For conspicuous gallantry and resourceful leadership. When one of his companies was held up by machine-gun fire, he took charge and overcame the opposition. Later, by aggressive fighting, he got his battalion forward, and formed a defensive flank, using a rifle himself and directing machine–gun and trench-mortar fire, and drove the enemy from their positions. His courage and fighting spirit were an inspiration to all.
(Kirkcaldy D.S.O. Citation, London Gazette, July 1918, 133)
James Kirkcaldy was born in Abdie, Scotland on 18 May 1866. After serving for over seven years in the Imperial Forces, he immigrated to Canada in 1891 and settled in Brandon, Manitoba. Shortly thereafter, the six-foot Scotsman was appointed the town’s chief of police, a post he held for the next thirteen years (1892—1905). A former member of the 12th Manitoba Dragoons and serving major with the 99th Rangers, in August 1914, Kirkcaldy enlisted in Louis Lipsett’s 8th Battalion at the rank of major.