• Christina Drummond

Lieutenant Colin Edward Cumming, 103rd Battery, 31st Brigade, Royal Field Artillery (Special Reserve


Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 1915, Lieutenant Colin Edward Cumming, 103rd Battery, 31st Brigade, Royal Field Artillery (Special Reserve) was killed in action on the Western Front.

The son of a bank manager, his two grandfathers had served, one in the 80th Regiment of Foot (Staffordshire Volunteers), and the other as a surgeon with the Royal Artillery. He was educated at Edinburgh Royal High School, where he excelled in his studies. He became Dux at the school and received gold medals for French, Latin and Greek, and went on to Edinburgh University, receiving a First in Classics, and being an enthusiastic member of the Officers’ Training Corps. He was remarked upon for his brilliant intellect, modest and retiring disposition, and strong sense of humour. Lieutenant Cumming went on to take the Indian Civil Service Examination and worked for a year in India, until the outbreak of the Great War. He was put in charge of recruits until February of 1915, when he went to the front, where his character and personality quickly earned him the respect and admiration of his men and fellow officers.

On the evening of the 24th of February his battery had taken shelter in the dug-outs by their guns, having been shelled for some time before that. Their major was wounded by a shell; Lieutenant Cumming tried to get him out of the debris when another shell hit the dug-out, rendering them both unconscious. They were taken to the hospital at Poperinghe, where Lieutenant Cumming died, never regaining consciousness. The major recovered and wrote this to Lieutenant Cumming’s parents: “Not only a most trusted and capable subaltern, but also a personal friend for whom I had formed a most deep and intimate affection. Your son rendered his country most admirable service, and was an invaluable help to me. He died gallantly doing his duty.” He is buried in the Poperinghe Old Military Cemetery at West-Vlaanderen in Belgium.

Colin, from Stafford, was 24 years old.

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