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James Boyd Laird

Portrait, Weekly News - This image may be subject to copyright

Portrait, Weekly News - This image may be subject to copyright


  • Title
  • Forenames
    James Boyd AWMM
  • Surname
    Laird AWMM
  • Ingoa
  • Also known as
    Jock AWMM
  • Service number
  • Gender
    Male AWMM
  • Iwi
  • Hapū
  • Waka
  • Rohe
  • Religion

Civilian life

About birth

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  • Birth
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Birth notes
  • Address before enlistment
  • Post war occupation
  • Next of kin on embarkation
    52 Mansewood Road, Glasgow, Scotland AWMM
  • Relationship status


Wars and conflicts

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Military decorations

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  • Medals and Awards

Training and Enlistment

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  • Military training
  • Branch Trade Proficiency
  • Enlistment
  • Occupation before enlistment
  • Age on enlistment


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  • Embarkation details

Prisoner of war

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  • Capture details
  • Days interned
  • Liberation date
  • Liberation Repatriation
  • POW liberation details
  • POW serial number

Medical history

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  • Medical notes
    Killed in Action, Cause of Death AWMM

Last known rank

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Biographical information

Biographical information

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  • James Laird was the son of John and Elizabeth Boyd Laird; husband of Gwyneth Laird, of Glasgow, Scotland.

    Captain James Laird of Scotland , was educated at the Ardrossan Academy and commenced a seafaring career at the age of 15. He was involved in action during World War I with the Royal Navy Reserve and on demobilization took up service with the New Zealand Shipping Company.

    Captain J.J. Laird of the 'Turakina', a refrigerated cargo steamer, put up a hopeless but heroic battle in the Tasman Sea on August 20, 1940. The 'Turakina' was crossing the Tasman Sea on her way from Australia to New Zealand to load for the United Kingdom, when she was attacked by the German surface raider 'Orion' and sunk. Captain Laird was one of the thiry-five men killed, twenty survived and became prisoners of war. Captain Laird followed wartime custom, signalling Australia and New Zealand of his attack and giving his position. He defended his ship with only one gun but the 'Turakina' was heavily shelled and finally torpedoed. The ship's last moments were a holocaust.

    New Zealand's merchant navy has become a forgotten service of the Second World War. Sailors served with many shipping lines, includingthose that serviced New Zealand ports such as the Union Steamship Company, Shaw Savill and the New Zealand Shipping Company. On the outbreak of war the government took control of all shipping services.

    A photograph of the Captain Laird and the officers of the 'Turakina' is displayed at the Auckland War Memorial Museum, exhibit 2 .'Unsung Heroes of Our Merchant Navy', 'Scars on the Heart'. AWMM
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About death

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  • Death
    20 August 1940 AWMM
    Age 45 AWMM
    Tasman Sea AWMM
  • Date of death
  • Age at death
  • Place of death
  • Cause of death
  • Death notes
  • Cemetery
  • Cemetery name
  • Grave reference
  • Obituary
  • Memorial name
  • Memorial reference



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  • Memorial name
    Tower Hill Memorial, Trinity Square, London, England AWMM

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Command item
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DateFirst namesLocationRelationshipContact
20 November 2018HughPortarlington AustraliaOther

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