LANCE CORPORAL JAMES ROSS
HIGHLAND LIGHT INFANTRY
5TH AUGUST 1917 AGE 24
BURIED: MENDINGHEM MILITARY CEMETERY, PROVEN, BELGIUM
The poetry of Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892) is a popular source for inscriptions and in particular 'In Memoriam A.H.H.', which is where this quotation comes from:
My blood an even tenor kept,
Till on mine ear this message falls,
That in Vienna's fatal walls
God's finger touched him, and he slept.
LXXXV : 5
Tennyson uses a particularly beautiful metaphor to describe the death of his twenty-two-year-old friend, Arthur Henry Hallam. And although Hallam's death - he died suddenly and unexpectedly in his sleep - can bear no relation to the way in which Lance Corporal Ross died of wounds at a Casualty Clearing Station in Flanders, it makes rather a beautiful inscription too.
James Ross enlisted in Ayr and joined the 12th Battalion Highland Light Infantry formed in Hamilton in September 1914. The Battalion became part of the 15th (Scottish) Division and served in France and Flanders from 10 July 1915. On 31 July 1917 it took part in the attack on Pilckem Ridge on the opening day of 3rd Ypres, Passchendaele. Ross could have been wounded then, or on 2 August when the 15th Division were subject to a fierce German counter-attack.