He was a baker who joined the Gordon Highlanders after World War 1 broke out.
Private James Duffus’ skills saw him moved from the rifles companies to the cookhouse.
But the switch didn’t keep him out of harm’s way, with Pte Duffus regularly exposed to German shelling as he fed the soldiers on the front line.
And the story of the Aberdeen-born soldier, who fought at the Somme and Bullecourt in France, has been captured in a book.
Set for release in paperback next month, Bullecourt 1917: Breaching the Hindenburg Line by Paul Kendall relives the fierce battles fought by three British and three Australian Divisions against the formidable defences of the Hindenburg Line at Bullecourt.
Pte Duffus, was part of the 2nd Battalion Gordon Highlanders, who succeeded where other regiments failed – fighting their way in through the ruins of Bullecourt and capturing the south east side.
Former soldier turned author Paul was inspired to delve into the past during his own time serving.
He said: “I was with the University of London Royal Naval Unit from 1990 to 1994.
“While on deployment in 1991 we visited Bruges and the Belgian Navy organised a visit to Ypres where my interest was awakened – I was in awe of all the cemeteries located in villages and fields that surrounded Ypres.
“Also my great grandfather Private William Kendall was killed at Bullecourt on 13 May 1917, while serving with the 22 Manchester Regiment.
“All we have is his death plaque, bearing his name. We have no photo, he has no grave, just his name inscribed on the Arras Memorial.”
During his research, which involved contacting other relatives of soldiers who fought at Bullecourt, Paul came across James’ story.
Born in Aberdeen in 1891, Pte Duffus began an apprenticeship as a baker after leaving school.
He immigrated to Westerly, Rhode Island in the US, working for a small family bakery owned by a German couple.
When World War 1 broke out in 1914, James felt compelled to do his bit for his country, returning to Scotland to enlist and, joining the 2nd Gordon Highlanders.
Paul said: “Duffus served with this highly disciplined regular battalion throughout the war and was present at the Somme battles during 1916 at Mametz, Bazentin, High Wood, Delville Wood, Guillemont, during the Ancre operations and during the closing phase of the campaign.”
At one stage during the war, the battalion recognised his skills as a baker and he was transferred from the rifles companies to the battalion cookhouse, climbing the ranks to become a Sergeant Cook.
Paul said: “Him feeding the battalion might have been safer than serving with rifle companies in the front line, but it had its dangers.
“He was often exposed to German shelling as he brought food to the front line, it wasn’t an easy job by any means.
“Duffus also endured the cold harsh winter of 1916/17 on the front – where he recounted that the edges of the frozen kilt and kilt apron would cut into the back of his knees.
“But we did discover Duffus was reduced to the ranks and sent back into a rifle company for his attempt to beat the mail censor with unflattering correspondence to a magazine about poor conditions.”
During 1918 Pte Duffus was awarded the Military Medal during operations to cross the River Piave and during the final battles which defeated the Austro-Hungarian Army in northern Italy.
He intended to return to the US after the war ended, but returned to Aberdeen where he was married and worked as a baker until his death in 1946.
The paperback edition of Paul’s book, published by The History Press, is on sale from April 3 on Amazon.