ballyboley)

Florence Wilson (born 22 February 1899 in Ballygrangee)

Rosina Styles (born 16 March 1900 in William Street, Newtownards)

Francis (born 4 May 1901 in Ballygrangee)

James Paton’s grandfather, William Paton, lived in the townland of Ballygrangee.

James Paton worked as a plate-layer on the railway in Scotland before joining the colours in September 1915.  He enlisted in Ayr and served with the Royal Scots Fusiliers.  Private James Paton was wounded on 22 April 1917 during fighting at Gaza in Palestine and he died three days later (one day short of his 20th birthday).

Private James Paton (No. 241244) was buried in Alexandria (Hadra) War Memorial Cemetery, Egypt and there is an inscription on his CWGC headstone:

TOO FAR AWAY YOUR GRAVE TO SEE

BUT NOT TOO FAR TO THINK OF THEE

After his death in 1917, and again in 1918 and 1919, his parents placed Our Heroes – In Memoriam notices in the Newtownards Chronicle.

The notice in 1917 contained the verses:

Oh, sad was my heart when my lad marched away,

And tears dimmed my eyes as we kissed our good-bye;

So brave, true and fearless, I’d fain bade him stay,

But he marched to the battle to fight and to die.

The memory still lingers; ’twill ne’er from me fade,

‘My own’ going forth like the heroes of old;

For duty came first, and he strode unafraid

With the comrades who held honour higher than gold.

Dear James, my son, it makes our hearts sore

To think in this life we shall meet you no more;

It was your sad fate to be killed by the Turks,

’Midst the splinters of shells and the roar of the guns.

Dear son of my bosom, you sleep ’mong the brave,

Where no tears of a mother can drop on thy grave;

In red fields near Egypt you are laid far away;

Still our tribute of love to thy memory I pay.

Although we regret that so early in life

It was thy misfortune to fall in the strife,

Yet it may give thy friends consolation to know

That you in the field fell facing the foe.

But as long as I’m allowed to remain here behind,

Dear James, our dear son, we will bear thee in mind;

The bugle may sound, and the cannons may roar,

But you will be found in the conflict no more.

The notice in 1918 contained the verse:

Had we but seen him in life,

Watched by his dying bed,

Caught the flickering of his breath,

And touched his dying head,

We think our hearts would not have felt

Such bitterness of grief;

But God has willed it otherwise,

And now he rests in peace.

The notice in 1919 contained the verses:

Alas! My darling son has gone;

My greatest earthly blessing

From me has passed away so soon;

To me it is distressing.

Sad was our hearts when you marched away,

And sad was the blow we received that day,

Telling us plainly, as the tears dimmed our eyes,

Our son on earth no more would we see.

Could we have seen thee in thy hour of death,

And caught the sight of thy parting breath!

It’s only those who have lost that can tell

The pain of heart of not saying farewell.

Oft when we sit in sorrow and woe

There comes a dream of the dear long ago,

And unknown to the world you stand by my side

And whisper Dear Mother, death cannot divide.

In 1918 and 1919 his comrade, Private John Watson Currie, also placed Our Heroes – In Memoriam notices in the Newtownards Chronicle.

The notice in 1918 contained the verse:

His warfare o’er, his battle fought,

His victory won, though dearly bought;

His precious life he freely gave,

And now he rests in a soldier’s grave.

The notice in 1919 contained the verses:

So ready to answer the call to the brave,

Although he now rests in a far distant grave;

What more or better could any man give

Than die for his country that others might live.

No one who knew him need ever be told:

A warmer heart death never made cold;

For cheery ways and smiling face

There’s none can fill our dear chum’s place.

Private James Paton is commemorated on Troon War Memorial.