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   James Hamilton Speirs MM

         22 March 1886 - 20 August 1917

This site is dedicated to James Hamilton Speirs - Jimmy Speirs - professional footballer and, ultimately, war hero.

Jimmy's football career began with juvenile club Annandale, near his Govanhill home.  He moved into junior football with Maryhill (Glasgow), and progressed to the senior game with Rangers, Clyde, Bradford City and Leeds City.  He became a full Scottish International and, whilst with Bradford City, captained his team to victory in the FA Cup Final of 1911, when he scored the winning goal.

Jimmy played his final game as a professional at the end of the 1914-15 season, and then volunteered to enlist in the Queens Own Cameron Highlanders.  He was posted to France in March 1916, won the Military Medal for bravery in the field, and was promoted to Sergeant.  Jimmy died from wounds received on 20 August 1917 at Passchendaele and is buried at Dochy Farm New British Cemetery near Ieper (Ypres), Belgium.

Such a brief summary does not do justice to a man who will be forever remembered by supporters of Bradford City FC, in particular, and who tragically gave his life for King and country on the battlefields of Flanders.

The full story of Jimmy's life contained in these pages has been constructed with the invaluable co-operation and help of Jimmy's grand-daughters, Connie and Liz, along with great-grandson Stefan.  Many of the images and documents reproduced are from the Speirs family's collection.

Sadly, Connie passed away in May 2018, in Ontario, Canada, aged 79 Years.  She leaves her husband Cliff, three daughters and three grandchildren.  Connie was intensely proud of Jimmy Speirs, the grandfather she had never met. (In the photograph she is wearing a replica of Jimmy's 1911 FA Cup Final shirt).  Without her enthusiasm and support this website would never have been created in 2003.  Over recent years Jimmy has been recognised at various exhibitions and commemorations.  Indeed, he now features in a permanent memorial at the Frezenburg Scottish Memorial Park in Belgium (see Postscript age).  Connie was naturally delighted at the deserved recognition afforded to Jimmy.  She will be sadly missed.

Research into Jimmy's life is ongoing.  This site will be updated as new facts come to light - please contact me with any information which is relevant.

The site follows Jimmy's story in chronological sequence, starting with his family background and early days in Glasgow, moving through his various football clubs, and finishing at his final resting place in Belgium.

Although it is now 100 years since Jimmy Speirs died, developments affecting his story continue to the present day - read about them on the Postscript page.    

Researching Jimmy's life has been a thoroughly enjoyable experience, largely due to the support which I have been given by many people along the way.  I hope that you find as much interest and enjoyment in reading Jimmy's story.

Andrew Pickles

In addition to the contribution of Connie, Liz and Stefan, along with my former colleague Jake Piergies, sincere thanks are recorded to the following:-

Chris Ambler - for his invaluable help on all aspects of Jimmy's life and career

Brian Reilly - for his significant contributions to the sections on Jimmy's time at Annandale, Maryhill and Clyde

Dave Pendleton - for his help with the sections on Bradford City and the Cameron Highlanders

Alex Jackson (National Football Museum, Manchester), Mark Neale and Richard Carney - for their support and information, particularly on "Glorious 1911" 

Andy George - for allowing me to draw on his knowledge and memorabilia relating to Crystal Palace FA Cup Finals, and pre-WW1 football in general

John Ashton - for his technical guidance and support with the Bradford City page

Quenton Martin and Dave Twydell - for their support with the Leeds City section

Michael Callaghan (Bradford Industrial Museum) and Tony Lofthouse - for their involvement with the Postscript page

Lt Col (Ret'd) A M Cumming OBE  (The Highlanders Regimental Headquarters), RSM (Ret'd) Ian McCallum BEM formerly of the Queen's Own Highlanders (Seaforth and Camerons), Neil Young (Imperial War Museum), and Chris Bate - for their help with Jimmy's military career

Jan Van der Fraenen (formerly of the Memorial Museum Passchendaele) for his research into Jimmy's death at the Battle of Passchendaele

David Mason (Club Historian, The Rangers Football Club, Glasgow) for his support with the Rangers page

Robin Shields (The Lodge Saint Vincent Sandyford No 553) for his help and information relating to Jimmy's involvement in freemasonry


Every effort has been made to obtain the necessary permissions to use material included in this site.

However,  if copyright has been inadvertently infringed in the use of any of the site's content, please contact me.

This site is itself protected by UK copyright law, and I would ask that permission is obtained to use the material contained for other than private research or study.