Roll of Honour


James Douglas Gibson

James Douglas Gibson was born on the 26th of August 1889 in Swatow, China. His father, John Campbell Gibson, a graduate of the University of Glasgow, was a missionary to China. James grew up with his mother, Agnes Gillespie Barclay Gibson, his sister, Agnes, and his brother, Thomas, at 17 Colylinn Road, Dumbartonshire. By 1911, the family had relocated to Kirnan in Bearsden. James was educated at the Glasgow Academy, where he was Vice-Captain of the Rugby team from 1906 to 1907. His sister, Agnes Gibson, studied Arts at the University of Glasgow.

Memorial chapel at the University of Glasgow
The Memorial Chapel at the University of Glasgow

James passed the University’s preliminary examination in Higher Mathematics in 1909, but did not pursue a degree there. While working as a Civil Engineer during the day, he instead enrolled as an evening student of the Glasgow and West of Scotland Technical College (known from 1912 as the Royal Technical College, now the University of Strathclyde). In session 1911-12, he took classes in Structural Drawing, Mechanics, and Mechanics of Structures; in session 1912-13 he enrolled for classes in Strength of Materials and Theory of Structures; in session 1913-1914 he attended a class in Surveying and Levelling, and in session 1914-15 he studied Reinforced Concrete Construction.

Like many students of the Royal Technical College, James was also a member of the University of Glasgow’s Officer Training Corps (OTC). The OTCs throughout the UK trained tens of thousands of men as officers during the First World War.

James enlisted with the 401st Highland Field Company of the Royal Engineers. The 401st joined the 7th division of the Royal Engineers in January 1915 in France. They fought in the battles of Neuve Chapelle, Aubers, Festuber, the 2nd action of Givency, Loos, and the Battle of Vermelles-Hulloch Road. They later joined the 51st division in January 1916 and went on to fight at the battles of High Wood, Ancre, the Scarpe, Roeux, Pilkem Ridge, Menin Road Ridge, and Bourlon Wood.

Having achieved the rank of Lieutenant, James was killed in action during Operation Michael, a German offensive in Northern France, on the 25th of March, 1918 at the age of 28. He is buried in the Warlencourt British Cemetery and memorialised in the Glasgow Necropolis. Lieutenant James Gibson is also remembered on the Roll of Honour of the Royal Technical College of Glasgow.

Comments and Citations

With thanks to Anne Cameron for providing additional details from the University of Strathclyde's Archive.