Soldier died after nine days in France

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A 19 year-old Helensburgh man was sent to France during World War One . . . and nine days later he was dead.

Private Thomas McCready was the eldest son of general labourer Bernard McCready and his wife Rose Ann Mundie.

He was born on May 23 1899 at the family home at 26 Maitland Street, and after leaving school he began work at Helensburgh Central Station as a porter.

He joined the Black Watch in July 1917, and in March the following year his battalion, the 1/6th Black Watch, travelled to France.

Just nine days later he was reported missing, and the awful wait began for his parents who by this time had moved to 52 West Princes Street.

It was hoped that he might be a prisoner-of-war, but this was not the case. The circumstances of his death were never established

In France that spring brought in the final massive German offensive.

In a confused withdrawal all the Black Watch battalions suffered heavy losses, those of the 9th at Arras being so great that it had to amalgamate with the 4th/5th.

Attack followed attack through March and April until the German offensive was exhausted. Then came the long fight to recover the lost ground.

At Chambrecy the 6th Battalion, attacking alongside a French unit, was awarded the Croix de Guerre for its bravery — a distinction still worn by the Territorial soldiers of the Regiment.

By the time of the Armistice in November 8,000 members of the Regiment had lost their lives during the four years of terrible conflict.

Thomas — who has a sister still living in the burgh — is commemorated at the Loos War Memorial at Pas de Calais, France.

The Loos Memorial commemorates 20,605 British officers and men who were killed from September 25 1915 to the end of the war in November 1918 in the battle sector between the river Lys in French Flanders and the village of Grenay, near Lens, in Artois.

The Loos Memorial to the Missing forms the rear and the two sides of Dud Corner Cemetery.

The thousands of names of the servicemen missing in action with no known grave are inscribed on 139 stone panels attached to these side and rear walls.

His name is also inscribed on the Helensburgh Cenotaph in Hermitage Park.