Memories of a Brechiner at war

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A FIFE man has contacted the “Brechin Advertiser” following our story for an appeal on information on locals involved in World War One, following an appeal for information ahead of the centenary anniversary of the Great War by local man Brian Livie

Sandy Young talked of the role played by his uncle in the conflict and the ultimate sacrifice he made. Sandy said: “I read, with interest, the above article asking for information or volunteers in relation to Brian Livie’s appeal for help.

“Although I can’t help directly, since I live in Dunfermline, I can provide some information which may be of interest.

My uncle, James Leitch, was born on October 10 1894 in 28 Bridge Street, Brechin.

“He lived with his parents (my grandparents), James Leitch and Jane Sharples, at that address before the war and worked in a linen factory. He joined the Royal Scots (Lothian Regiment) – 16684 Private James Leitch. His Regiment arrived in France in May 1915 and he died of wounds in France & Flanders on September 29 1915, Age 20. He is buried in Bethune Town Cemetery in France. “The source for much of this information is the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) web site.

The Council of the day issued a scroll indicating their sympathy and I attach a copy of same. St. Andrews Church, of which he was a member, had a ceremony to dedicate their war memorial in 1949 and I attach copies of the service and memorial.

“James’ father, my grandfather, also lost a brother-in-law in the Great War. His sister, Jessie Leitch, emigrated to Boston in 1907 with her sister Elspeth and Elspeth’s husband and children. Jessie met and married a Canadian farmer, Baxter Veinotte, in Boston in 1912. Baxter completed his Attestation on July 13 1916 and joined the 25 battalion of the Canadian Infantry (Nova Scotia Regiment) – 734518 Private Baxter Harris Veinotte. He died April 9, 1917, age 38, probably at Vimy Ridge. He is buried in Canadian Cemetery No 2, Neuville-St. Vaast in France. Again, much of the above has been sourced from the GWGC web site.

“He is listed in the Veteran Affairs Canada Virtual War Memorial and I attach a copy of same along with a photograph of him in uniform.”

Pictured is the scroll James Leitch’s family received to honour his role in the Great War and James’ brother-in-law Baxter Veinotte, who also fell during the conflict