James Winchester Coutts
Royal Engineers 21st Div. Signal Coy
Died 27th May 1918 aged 29
Sapper J. W. Coutts – R.E.
This is James Winchester Coutts, Sapper in the Royal Engineers 21st Div. Signal Coy. (No. 402951). He was a son of Joseph Coutts and Catherine Winchester Coutts, born in Kensington in December 1888. Both his parents were born in Scotland – father in Aboyne and mother in Morayshire. In 1891 two-year-old James and his parents and three older brothers, Joseph, David and Gordon, were at Ballogie Stables though Joseph, despite his Stables address, gave his occupation as “Coachman Out of Employment” at the time. By 1901 he was in work again as a domestic coachman, and the family were living at 19 Elvaston Mews, Kensington, but records show that, at some point after that, they returned to the North-East.
On 20 July 1912 Coutts, then a Journeyman cabinetmaker, married Helen Carnegie Wilson, both of 144 Wellington Road, Aberdeen. His father (who had retired by the time of the marriage in 1912) died at the age of 67 in December 1916 at Cochran Cottage. According to a notice in the Aberdeen Weekly Journal, Coutts died of wounds received in action on 27 May 1918 at the age of 29 years and 7 months, “dearly beloved husband of Nellie Wilson, 18 Granton Place Aberdeen, and dearly beloved youngest son of Mrs J Coutts, Cochrane Cottage, Kincardine O’Neil, Aberdeenshire. So loved so mourned”.
The Company’s War Diary makes no mention of any fatality on 27 May 1918, though there is a record of enemy bombardment and the launching of an attack at 1am. Sapper Coutts is buried/commemorated in France at Marfaux British Cemetery.