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13 August 2015
SS/12112 Private James Shearer of Stronsay

Today is the centenary of the death of James Shearer of Sunnybank, Stronsay.  James left Orkney as a young man to live and work in London, initially as a warehouseman but then as a commercial traveller.  He had married and brought up a family of two children, when the Great War started.  James volunteered in the early summer of 1915 and joined the 18th Labour Company of the Army Service Corps, when it was formed on 17th July.  Less than a month later it was on board the steamship Royal Edward on its way to Gallipoli, when the troopship was sunk by UB-14 in the Aegean Sea.  Nearly 500 of the service personnel on board were picked up, but James Shearer was among the 861 who died.  James Shearer was one of the early Orcadian Great War casualties, also one of the oldest at age 47 when he died.  Kathryn Atkin of Sheffield and her son have put together a website about the loss of the Royal Edward, which can be seen using the link below.

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