RELATIVES of a Neilston soldier who died in World War I are embarking on a special trip to mark the centenary of his death.

The extended family of Lieutenant Patrick Joseph McCusker will travel to the Somme Battlefields for Remembrance Sunday.

Family members from Renfrewshire, as well as descendants from Australia as far as Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney, are set to gather at his graveside at Knightsbridge Cemetery in Mesnil-Martinsart to pay their respects.

Around 60 relatives are expected to visit the site 100 years on from Lt McCusker’s death, including his great-nephew James McCusker and wife Jacqui, who live in Paisley.

It is a journey the family are looking forward to and one they believe will act as a poignant reminder of the sacrifices previous generations made.

Jacqui said: “One of the cousins mentioned it years ago and we talked about it because it was the centenary. It’ll be nice to have a reunion — there are people who have never met each other.

“I had phoned a few hotels in France and then the numbers grew – it’s a nice excuse for everyone to get together and commemorate.

“It’s such a sad thing for someone to die in a war at the age of 22.”

The British Medical Journal reported Lt McCusker was wounded and missing, and then subsequently killed in action, on November 13, 1916, during the Battle of the Ancre, the 12th of the Battle of the Sommes.

Having been brought up in Neilston, he was educated at Stonyhurst College in Lancashire. He returned to Scotland to study medicine at Glasgow University before receiving his commission.

His extended family will start their weekend of commemoration with a visit to the Somme War Museum in Albert on November 12 before taking a coach trip around the Somme Battlefields.

Great-nephew Father John Eagers, of St James’ Catholic Church in Renfrew, will then say mass at Lt McCusker’s burial site on Remembrance Sunday.