Roll of Honour

2nd Lieutenant

John James Austin Ritchie

Student

John James Austin Ritchie was born in Glasgow on the 17th July 1898, and was the son of a medical practitioner, also John, and his wife Mima. The family home was at 12 Belmont Street. He was educated at Glasgow Academy before taking up his place in Medicine at the University in 1916. The War Office was just discovering its plight - the supply of doctors was insufficient to cover the casualties of war and provide adequate services to the civilian population. At the same time there was a pressing need to supply the front line with fresh recruits. While senior medical students were encouraged to finish their course, those in the early years were not. John was just eighteen, enrolled in the first year of an MB.Ch.B, and a cadet in the University O.T.C., preparing to serve his country. On the 31st October 1917 he was gazetted 2nd Lieutenant to the 9th Highland Light Infantry (Glasgow Highlanders), having first established his academic credentials by passing part of his first professional examination. In April 1918 he was posted to France with ‘D’ Company.

Image of John James Austin Ritchie

2nd Lieutenant Ritchie was killed in action on the 29th September 1918 at Targelle Ravine in the commune of Villers-Guislain, a vital action in the Allies’ ‘Hundred Days’ Offensive to push through the Hindenburg Line. Very early on the morning of Sunday, 29th September, ‘D’ company moved out of their trenches south of Cambrai and charged the German lines in thick fog. Casualties were high and by mid-morning three gallant young officers — Lieutenants Ritchie, Taylor and Bruce had fallen. In the small British Cemetery at Targelle Ravine, 74 of the 107 men who lie there were men of ‘D’ company, 9th H.L.I., killed on the same day. The regimental diary reported that stand-to the following morning was unusually quiet.

John Ritchie was 20 years old. He is remembered on the Roll of Honour of his old school, Glasgow Academy, and by the University of Glasgow.

Comments and Citations

University of Glasgow Registry R8/5/37/3

University of Glasgow ROH Ch4/4/2/3/856 ,1199

London Gazette Supplement 30th November 1917 (online)

Cwgc Debt of Honour

Paul Stainthorp: Glasgow Highlanders https://paulstainthorp