THE grave of a soldier from Old Kilpatrick who was killed during the Battle of Loos has finally been found over 100 years after he was declared Missing in Action (MIA).

Private James McLean of the 10th Battalion Gordon Highlanders died on September 23, 1915.

In 2014, 99 years on from his death, James’ great-nephew Phil Maclean met a colleague at work named Alan Gregson who was interested in researching and investigating the military.

Phil, who lives in Cheshire, passed on some information about his great-uncle not expecting to hear anything back but to his surprise, Alan uncovered evidence that would shock Phil and his family.

Phil said: “This process has been going on since 2014. It was a colleague at work who uncovered it, he was interested in researching and investigating things like this and I gave him some details about my great-uncle and he looked into it.

“He came back to me and said he has actually got a grave and here’s evidence to take to the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and Commonwealth War Graves that shows the wrong headstone is on my great-uncle James’ grave.

“I was very surprised and pleased that we now have somewhere we can visit if we go to the battlefields.

“My family felt like we had to pursue this and ask the MoD and Commonwealth War Graves to change the headstone.

“They obviously wanted all of our evidence and it took a while as they said they’d have to consult one of their experts.

“Initially, they said it wasn’t my uncle but we didn’t let it go as we thought we had very strong evidence that it was him and eventually they accepted it was James.”

Amongst an “inch-thick” file of evidence that Alan uncovered during his research process was a map of the temporary graves put in place during the battle.

Phil said that he felt this was the main piece of evidence that proved it was in fact his great-uncle.

He added: “When a soldier was killed in action they put little wooden crosses up temporarily as that’s all they could do whilst the battle was ongoing and on this sheet after the war ended there was a map with all these crosses with all of the names and army numbers on them.

“Two days before the main battle started the machine gun unit within the Royal Highlanders was hit with a direct shell. On the map, five of the machine gun unit were in a row and on this spot was my great-uncle’s name and army number.

“Somehow there was a mix-up, the person who was originally believed to be buried in that grave shared the same second name as my great-uncle.”

A rededication ceremony with full military honours will be held in Loos on Thursday, November 17, the MoD has confirmed.

Phil and 13 other members of his family will make the journey to France to take part in the ceremony. Soldiers from the four Scots regiments will also be in attendance and will play the Last Post.

James McLean was born in Old Kilpatrick in 1891 to Donald and Agnes McLean. He was the third oldest of twelve children and served his apprenticeship in the area working as a shipwright at Napier and Miller.

His brothers George and Malcolm both survived the war with Malcolm returning home to Duntocher where he worked as a teacher for a number of years.

James is commemorated on the Duntocher War Memorial.