I almost allowed the 95th anniversary of the Battle of Loos go unmentioned on the blog. This was one of the first major offensives for the British on the Western Front, and was an important battle for Scots soldiers.
My remembrance of the battle always centres on a member of my family, who is not closely related to me, and of course whom I never met.
John McNay was probably just like any other man who volunteered in 1914. He had worked in Motherwell, in the steel industry. Although he was from Lanarkshire, he did not end up in the Cameronians or the Highland Light Infantry, which would have been expected for that area. Like many Lanarkshire men, he ended up in the Gordon Highlanders. In his case the ninth battalion, although Lanarkshire men were also quite prevalent in the 10th.
He didn't serve in France for long - he "entered the field" at the beginning of July, and he was dead before October. Not a long or distinguished service, but like many others he played his part, and he deserves to be remembered for that.
Like many men killed at Loos, he has no known grave, and is commemorated by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission on the Loos memorial.
In his home of Motherwell, he is remembered on the main civic memorial.
He can also be found commemorated on the memorial at Dalziel Parish Church in the centre of Motherwell - both on the main memorial at the entrance and also on a framed Roll of Honour.
Sadly I don't know much more about John McNay - this is a distant part of my family and I have had no contact with this side. I would love to know more about him, and it would also be good to know if he is still remembered by closer relatives than I.
However you remember the fallen of this battle, it's important that we commemorate the sacrifices these men made.