James Sholto
Major james sholto
Vital statistics
Affiliation British Army
Occupation Army major
Appearances The Sign of Three
Main actor Alistair Petrie
"So, I was to be killed by my uniform. How appropriate."
—James Sholto about his stabbing.[src]

Major James Sholto VC is a war veteran and Victoria Cross recipient who fought in Afghanistan. He was the commanding officer of John Watson when he was deployed in Afghanistan. While serving overseas, he led a number of new recruits into battle and after an attack he was left as the lone survivor. This gained him much unpopularity from the press and the families of the soldiers involved.

After the incident, he returned to Britain and became something of a recluse. In May 2014, he attended John's wedding to Mary Watson, where he was the subject of a murder attempt by Jonathan Small.


Time in AfghanistanEdit

James sholto 2

James Sholto in Afghanistan.

James Sholto served in Afghanistan, beginning his service in the country prior to 2010. He was the commanding officer of John Watson and the pair became friends during this period of time.

While in Afghanistan, James led a group of new recruits, or crows, into battle. Though this is standard army procedure, James' journey went wrong. All the new recruits, including the eighteen year old Peter Small, died and he was left as the only survivor. He received the Victoria Cross for surviving the battle, but many people viewed him badly for letting the new soldiers die.

Return to BritainEdit

After the incident, James returned to Britain. He lived in a house far out of town and became somewhat of a recluse, as the press and the families of the new soldiers killed in the attacks hounded him. He employed a fairly large number of private staff, including Gail as a gardener, Charlotte as a cook, Tessa as a nurse and Vicky as a maid. He was allowed to retain his uniform due to a special dispensation.

John and Mary's weddingEdit

James Sholto was invited by John Watson to his wedding with Mary. He did not RSVP before the wedding, though John knew he would come.

After dressing in his room, James arrived at the wedding wearing full army uniform. He was greeted by John Watson and they had a discussion about their respective lives since returning to Britain. During the time the wedding photographs were being taken, the photographer Jonathan Small stabbed James with a thin piece of metal. Due the the tightness of his belt, the wound did not bleed.

Major james sholto2

James in his room.

After the consulting detective Sherlock Holmes realised there was going to be a murder at the wedding, Sherlock deduced the victim would be James. Sherlock slipped James a note reading "IT'S YOU", to notify him of this fact. James returned to his room, locked the door and armed himself with his handgun.

"Tell me how he did it and I’ll open the door."
—James to Sherlock.[src]

Despite Sherlock, John and Mary's attempts to get him to open the door, he said he would not until Sherlock solved the case. Sherlock worked out that James had been stabbed earlier, much like the case involving Stephen Bainbridge. James refused to open the door but Sherlock enticed him out, saying that he shouldn't die at John's wedding. James unlocked the door and promptly received medical attention from John.


James Sholto appeared in the Sherlock episode The Sign of Three. James was not specifically mentioned on John Watson's blog, though the attempted murder at the wedding was mentioned in the post titled The Sign of Three.

Behind the scenesEdit

James Sholto was played by the English actor Alistair Petrie.

Allusions to Conan Doyle storiesEdit

Major James Sholto shares his name with the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle character Major John Sholto who appeared in The Sign of Four. However the two do not share many similarities beyond their names, as the original Major Sholto had died before The Sign of Four took place. The limited similarities are as follows:

  • Major James Sholto served overseas in Afghanistan, just as the original Sholto served as part of the convict guard on the Andaman Islands.
  • Both Sholtos left their service and returning to England, their homeland.
  • After returning to England, James Sholto underwent an attempted murder by Jonathan Small, who was angered at his brother's death. This is somewhat similar to the death of the original Sholto, who was killed by a one-legged Jonathan Small after he stole treasure discovered by Small and three others.