James Douglas Hepburn was born in 1898 to cabinet maker John Sinclair Hepburn and his wife Harriet Heath Hepburn. He was known more commonly by his middle name, Douglas.
Douglas was the second oldest child; he had three sisters and one brother. In 1911, Douglas was thirteen years old and lived at the family home at 50 Mayfair Avenue, Ilford.
Douglas joined the 14th Battalion, London Regiment (London Scottish) on 30th November 1914. Leaving England on Sunday 4th July 1915, Douglas returned briefly for some leave in May 1916. He then went back to France where he was killed on the first day of the Battle of the Somme, 1st July 1916. Douglas was killed instantaneously by a shell while helping to dig out a fallen comrade who had been buried by a shell. Letters written to his parents from Private J. H. Hissett and Captain F. Worlock appeared in the Ilford Recorder alongside his obituary, and these letters detail the manner of Douglas’ death as well as expressing sympathy to his grieving parents.
His name appears on the Thiepval Memorial, France.
Research by Redbridge Museum
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Ilford Recorder, 14th July 1916