John Lochtie Masterton

Private John Lochtie Masterton

33447, 15th Battalion Highland Light Infantry

killed in action 9th September 1917

aged 24

Coxyde Military Cemetery

son of Mrs Margaret Cant (formerly Masterton), High Street, Aberdour, Fife


John Lochtie Masterton was born in Aberdour, Fife, Scotland before 9 September 1893, the third son born to Margaret Lochtie Masterton. She had been married and widowed twice before he was born illegitimately. By 1901, Margaret and John and his two older half-brothers were living in 45 High Street, Aberdour, Fife, Scotland.In 1911, John was still resident in Aberdour, aged 17. John was first enlisted into the Royal Highlanders (Black Watch), service number S/10970. He later transferred to 15th Battalion, Highland Light Infantry (Glasgow Tramways). After John's death, Margaret married Andrew Cant in 1918, by which time she was 63 years old. Further details of John, Margaret and the extended family of Mastertons who can be traced back to the Culross area of Fife can be found at the following link.

His War

The 15th Battalion Highland Light Infantry, City of Glasgow Regiment, was a battalion of the New Armies, raised in Glasgow on 2 September 1914, with many volunteers from Glasgow Tramways. Initial training was at Gailes Camp in Ayrshire, then later (May 1915) at Prees Heath where it came under command of 97th Brigade in 32nd Division. It was adopted by the War Office on 1 July 1915, and landed at Boulogne on 23 November 1915. In January 1916 it was transferred to 14th Brigade, still in the 32nd Division. In the first few months of 1917, it took part in Operations on the Ancre and the pursuit of the German retreat to the Hindenburg Line. John did not receive the 1915 Star Medal so he cannot have joined the battalion until 1916 at the earliest.

In September 1917, the battalion was holding the line at Lombartzyde, new Nieuport in Belgium, close to the English Channel. The Unit War Diaries of the period do not record a particular offensive. John appears to have lost his life in one of the routine exhanges of fire or shelling, perhaps in the retaliatory bout of shelling after the battalion used Gas bombs on the evening of 8th September. Private John Lochtie Masterton was reported killed in action on 9th September 1917, one of the 15 Other Ranks killed in the tour of duty to Nieuport, and he is buried in Coxyde Military Cemetery.

His mother Margaret was his sole legatee. His name is included on the Tramway Battalion War Memorial now displayed in the Riverside Museum, Glasgow.

Tramway Memorial Tramway Memorial detail

The 15th Battalion Highland Light Infantry, City of Glasgow Regiment War Memorial. John Lochtie Masterton is fourth from the top of the right-hand panel

His headstone at III.G.1., Coxyde Military Cemetery, Koksijde, Belgium

with thanks to Iain Finch for the photograph

Unit War Diary: 15th Battalion, Highland Light Infantry

In the Line, LOMBARTZYDE: 1917 September 8th: Battalion in the line - The day was very quiet and there was little activity. As 19 P.M. our Trench Mortars on right and left of the Brigade front bombarded the enemy system with GAS bombs under cover of an artillery barrage. The enemy retaliated on our battery leaving the trench system almost unmolested. Working parties went out after things had quietened. The whole battalion front is now wired. Weather warm and hazy.

In the Line, LOMBARTZYDE: 1917 September 9th: Battalion in the line - Nothing exceptional occurred during the day though there was considerabe aerial activity. The GAS bombardment was to have been repeated tonight but orders were cancelled. The battalion was relieved by the 1st DORSET REGT. (Relief complete by 3.15 am) going into support; two companies C & D being billetted in the PETIT REDAN and the remainder in NEW PARADE, NIEUPORT. Weather warm and bright.

In the Line, LOMBARTZYDE: 1917 September 12th:....Casualties were above normal being 1 Officer Killed; 15 O.R. Killed and 90 wounded in this tour of duty.

National Archives
Kew, London
Unit War Diaries: WO 95/2393/5
32 Division: 14 Infantry Brigade: 15 Battalion Highland Light Infantry
Aug 1917 - Dec 1917

The Scotsman

SECOND LIST. KILLED. HIGHLAND LIGHT INFANTRY.....Masterton. 33447, J.L. (Aberdour);....

The Scotsman
13 October 1917

Other Sources

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