We shall remember Them.
This is the story, in so far as we have been able to research it, of the thirty five young men whose names are inscribed on the Edinkillie War Memorial and the nineteen men named on the Dyke War Memorial, who never returned from the battlefields of the Great War. The main sources that we have used have been the contemporary reports in the Northern Scot and other local newspapers, Scottish Census information from 1891, 1901 and1911, the Morayshire Roll of Honour, the Scottish War Memorial Project and several other interesting websites dedicated to the units in which these men served. We have also drawn on the Divisional Histories of the 9th (Scottish), 15th (Scottish) and 51st Highland Divisions, which were published during the 1920s. Derek Bird’s book entitled “The Spirit of the Troops is Excellent” is a great source of information about the 6th (Morayshire) Battalion Seaforth Highlanders in which ten of the men on the Memorials served, and we are indebted to him.
There are three other names of men who are not remembered on the Memorials, but also died as serving soldiers in the Great War and have a connection with the Parishes. They are remembered in the graveyards of the Churches. They are Lieutenant James Macdonald M.C. and Lewis Alexander Anderson from Edinkillie and William Grant from Dyke. We have also included the details we could find about these three men.
The two Parishes of Dyke and Edinkillie have been linked since 1979. They lie respectively to the west and south of the Royal Burgh of Forres. They are both now, as they were 100 years ago, rural communities based on farming, forestry and other estate activities. Dyke is a lowland community centred round the attractive village of Dyke surrounded by rich agricultural land, while Edinkillie is a more scattered community set in beautiful upland countryside. The two communities share many aspects of rural life.
The events described happened 100 years ago, but what these brave men achieved through their sacrifice has helped to ensure that we can live in freedom today. The majority of the men served in three of the Scottish Divisions of the British Army. The 9th and 15th Divisions formed part of the New Army (Kitchener’s Army) and the 51st Division formed part of the Territorial Force. These three formations were renowned throughout the Allied Armies for their fighting spirit and feared by the enemy for the same reason. They fought in the kilt and were nicknamed “The Ladies from Hell” by their enemies. They played a significant role in almost all of the battles of the Great War from Loos in September 1915 to the Final Advance into Flanders in October and November 1918. The majority of these men volunteered for service overseas and were prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice for King and Country. Conscription was not introduced in Great Britain until March 1916, by which time most of the men on these memorials had already volunteered.
The men endured unimaginable conditions in the Trenches, where mud, lice, rats, insanitary living arrangements, the smell of death and often dreadful weather combined with shelling, mortaring and sniping from the enemy to make life unbelievably awful. In attack they were required to go forward into a hail of machine gun and rifle fire as well as bombardment by all manner of artillery. They saw so many of their comrades in arms mown down, killed and wounded around about them. Even away from the front line, conditions were little better and although some time was spent on training, lectures and rifle practice, the men were all too often required for working parties to repair roads, dig trenches and dug outs and much more hard labour. There was little time for rest, although there was a program of sport, mostly football, arranged between the units. Throughout this entire ordeal the men of these Divisions and the British Army as a whole retained their fighting spirit and their sense of humour.
We did expect that there would be many aspects of the story that would strike inspiration, sadness and pride into the heart. What we did not expect to find was how mobile people were in the early part of the last century. Many of the heroes of this story were born many miles away from Edinkillie or Dyke, although mostly in North East Scotland and moved to these parishes only later. Of the fifty-seven men commemorated, seven died serving in Canadian, Australian or New Zealand regiments and one other had emigrated to the US but enlisted in the Cameron Highlanders in New York. The families of several of the others had moved away from the district by the end of the War.
Prior to 1914, most of these men would have had only limited experience of life outside the very small and insular rural communities of the North East of Scotland. It is hard to imagine how they would have reacted to the contrast between their life at home and the conditions of army life in the trenches in France. Equally, their absence at the Front and the fact that so many did not return brought about profound economic and social changes in the rural communities they had left. Many of those who did return came back desperately wounded in mind or body and could not fit back into the lives that they had left before they went to war.
There are many unanswered questions in this story. If anybody reading this has further information that they would like to share with us about the background or stories of these brave men, we would be delighted to hear about it.
Mark Laing Jill Stewart
Dunphail House Dyke
The Men from the Parish of Edinkillie
Lieutenant Alastair M. S. Cumming from Logie, Lieutenant, 1st Battalion Seaforth Highlanders.
Alastair was born on 14th December 1889 in Kensington, London, the only son of Commander Sir Mansfield Smith Cumming RN KCMG CB and Lady Cumming. They lived at 2 Whitehall Court, London and at Logie. He was baptised on 5th February 1890 at Paddington, St Stephen.
In 1901 he was at school in Horsell, near Chobham and later he was educated in Woolwich.
He joined the 1st Battalion Seaforth Highlanders in 1909 and was serving at Chaubattia, India in 1911. He was home on leave from Agra when war broke out and was offered a staff position in the BEF.Alastair was Mentioned in Despatches in September 1914 for gallant and distinguished service in the field.
Mansfield and his son Alastair were both fond of speed and were very fast drivers. On 1st October 1914, Mansfield had picked his son up from GHQ for ten days leave in Paris. Alastair was driving his father’s Rolls Royce Silver Ghost at 60 mph when they hit an unlit farm cart and then a tree. They lay in the wreckage for nine hours. They were both taken to hospital in Meaux. Alastair died there of his injuries on 2nd October 1914. He was 29 years old.
Alastair is buried in Meaux New Communal Cemetery Grave 424.
In 1909 his Father, Sir Mansfield Smith Cumming became Director of the new Foreign Section of the Secret Intelligence Bureau (SIB), later MI6. He became known as “C” after his habit of signing his name as “C” in green ink. He was involved in the arrest of twenty two German spies at the outbreak of war and also in the arrest and trial of Sir Roger Casement, found guilty of treason in 1916. At its peak, he employed 400 agents in his network known as “La Dame Blanche”, who were reporting on German troop movements in Northern France and Belgium.
His first wife died in 1885. On 13th March 1889 Mansfield married Lesley Marian (May) Valiant Cumming. She had inherited Logie in 1880 on the death of her mother, Mrs Lockhart Muir Valiant Cumming, who had in turn inherited Logie from her father, Alexander Cumming. Lesley was the Granddaughter of Lesley Cumming (nee Baillie) regaled in Burns Poem “Bonnie Lesley”. As part of the marriage settlement Mansfield changed his name from Smith to Smith Cumming. He lost the lower part of his right leg in the accident that killed his son, but was back at work at his desk in London within six weeks. In July 1919 he was awarded a KCMG in recognition of his wartime service. To the end of his life Cumming retained an infectious, if sometimes eccentric, enthusiasm for the tradecraft and mystification of espionage,experimenting personally with disguises, mechanical gadgets, and secret inks in his own laboratory.
He died shortly before he was due to retire in 1923. May Cumming died on 3rd March 1938.
William Allan from Carnoch, 38925 Private, 22nd Canterbury Battalion.
William was born at Tillieglens on 22nd February 1884, the third of six children born to William and Jane Paxton Allan. In the 1901 census he was 17 years old and was living at Torchroisk with his parents where he was an auxiliary post runner. His father was also born at Tillieglens in about 1850 and was listed in the 1891 census as Farm Grieve. By 1911 Jane had died and William had left home.
William emigrated to New Zealand where he became a teamster and enlisted in the Canterbury Battalion there in November 1916.
He joined the 22nd (Reinforcement) Battalion of the Canterbury Regiment. He was killed on 12th October 1917, the same day as Donald Calder in the first Battle of Passchendaele, a phase of Third Ypres. He was 33 years old. The New Zealanders were attacking on the right of the 9th Division in terrible weather and ground conditions. Zero hour was at 5.35am and the attack was supported by a thin and ragged barrage, because the guns could not be moved quickly enough through the mud and the rain. The infantry did make some progress in the dreadful conditions, but were eventually stopped by determined enemy resistance. The 12th October at Passchendaele was the bloodiest day in New Zealand history. They suffered 2,735 casualties on this day, including William.
William has no known grave and is remembered on the Tyne Cot Memorial at Ypres on the New Zealand Apse, Panel 2. He is also remembered on the Auckland Cenotaph.
William’s younger brother Robert also served during the War. He enlisted at Hopeman in the 9th Battalion Seaforth Highlanders, a unit of the New Army. He was severely wounded and discharged from the Army in 1916. He was a blacksmith.
William Calder from Dava, 2553 Private, 6th Seaforth Highlanders.
William was born at Inverallan, Cromdale on 18th December 1892, the second of five sons born to Donald and Jessie Calder of Dava Station. Donald was Foreman Railway Surfaceman. William was the first of three of his sons to be killed in the War. Another brother, Peter, served as a Private in the Royal Engineers and survived.
By the 1911 Census William was living and working as a ploughman at Glenernie Farm, where Donald Grant and his wife Margaret farmed. He was single at this time but he married Annie Mackay on 1st August 1913 in the
United Free Church at Edinkillie. Annie was a domestic servant at Glenernie.
He volunteered in Elgin in September 1914 in the Seaforth Highlanders. By this time he was a ploughman at the Beachens and had two children.
The 1/6th(Morayshire) Battalion Seaforth Highlanders was in the 51st(Highland) Division, part of the Territorial Force, which arrived in France on 5th May 1915 and saw action at Festubert in May and June 1915. After the battle, the Division, at this time only partially trained, had to undertake the difficult and unpleasant task of consolidating a newly captured position. Usually a new Division coming into the line had a period of attachment to an experienced Division to show them the ropes. The 51st did not benefit from this training period. The work included the building of breastworks and the clearing of the battlefield of the many dead, as well as all the detritus of modern warfare – a very sobering introduction to the front for a newly arrived soldier. After this the Division had a period of consolidation where training could be continued. At the beginning of August they relieved the French Breton troops in the line from Becourt to the river Ancre near Hamel. This was part of the process of the British Army taking over more of the line near the Somme from the French ahead of the events leading up to July 1916. September 1915 appears to have been a “quieter” month in a quiet sector of the line. William was killed by a German sniper with a bullet through the head while he was looking through a loophole. The Battalion was in trenches at Becourt at the time. Even in quieter times casualties still occurred as a result of enemy sniping, trench mortars and shelling. William was described as “a splendid soldier in every respect and a most amiable companion.”
William was killed on 15th September 1915, ten days before his younger brother, Andrew. He was 22 years old. He is buried in Becourt Military Cemetery, Plot 1, Row B, Grave 17, Becordel- Becourt.
Andrew Calder from Dava, S/12096 Private, 5th Queens Own Cameron Highlanders.
Andrew was born at Inverallan, Cromdale on 23rd September 1896 the fourth of five sons born to Donald and Jessie Calder, who lived at Dava Station. Two older brothers were also killed in the War and are remembered on the Edinkillie War Memorial.
In 1911 he was at school in Cromdale District and then became a railway porter.
He volunteered in Inverness in September 1914. He served in 1/6th Battalion Seaforth Highlanders before being posted to the 5th Cameron Highlanders, a Service Battalion, a unit of the New Army.
On the 25th September 1915, the 5th Battalion Cameron Highlanders were in the 26th Brigade, 9th (Scottish) Division, 1 Corps, 1st Army at the Battle of Loos and suffered horrific casualties attacking the Hohenzollern Redoubt. At zero hour they were delayed ten minutes while they waited for the British gas to clear, but as they began to advance at 6.40am they were mown down by machine gun fire from their left flank. The first two lines of the Battalion were virtually annihilated. The rest of the Battalion pressed on with superb heroism and captured the southern part of the Redoubt. They had reached their objective but at terrible cost. Of the 800 men and 20 officers who went over the top, only 2 officers and 70 men were able to answer roll call at the end of the day and Andrew was not amongst this number.
Andrew was reported missing believed killed on 25th September 1915 on the first day of the Battle of Loos aged 19. He is remembered on the Loos Memorial, which commemorates more than 20,000 officers and men, who fell in the area between the River Lys and Grenay between 1915 and the end of the war and who have no known grave. George Macbeth Calder (not directly related) was killed on the same day in the same battle.
Donald Calder from Dava, S/40753 Private, 5th Queens Own Cameron Highlanders.
Donald was born on 2nd August 1891. He was the eldest son of Donald and Jessie Calder of Dava Station and was the last of their sons to be killed. His older brother Peter was born on 26th April 1890 and served in the Royal Engineers and survived the War.
By 1911 Donald was working as a ploughman for John MacInnes at Balnafoich, seven miles south of Inverness on the River Nairn
He originally joined the Lovat Scouts where his number was 6458. He volunteered in Nairn in 1915. He was transferred to the 5th Battalion Cameron Highlanders.
Donald was killed on 12th October 1917 aged 26 during Third Ypres, which had started in June 1917 with the capture of the Messines Ridge. The main attack in the North East of the Salient in mid August became a dogged struggle against determined opposition and deteriorating weather, the wettest for thirty years. It was a grim battle in terrible weather and awful mud, supported by a “thin creeping Barrage” and assailed by determined German artillery and machine gun fire. The objective of Donald’s Battalion was to pass through the leading Battalions of the Brigade and reach the “Blue Line”. At about midnight on 11th October the weather broke down completely as the Battalion tried to reach it’s jumping off point under torrents of rain, along slippery duckboards and in gale force winds. The forming up positions were heavily shelled and gassed by German artillery. When the attack started, it was over ground that was in some places impassable and the men, floundering forward, could not keep pace with the creeping barrage which advanced at the rate of 100 yards every eight minutes. The attack ground to a halt only about 100yds from the start line; the men were exhausted and disorganised. Casualties in the 26th Brigade, which included the 5thBattalion Cameron Highlanders, were very high. Many people took the view that the battle should never have been fought.
Donald is remembered on the Tyne Cot Memorial. This is one of four Memorials in the Ypres Salient and commemorates over 35,000 British and New Zealand service men who were killed in the Salient after August 1917 and have no known grave.
George Macbeth Calder from Presley, 2nd Lieutenant, 8th Seaforth Highlanders.
George was born on 29th May 1891 at Edinkillie. He was educated at Logie and then went to Gordon College in Aberdeen, where he showed great aptitude both as an academic and as an athlete. In 1910 he went to Aberdeen University and first studied the arts and then medicine. He was the fifth of six children born to George Macbeth and Isabella Calder. Father George was the Inspector of Poor in Edinkilliie.
In 1911 he joined U Company, 4th Gordons, a Territorial Battalion, and was soon promoted to sergeant. He was mobilised in August 1914 and went to France in February 1915. In March of that year he was commissioned into the 8th Seaforths, a Service Battalion in the New Army, and returned to France in July 1915.
The 8th Battalion Seaforth Highlanders was in the 44th Brigade commanded by Brig. Gen F. McCracken, in the 15th (Scottish) Division, which was formed in September 1914 as part of Kitchener’s New Army and crossed to France in July 1915 in time to prepare for the coming battle of Loos.
On the first day of the Battle of Loos, 25th September, the first objective for the 44th Brigade was to capture the enemy’s first line trenches, then the trenches north of Loos Cemetery, then Loos village and then on to the enemy redoubt on Hill 70. The attack started at 6.30am, and the Brigade immediately came under very heavy fire from the redoubt known as the Jew’s Nose causing heavy casualties. The first line trenches were taken and the assaulting troops advanced into the village of Loos, which they captured and pushed on toward Hill 70. But the Division had outstripped the Divisions on either flank and found themselves over Hill 70, without familiar landmarks and with most of their officers out of action by 9am. The Germans counterattacked strongly and swept the ridge with heavy artillery, machine gun and rifle fire. British artillery ammunition ran short, reinforcements were not available and the Division was forced back with heavy losses from 11am onwards. The 8th Battalion lost 502 men of which 23 were officers during the battle.
George was killed on 25th September 1915 on the first day of the Battle of Loos aged 24. He died instantly, leading his men in an attack. He is buried in Dud Corner Cemetery, so called because of the number of unexploded shells found in the area after the war. His grave is in Plot V, Row H, Grave 1. He is also remembered on a family gravestone in Edinkillie Churchyard and on the Aberdeen University Roll of Honour.
His nephew, also George Macbeth Calder, was born to George’s brother, William Mair Calder – Prof Calder of Edinburgh and Presley. This George Macbeth was wounded in Egypt in October 1942 and died of his wounds in Cairo in April 1943. He was a Captain in the RAMC and is also remembered on the War Memorial.
Thomas Campbell from Darnaway, 18179 Corporal, 4th Battalion 1st Canadian Contingent.
Thomas was born on 4th August 1887 at Edinkillie, the sixth of seven children born to Alexander and Isabella Fraser Cameron, who lived at Redstone, Darnaway.
He sailed for Canada from Glasgow on the “Cassandra” and arrived at Quebec on 12th June 1910. He said he was heading for Toronto and he was a Farm Labourer. He became a storekeeper.
He enlisted in the 4th Infantry Battalion, which was raised in Central Ontario and was in the 1st Brigade of the 1st Canadian Division. This was part of the First Canadian Contingent, which sailed from Valcartier in Quebec for England on 3rd October 1914.
The Division arrived in England on 14th October 1914 and Lieutenant General Alderson was appointed to command it. They sailed for France in February 1915. The Division moved into the Ypres Salient in April and withstood the German offensive where gas was used for the first time. They were in action at Festubert and Givenchy throughout the summer, after which they moved to Ploegstreet. That winter passed in long periods of static warfare until operations resumed in the spring of 1916. The Division took part in the Battle of Mount Sorrel during which they recovered a perilous situation at Sanctuary Wood.
Thomas was most probably killed in the Battle of Mount Sorrel on 13th June 1916. The Battle had begun at the beginning of June with a German offensive by the XIII Wurttemberg Corps, whose objective was to capture the high ground. This would give them a good view over the Ypres Salient and enable them to pin down British forces and prevent them being re-deployed to the Somme for the coming offensive. In the early stages of the Battle, the Germans overran the British front line and captured Mount Sorrel and Tor Top (Hill 62). Several counterattacks by British forces failed and the weather deteriorated. A heavy barrage by British guns started on 9th of June and continued for four hours each day. At 1.30am on 13th June the next British counterattack was launched. The 4th Battalion of the First Canadian Contingent under George Tuxford had the objective to reach Tor Top. The assault began on time and the Canadians quickly captured the German front line. A heavy German bombardment opened on the newly captured trenches, but the Canadians held on despite the mud and bombardment making the reinstatement of trenches almost impossible. Both Mount Sorrel and Tor Top were recaptured and held by Allied troops – but Corporal Thomas Campbell was killed aged 28.
Thomas is remembered on the Menin Gate at Ypres where 55,000 soldiers who have no known grave are remembered. His name is on Panel 18-24-26-30.
Duncan Clark from Ballinriach, S/40130 Private, 6th Queens Own Cameron Highlanders.
Duncan Allen Clark is recorded on the War Memorial as being from Ballinriach. He was born on 23rd August 1894, the second of four children born to Duncan and Margaret (nee Mason) at Meikle Urchany near Cawdor. By 1911 he was 16 years old and a ploughman at Achamor in the Parish of Ardclach, where Alexander McArthur was the Farmer.
Duncan arrived in France on 18th April 1915 serving in the 4th Cameron Highlanders. He was wounded in September 1916 and by this time was serving in the 6th(Service) Battalion, Cameron Highlanders. He was treated in Hospital in Broughty Ferry.
By 1917 he was back with the 6th Battalion Cameron Highlanders, which was in the 45th Brigade, 15th (Scottish) Division. April 1917 saw the First Battle of the Scarpe, a phase of the Arras Offensive. This was part of the British support for the ill-fated Nivelle Offensive by the French. The first day of the battle, 9th April, was very successful with the capture of Vimy Ridge by the Canadian Corps. The 15th Division also made significant progress and advanced 4,000 yards, suffering relatively light losses. On 11th April the 15th Division was ordered to attack Monchy-le- Preux, which they did with astonishing success, despite the cold and snowy conditions. The Division was supported by six tanks when the attack was launched at 5am in a blinding snowstorm. Many of the Camerons had only just arrived at their start point. They were on the left and suffered severely from machine gun and artillery fire in the vicinity of Lone Copse. Nevertheless they reached Monchy and dug in on the north side, but had lost all but four of their officers in the attack. The artillery was unable to support them, because the terrible conditions on the ground made it impossible to bring up the guns. By this time the Division was exhausted and was relieved during the night – but Duncan was dead.
Duncan was killed on 11th April 1917 aged 27. He has no known grave and is remembered on the Arras Memorial at the Faubourg-d’ Amiens Cemetery and also on the Cawdor War Memorial.
William Douglas from Presley, 8887 Sergeant, 6th Queens Own Cameron Highlanders.
William was born on 4th August 1891 to Jane Douglas in the Nairn Poor House. He is recorded on the Memorial as being from Presley.
He joined the Cameron Highlanders in Inverness in 1910 as a regular soldier and served in India and France.
Three months after Duncan Clark was killed at the Scarpe, the 6th Battalion Cameron Highlanders was back at Ypres and in the front line at the Battle of Pilckem Ridge, the start of the Third Battle of Ypres. On 31st July 1917 the allied forces attacked along the whole length of the Salient from Boesinghe in the North to Le Gheer in the South behind the newly perfected “creeping barrage”. The 15th Division attacked at 3.50am and made good progress through Frezenberg and on. The 45th Brigade including the 6th Camerons was in reserve, but at 9.00am they began their advance through the first assaulting brigades and pushed on through to the final objective, the Green Line, which was reached at 11.25am, but not before both the Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel J C Russell and his adjutant were killed. The Camerons fought on without orders of any kind for some considerable time. The ground over which this advance of some 2,000 yards was made was a mass of shell holes and progress could only be made by walking round the greasy rims of the shell holes with the constant risk of falling into the water and mud and drowning. They were subjected to continual counterattacks from the enemy and were forced back from the Green Line toward the end of the day. The Battalion had shown tremendous bravery in making their advance and had suffered grievously. In the afternoon of 31st July it began to rain. This terrible weather was to bedevil operations during the rest of the Battle.
William was posted as wounded and missing on 31st July 1917 aged 25. He was captured by the Germans and held as a prisoner of war. He died of his wounds on 4th August 1917 and was buried in Winkel St Eloi Cemetery by the Germans. He was subsequently re-buried at Harlebeke New British Cemetery, Plot I, Row D, Grave 12.
By the time of his death his mother was living at 19 Simpson Street in Nairn.
John Durrant, from Dava, 200264 Private, 7th Queens Own Cameron Highlanders.
John Richard Daniel Durrant was born in Hackney, London on 6th January 1889 to John and Emma Durrant. He had three sisters. His mother died in 1893 and the family were left in very poor circumstances, which came to the attention of a church social worker, who had some contact with the Aberlour Orphanage.
In October 1895 John and his younger sister Annie travelled on their own by train up to Aberlour in the care of the guard. John was aged six at this time.
John stayed in the Aberlour Orphanage from 1895 to May 1904. In the 1911 Census he was boarding at Glenferness Mains and working for William Falconer as a Farm Labourer.
John joined up in 1914 at Kingussie in the 4th Battalion Cameron Highlanders. He embarked for France on 2nd February 1915. He later joined the 7th (Service) Battalion Cameron Highlanders.
In August 1917 the 7th Battalion Cameron Highlanders were part of the 44th Brigade attached to the 15th Division. The 44th Brigade was heavily involved in the third battle of Ypres. August was unusually wet that year and conditions were grim, the Brigade was involved in several unsuccessful attacks against Beck, Borrie and Gallipoli objectives. After fierce fighting on preceding days, the 24th August was a quieter day with both sides reorganising and re-equipping, and the 7th Camerons came out of the line, but John died on that day, aged 28.
He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial Panel 136 – 138. He is also remembered on the Aberlour Orphanage Memorial as well as the Grantown War Memorial and the Laggan War Memorial.
Lachlan Fraser from the Lurg, 426540 Private, 13th Canadian (Quebec) Regiment.
Lachlan was born on 27th May 1881 at Edinkillie. He was the sixth of nine children born to John and Margaret Fraser. In the 1891 Census, John Fraser was living at the Lurg, apparently on his own. Lachlan’s mother, Margaret, died in 1889. In that Census Lachlan was living with his grandfather, Alexander Findlay and Aunt Betsy at Craigend, Dallas along with three of his siblings. Grandfather Alexander died in 1892 aged 86.
By the 1901 Census, father John Harper Fraser was still living at the Lurg, with John aged 30 his eldest son, now married to Flora, aged 28. There is no sign of Lachlan in this Census. By 1911 John and Flora were living at the Lurg with a boarder and John Harper was living at Craigroy.
Meanwhile Lachlan had emigrated to Canada and was a farmer. He enlisted in the 13th Infantry Battalion, the Canadian Regiment at Regina Saskatchewan in June 1915. This Battalion was called the Royal Highlanders of Canada (The Black Watch).
On 27th June 1916 Lachlan had been on active service for just ten days. The Battalion had moved up from Dominion Lines to Sanctuary Wood. It was a wood in name only, following two appalling battles in the area. The trenches they were occupying were numbers 53 to 58 and were badly damaged and the Battalion was working hard to repair them. A diary records that the place was “a grisly horror and evil omen. At 4am on 27th June the enemy loosed off one of those famous shoots for which this part of the line was famous. Guns of all calibres were used and caused great damage to the Highlanders front line and support.” The bombardment lasted one hour and twenty minutes. Three officers and 26 other ranks from the Battalion were killed that day, of which Lachlan was one.
Lachlan fell on 27th June 1916 in the Ypres Salient, aged 35. He has no known grave and is remembered on the Menin Gate at Ypres on panel 26:28:30. He is also remembered on the Dallas War Memorial.
George James Grigor from Drumine, S17017 Private, 7th Seaforth Highlanders.
George was born on 7th June 1884 at Rafford, the eldest of three children born to Alexander and Jessie (nee Garrow) Grigor. They lived at Dykeside, Rafford where Alexander was a Farm Labourer.
George was a shepherd and was conscripted into the 7th (Service) Battalion Seaforth Highlanders at Fort George on 14th December 1917. Three months later he was at the Front, a frightening contrast to the life of a highland shepherd.
The 7th Battalion Seaforth Highlanders were in the 26th Brigade, 9th (Scottish) Division. The Division was in almost continuous action from 21st March 1918 and throughout April, fighting determinedly to try to stem the German Spring Offensive, but they were forced to retreat in the face of superior force. In particular the Division’s protracted defence of Wytschaete played a vital role in blunting the German offensive, codenamed Georgette, at the Battle of the Lys. During all this time the Division never gave ground as a result of a frontal assault by the enemy, but only had to withdraw when out-flanked. They received a congratulatory message from Sir Douglas Haig for this “great gallantry”. After a month’s rest, the Division was back in the line again in front of Meteren at the end of May. Throughout June and the first half of July the Division continually probed the German lines to capture prisoners and cause disruption. It is likely that George was killed in one of these raids or by the sporadic shelling which took place during this time.
George fell on 1st July 1918 aged 34 and is buried in Caestre Military Cemetery. Plot I, Row D, Grave 23.
Evan McBain from Lower Ardoch, 355489 Private, 9th Highland Light Infantry.
Evan was born on 20th May 1895 at Kinloss, the second of four sons born to Ewen and
Annie Stewart McBain. In 1901 the family was living at 59c North Road, Forres and Ewen was working as a Wood Cutter.
In 1911 Evan was living with his grandparents, Alexander (aged 73) and Margaret McBain (aged 72) at Lower Ardoch, Dunphail and was helping to work his grandfather’s croft. His mother had died in Forres in December 1901. His father, Ewen married his second wife, Catherine, in June 1905 in Forres.
Evan originally joined up in Forres in the Seaforth Highlanders in August 1914 where his number was 1438, but then joined the 9th (Glasgow Highlanders) Battalion, The Highland Light Infantry. He was wounded in 1915 and again in 1916.
On 22nd September 1917, the Battalion was at Clytte Camp, south of Ypres. On 23rd September they moved up to Kruistraathoek. On the 24th the Battalion went into the front line near Polygon Wood. They had great difficulty moving up through a heavy hostile barrage and ground made unrecognisable by huge shell holes. Communication with the front line relied on runners and pigeon post, because all telephone lines were severed.
On the 25th September at about 5.30am the enemy barrage renewed and the Germans attacked on a front of about two miles. The Highland Light Infantry broke up this attack on their front and drove the enemy back with Lewis gun and rifle fire, except on their right where the enemy gained a footing in the Queen’s strong point. The Battalion lost several men and had several captured.
Evan was killed during this engagement on 25th September 1917. He was 22 years old. He has no known grave and is remembered on the Tyne Cot Memorial on Panel 131.
Malcolm McBain from Lower Ardoch, 2247 Private, 6th Queens Own Cameron Highlanders.
Malcolm was Evan’s younger brother, born on 9th January 1897 to Ewen and Annie (nee Stewart) McBain at Kinloss.
By 1911 Ewen, now aged 40 had been married to his second wife Catherine aged 23 for five years and was living at Crowhall at Dyke where he was a Cattleman. The couple had an adopted daughter aged eight months and Malcolm was still at school.
By the start of the War, Malcolm was employed as an engine cleaner at Aviemore and joined up in Inverness into the 4th Battalion Cameron Highlanders on 1st February 1915.
By August 1916 he was in the 6th (Service) Battalion Cameron Highlanders, which was in the 45th Brigade, the 15th Division commanded by Major General McCracken. After the Battle of Pozieres, the Division came into the line in front of Martinpuich on 5th August. They were involved in several successful attacks to capture enemy trenches including the Switch Line and the Intermediate Line. The Intermediate Line was finally captured by 45th Brigade on 30th August. It is likely that Malcolm was mortally wounded in one of these attacks by a gunshot wound to the head.
Malcolm died of his wounds on 1st September 1916 aged 19. He probably died in either the 36th or 38th Casualty Clearing Station. He is buried in Heilly Station Cemetery, Mericourt-L’Abbe in Plot IV Row B Grave 11.
By the time of his death his parents were living at 174E High Street in Elgin and Malcolm is remembered on the Elgin War Memorial.
William McBain from Berrylea, 6618 Private, 4th Seaforth Highlanders.
William Henry McBain was born in Kinloss to John and Ann McBain. He was the fifth of nine children born to the couple. The family moved to Forres, where they were living in Urquhart Street in 1881. John was working as a farm servant. By the 1891 Census, the family had moved to Kilnflat, Rafford.
By the 1901 Census, William had left home and was working for John Falconer at Marcassie Farm, Rafford as a cattleman. John and Ann were back living in Forres at Chapeltown.
In 1911 William McBain is recorded as working as a cattleman for Andrew Wilson at Cooperhill Farm near Conicavel.
William died in a military hospital in Newhills Aberdeenshire on 18th December 1916. This hospital in Bucksburn was a centre for the treatment of tuberculosis. He is buried in Auldearn parish Churchyard and commemorated on the Edinkillie Memorial as being from Berrylea. His parents had been living at New Arr Farm, Auldearn since the 1911 census. Ann died in May 1918.
He is also remembered on the Auldearn war memorial.
(William McBain has been difficult to trace accurately, but the above story seems to us to be the most likely)
David McColl from Conicavel, 1009742 Private, 1st Canadian Motor Machine Gun Brigade.
David was born on 21st December 1888. He was the third of eight children born to John and Henrietta McColl at Conicavel School House.
David left for Canada on the “Numidian” from Glasgow and arrived in Montreal on 27th June 1907. He travelled second class and said his destination was Ayr, Ontario.
By the Census of 1911, David was living in Moosejaw, Saskatchewan and working as an Assistant Storekeeper and was living in lodgings. He enlisted in the 1st Canadian Motor Machine Gun Brigade in Moosejaw in May 1916.
The 1st Canadian Automobile Machine Gun Brigade was the first fully mechanised unit of the British Army in 1914. It was also known as Brutinel’s Brigade. The unit played a significant part in halting the German Offensive in March 1918 and was one of the elite units of the Army. It was equipped with Autocar Armoured Cars mounted with Vickers Machine Guns.
In late September 1918 the Brigade saw action in the Battle of Canal du Nord before being moved north to the Citadel/Arras zone. The Brigade was then in constant contact with the enemy from 2nd to 11th October 1918 as the Allies advanced. It was during this fighting that David was fatally wounded.
He suffered gunshot wounds to his shoulder and abdomen and died of these wounds on 6th October 1918 at No 33 Casualty Clearing Station. He was 27 years old when he died. He is buried in the Bucquoy British Cemetery in Plot III Row D Grave 20. By the time of his death his parents were living in Musselburgh at West Holmes Gardens.
Two of David’s brothers also served in the war. James and William were both invalided home.
William Maben Macdonald from Darnaway, 202721 Private, 4th Seaforth Highlanders.
William was born on 19th May 1884 at Lochalsh to John and Agnes (nee Maben) of Duncraig, Plockton. He was the seventh of nine children born to the couple. Father John was a forester. By 1901 William was living with the family at Rhumore in Ross and Cromarty and was working as a cattleman.
William married Jessie Miller on 25th June 1915 at Craigmill, Dallas. Jessie’s father, John was a miller there. William was Head Gardener at Darnaway Castle by that time.
He was called up at Forres on 10th August 1916 to the 4th Battalion Seaforth Highlanders.
The 4th Battalion was attached to 154th Brigade, the 51st Highland Division. At the beginning of April 1917, the Division was poised to attack at the start of the great battle of Arras in support of the disastrous French Nivelle offensive. The Division was given the objective of capturing the south shoulder of Vimy Ridge. On the 7th April 1917 the 4th Battalion moved up into the front line from Ecurie on a bright day, under intensive shelling from the enemy’s heavy guns. At 5.30am on the 9th April the Battalion was ordered to attack the German trenches on Vimy Ridge, which were held by seasoned Bavarian troops. They had the Canadians on their left, whose objective was the summit of the ridge. The Seaforths attacked in three waves and captured the first trenches and pressed on despite meeting continuous stiff opposition from the enemy. The Battalion captured one hundred and sixty seven of the enemy, two machine guns and six trench mortars and achieved their objectives. However during that morning they lost 6 officers and 59 other ranks killed, including William Macdonald, and in addition, 162 men were
wounded or missing. By 11th April, when the Division was relieved, Vimy Ridge was in Allied hands, thus depriving the enemy of excellent observation points, while also giving the Allies a good view over the plain to Douai and beyond, but the cost to the 51st Division was very high.
All of the Canadian Corps was in action in this Battle and were responsible for the capture of the summit of the ridge, Hill 145. The Canadian Divisions suffered over 3,500 killed in this Battle. The success was attributed to very heavy and accurate artillery support before and during the battle, tactical innovation and extensive training.
William was killed on the first day of the Battle of Arras on 9th April 1917 aged 32 years. He is buried at Nine Elms Military Cemetery, Thelus, V.A.17.
After his death Jessie, his widow, was living at 143B High Street Forres.
Donald Macdonald from Relugas, S/40629 Corporal, 7th Gordon Highlanders.
Donald was born at Dava on 12th May 1890, the sixth of eight children born to James and Isabella Macdonald of Rychorrach, Dava. This croft lies to the west of the main road across Dava from the Jesus Saves stone. Isabella was brought up at the next door croft of Crannich.
Donald was a farmer and joined up at Glenferness in August 1914 in the 1/7th Battalion Gordon Highlanders, a Territorial Battalion. He served in the Dardanelles and in France.
The 7th Battalion Gordon Highlanders was in the 153rd Brigade, the 51st(Highland) Division. In April 1917 they were heavily involved in the Arras Offensive at the Second Battle of the Scarpe. The Division took over the front line between Fampoux and the River Scarpe on 16th April. This was a very dangerous area in full view of the enemy, who subjected the Division to heavy and savage bombardment, while they prepared for the attack. Donald was wounded here on 18th April 1917.
Donald Macdonald died of his wounds at a base hospital on 5th May 1917 aged 27 and is buried in the Etaples Military Cemetery Plot XIX Row O Grave 12.
Alastair John Greville Murray from Relugas, 2nd Lieutenant, 1st Queens Own Cameron Highlanders.
Alastair was born on 22nd July 1894 in Edinburgh. He was the only son of Major Alexander Bruce Murray, Laird of Touchadam and Polmaise, near Stirling, who had married Mary Stephenson in 1890. Major Alexander’s mother was Elizabeth Bruce. The family owned Relugas Estate. His death and his link to Relugas were confirmed in the announcement of his death in the Evening Telegraph of 21st September 1914.
Alastair went to Winchester and became a House Prefect. He is commemorated on the memorial there. He entered Sandhurst in 1913 and was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant in the 1st Battalion Cameron Highlanders on 25th February 1914. The Battalion left for France on 14th August 1914 and Murray’s D Company was initially allocated to escort duties for Douglas Haig. On 11th September they rejoined their Battalion.
After the Battle of the Marne, the Germans retreated northwards and dug in on elevated ground immediately to the north of the River Aisne. This marked the end of the ‘war of movement’ and the beginning of trench warfare. The British and French crossed to the north bank of the Aisne, but found themselves at the foot of steep slopes surmounted by well prepared German positions. Alastair almost certainly fell in one of the many uphill assaults made on 14th September on the Chemin des Dames, a road of about 14 miles in length, running along a narrow ridge overlooking the Aisne. His D Company was given the objective of taking the sugar factory between Troyon and Cerny. He died of his wounds on 14th September 1914 aged 20.
There is a floor plaque in his memory in Holy Trinity Scottish Episcopal Church in Stirling as well as the Edinkillie War Memorial. He is also commemorated on the La Ferte sous Joarre Memorial and he is remembered on the Cambusbarron Memorial outside the Bruce Memorial Church. He is buried in Mountcornet Military Cemetery Row L Grave B. His death ended more than four hundred years of male line of succession and his sister Mary Elizabeth inherited the family estates. She married Claud Archibald MacKenzie Bruce Hamilton, 13th of Barns and Cochno in 1916.
Hugh McLeod from Dunphail, 266351 (or 3424) Private, 6th Seaforth Highlanders.
Hugh was born on 12th August 1892 at Creich, the son of Hugh and Sally McLeod from Benmore Lodge, Sutherland. He was the eldest of their five children. Father Hugh was a gamekeeper at Benmore.
Hugh was employed as a gamekeeper at Dunphail and enlisted in the Seaforth Highlanders in Forres in September 1915.
The 6th Battalion Seaforth Highlanders were heavily involved in the Arras Offensive from the start on 9th April 1917. This offensive was planned to support the disastrous French Nivelle Offensive. The 6th Battalion was in the 152nd Brigade, the 51st (Highland) Division in the XVII Corps commanded by Lieutenant General Sir Charles Fergusson. On 9th April they attacked the German trenches near the village of Roclincourt. Their objective was to capture the first three lines of trenches to the Black Line, which they did successfully, but at great cost. The Battalion lost 9 officers and 320 men in the opening phase of the battle.
A number of the Battalions of the Seaforth Highlanders were in action on this day. It is here, near where the 2nd Battalion suffered terrible losses at Fampoux (93% casualties), that the Celtic Cross War Memorial was erected after the war in memory of the 8,432 men of the Seaforth Highlanders, who gave their lives in the Great War.
The Seaforth Highlanders Memorial near Fampoux
The 23rd April saw the start of the Second Battle of the Scarpe, a phase of the First Battle of Arras and the 6th Seaforths were temporarily attached to the 153rd Brigade. Savage fighting took place around the Chemical Works with attack and counterattack. The Brigade was relieved on the night of 24th/25th April, all except for the Seaforths, who had not been relieved by dawn and so had to spend a further day in the front line, during which Hugh was killed, another casualty of the bloody Second Battle of the River Scarpe. He was 24 years old.
He has no known grave and is remembered on the Arras Memorial at Faubourg-d’ Amiens Cemetery, Arras in Bay 8.
John McTavish from Carnoch, 204075 Private, 5th Queens Own Cameron Highlanders.
John was born on 17th July 1898 at Rinachat, Aberlour the son of John and Mary Ann (nee Christie). The family moved to the Smithy at the Carnoch, Dunphail when he was nine months old. He was the second of five children living. A sixth child had died.
He was an apprentice blacksmith and volunteered in Forres in August 1915 aged 17, probably into the 3/6th Seaforths, number 3266 and then 404405 RE before ending up in the 5th Battalion Cameron Highlanders.
It is likely that he was in action through the battles of the Somme, Arras and Third Ypres with the 26th Brigade, 9th (Scottish) Division.
Since 21st March 1918 the Battalion had been in almost continuous action in the face of the German Spring Offensive and had been involved in the stemming of the offensive and the attack on Meteren. By September 1918 the tide of the war had turned decisively in favour of the Allies. The Fifth Battle of Ypres, the Advance of Flanders was fought in late September and early October 1918 and recaptured all ofthe land and more that had been fought over the year before in Third Ypres and lost during the German Offensive in early 1918.
On 20th September the 26th Brigade took over the front between the Ypres to Menin and the Ypres to Zonnebeke roads. An attack was planned for 28th September with zero hour at 5.25am. The Camerons were in reserve. That morning the rain was falling in sheets. The attack was successful against demoralised enemy troops and the Camerons pushed on through the first lines to achieve their objective by 11.30am. The 29th September saw further advances with the Camerons assisting the Belgians in the capture of Morslede. There was a pause on 30th September. The rain continued to fall and the roads were very difficult and clogged with Belgian artillery limbers and other traffic. It was proving to be very difficult to bring up ammunition and rations for the advancing troops. The conditions on the ground were so bad that 15,000 rations were delivered to the troops by parachute from British and Belgian aircraft. The Division continued its assault on 1st October but got ahead of the support on the left, where the Belgians failed to continue the attack and on the right, where the 36th Division was held up. The Camerons, who were in reserve, were ordered to form a defensive flank on the left of the Division between them and the Belgians. This they did under murderous machine gun fire from the enemy. The pressure on the flank steadily mounted and by 11.00am the Camerons were obliged to retire to the Menin – Roulers railway after suffering severe losses. An enemy breakthrough was prevented, but as so often an opportunity for a more significant advance had been lost due to an inability to bring up supplies, ammunition and fresh troops under very difficult conditions. Nevertheless the Division had advanced nine and a quarter miles since 28th September and had crossed the Passchendaele ridge to the edge of a landscape unscarred by war. Over the next few days the enemy counterattacked strongly but were unable to breakthrough, John McTavish and many comrades in arms paid dearly with their lives.
John was killed toward the end of this advance when German reinforcements arrived and began to counterattack. He died on 3rd October 1918 aged 20, just three weeks before the Battalion was withdrawn from the line for the last time before the Armistice. He is buried in Dadizeele New British Cemetery at Morslede in Plot VI. D15.
Frederick Mathieson from Newton, S/31641 Private, 6th Queens Own Cameron Highlanders.
Frederick was born in about 1885 to Roderick and Ann Mathieson who lived at Craigroy, Ardclach. He was the fifth of six children born to the couple.
In the 1901 Census, Frederick was 16 years old and living at Bogeney and working as a Cattleman for John and Amelia Macdonald. He is remembered on the Memorial as being from Newton.
In 1911 Frederick emigrated to Canada with his older brother Donald. They left from Glasgow on board the “Hesperian” and arrived in Montreal on 6th November 1911.
On 18th March 1913 Frederick crossed from Toronto to Buffalo in the USA, and stated that he was a gardener. He gave his “departure contact” as Annie Dunphail. He enlisted into the 6th Battalion Queens Own Cameron Highlanders in New York. It is likely that he did this to avoid being conscripted into the US Army, like a number of others at this time.
The 6th Battalion Cameron Highlanders were attached to the 45th Brigade in the 15th (Scottish) Division. In March 1918 the Division faced the German Offensive, Operation Michael at the start of the last major enemy offensive of the war. Operation Mars was the second phase of this battle, which started on 28th March. This was also called the First Battle of Arras, a phase of the Battle of the Somme 1918. The Germans were seeking to take advantage of the fifty Divisions, which they had moved from the East following the collapse of the Russians, and to strike before the Americans could bring their full power to bear on the Western Front. By the 28th March German forces had already advanced 40 miles into British lines in a week. But the land over which these battles were fought was the same ground that had been torn apart in the 1916 Battle of the Somme and by the German Army in its retreat to the Hindenburg Line in 1917. It was devastated and of little strategic importance. On 28th March the German Army changed the focus of its attack and 29 divisions attacked the Third Army, which included the 6th Battalion Cameron Highlanders, at Arras. The Camerons were in the centre of the front line and fought desperately throughout the day, whilst being driven back by a vastly superior enemy force. By the end of the day the Third Army held and had saved Arras and the German offensive was blunted, but Frederick was killed.
He fell on 28th March 1918 aged 33. His residence at the time of his death was given as Broughty Ferry. He has no known grave and is remembered on the Arras Memorial at Faubourg d’Amiens, Bay 9.
Douglas Morrison from Tomcork, 16315 Deck Hand, Royal Navy.
Douglas was born in Fraserburgh on 11th October 1898 to James and Jane (nee Davidson) Morrison, who were married in Fraserburgh in 1885.
He was employed at Tomcork from 1911, where his brother Patrick was also living. When he enlisted in the Royal Naval Reserve at Blackpool in May 1917, he gave his next of kin as Patrick Morrison of Tomcork, Dunphail, although his father was still alive in 1923. Douglas joined HM Drifter Excel as a deck hand at Yarmouth in October 1917 aged 19. He was involved in minesweeping duties in Home Waters. He survived the War, but on 18th December 1918 he was reported as seriously ill with appendicitis in a General Hospital in Trouville in France. He was later transferred to RN Hospital at Haslar, where he died on 10th January 1919 from appendix abscess, empyema and peritonitis.
He is buried in Plot E38.9 in the Haslar Royal Naval Cemetery.
David Munro from Berryburn, 202770 Private, 8th Seaforth Highlanders.
David was born on 5th June 1892, the eldest of seven children born to Alexander and Annie Munro of Berryburn. The family lived at Lower Corshellach at the time of the 1901 Census. By 1911 they were living at Lower Berryburn (Little Berryburn was uninhabited) and David was working on the family croft.
He joined up in the Seaforth Highlanders in Elgin in October 1914. David would have fought in all the major battles of the war from Loos in September 1915 through to his death in July 1918.
The 8th(Service) Battalion Seaforth Highlanders were in the 44th Brigade, 15th (Scottish) Division. In July 1918 the Division, now commanded by Maj. General Reed, was committed to the counterattack at the Second Battle of the Marne after the failure of the last major German offensive of the War. The Division attacked Buzancy, which was captured by the 8th Seaforths on 27th July. They attacked at 12.30pm, the enemy’s lunchtime, supported by a fearsome two minute barrage and within half an hour had captured Buzancy. However German reinforcements counterattacked strongly. The French 91st Regiment on their left had made no progress. The Brigade found itself outflanked and outnumbered and was driven back. It is likely that David was wounded during this action.
The 15th Division, which had been in action almost continuously since Loos in 1915, considered this battle the most gruelling of all their battles during the war. But the Second Battle of the Marne turned the tide of war decisively in favour of the Allies.
David died of his wounds on 29th July 1918 aged 26 at No 63 Casualty Clearing Station and is buried in the Senlis French National Cemetery in Plot II Row A Grave 37. He is also remembered on a memorial stone in the Edinkillie Churchyard.
David’s younger brother Sandy, who was born on 15th May 1898, also served as a Private in the Seaforths in France and was wounded on 1st August 1917, but survived the war.
Andrew Munro from Glenernie, 27861 Private, 4th Cameronians (Scottish Rifles)
Andrew was born on 13th May 1877 at Dunphail the son of William and Elspeth (nee Watson) Munro of Glenernie. By the 1901 census, he was 24 years old, working as a foundry labourer in Larbert and living with the Dinwoodie family. By 1911 he was back living with his mother and Elsie Dinwoodie, both widows, at Wester Glenernie and he is recorded as being the Crofter and single.
By the time he enlisted in Elgin, he was living at the Broom of Moy and was married to Helen (nee McKenzie).
He died, probably of Spanish Flu, although diagnosed as pneumonia, in Glasgow on 13th December 1916 aged 40 years. He is buried in the Churchyard at Edinkillie.
George Munro from Glenernie, 242006 Private, 6th (City of Glasgow) Highland Light Infantry.
George was born on 14th February 1880 at Dunphail and was also the son of William and Elspeth (nee Watson) Munro of Glenernie.
In the 1901 Census he was 21 and living in the Castle Gardeners Bothy in the Parish of Inverkip, working for the Macintosh family.
When the War started, he was married to Mary Hyslop and they lived at 70 Crosby Road, Troon. He was a gardener. He enlisted in Ayr in September 1916.
He died in hospital in Ireland on 17th June 1917 aged 37 and was buried in Oldcastle Cemetery, County Meath.
The workhouse in Oldcastle was being used as an internment camp for Germans and Austrians during the war. In 1916 there were 578 internees in the camp and it is likely that George was involved in looking after them.
The 6th Battalion Highland Light Infantry was evacuated from Gallipoli in Jan 1916 to Mudros due to severe casualties from both action and disease. It went from there to Egypt where it remained until April 1918. It is likely that George was transferred from the 6th Battalion to one serving on the Home Front.
John Munro from Lochanuan, 1000 Private, 2nd Seaforth Highlanders.
John was born on 14th February 1894 in Forres to Alexander Munro and Annie Cruickshank.
In 1901 he was living with his grandparents, John and Jessie Cruickshank, at Drumcroy in the parish of Cromdale.
In 1911 John was working as a farm servant at Lochanuan. He enlisted in Grantown in February 1912 in the 2nd Battalion Seaforth Highlanders as a regular soldier.
He landed in France on 23rd August 1914.
In April and May of 1915 the 2nd Battalion Seaforth Highlanders was engaged in the 2nd Battle of Ypres in trenches at Wieltje to the North East of the town. In late April and early May they suffered from some of the earliest German attacks using chlorine gas. John was caught in the gas cloud.
He died of the effects of the gas on 4th May 1915 aged 21. It is likely that he died at one of the Casualty Clearing Stations at Hazebrouck. He is buried at Hazebrouck Communal Cemetery.
Lachlan Nicol from Sleawhite, S/17374 Private, 1st Seaforth Highlanders.
Lachlan was born at Sleawhite, Altyre in June 1886 to Lachlan and Mary (nee McTavish). He was the third of six children born to the couple. In 1901 Lachlan (father) was 60 years old and Mary was 40.
By 1911 he was a Horseman on the Dunphail Mains Farm. He married Annie Duncan, a widow of Glassfield at Edinkillie Manse on 20th November 1915. They lived at Diviebrae, Dunphail.
He was conscripted into 1st Battalion Seaforth Highlanders in Elgin on 13th December 1916 and served in India, Egypt and Palestine.
The 1st Battalion was in the 19th Brigade in the 7th (Meerut) Division. The Battalion was in Mesopotamia in 1916 and was involved in many battles including the capture of Bagdad in March 1917. They moved to Palestine landing in Suez in January 1918.
The Battalion took part in the battle of Sharon against the Ottoman army in September 1918. This was the first phase of Allenby’s battle of Megiddo, which led to the final offensive in Palestine and the pursuit to Damascus, which was entered on 1st October 1918.
Lachlan was wounded on 20th September 1918 in the battle of Sharon and died on 24th September aged 32, a week before the end of the war in Palestine. He is buried in Ramleh War Cemetery in Ramla, HaMerkaz, Israel, Plot C Grave 27.
John Ramsey from Woodside, 40773 Private, 2nd Royal Scots Fusiliers.
John Bowie Taylor Ramsey was born in Edinkillie on 6th May 1890 the fifth of six children born to Alexander and Jane Ann Barron Ramsey, who lived at Woodside.
He was married to Elsie Taylor on 14th February 1914 in Kingussie. They had three children together. Their first, a daughter was born on 24th February 1914. John was a saw-miller and was living at Porter Lodge, Kinrara. He attested as Private 16875 into the Army Reserve B under the Derby Scheme on 11th December 1915 in Kingussie, aged 25. He was called up and posted to the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders in July 1916. He crossed to France on 9th October 1916 and was posted to the 2nd Royal Scots Fusiliers on 21st October 1916. His number was 40773.
At the Battle of Arras, the 2nd Battalion Royal Scots Fusiliers were in the 30th Division on the southern fringes of the great battle at its start on 8th April 1917. At 2.00pm on 9th April the Battalion took up position to the south of Mercatel and awaited orders. The weather deteriorated and the dramatic progress of the early stage of the battle came to a halt in snow, sleet and mud. On 10th April the 2nd Battalion was transferred to Corps reserve where they stayed until they came into the line on 19th April and occupied a portion of the Hindenburg Line south of the river Cojeul. On 23rd April the Battalion attacked the high ground overlooking Cherisy in the Sensee valley. They advanced on a two company front at 4.45am but were immediately caught and checked by a terrific machine gun barrage. At 6.00am the enemy counterattacked but were held. At 9.00pm the remnants of the Battalion were withdrawn to reserve having suffered fifty per cent casualties, including Lieutenant Colonel M.B. McConaghey, their commanding officer and Private John Ramsey.
John was killed on 23rd April 1917 aged 26. The personal possessions returned to his wife included his Testament, handkerchiefs, knives, a comb, a pocket book and some correspondence. Elsie received a pension of 26 shillings and 3 pence per week for herself and three children from November 1917. John has no known grave and is remembered on the Arras Memorial at Faubourg- d’Amiens Cemetery at Arras in Bay 5.
Alexander Robertson from Dunphail, 55838 Lance Corporal, 5th Highland Light Infantry.
Alexander was born at Newmachar, Aberdeenshire on 22nd June 1898 the eighth of nine children born to Adam and Margaret Robertson. They lived at Stoney Cadles, Newmachar, where Adam was a blacksmith.
Alexander was employed at Dunphail as a gardener for fourteen months before he was called up in Elgin in February 1917 aged 18 into the 1/5thBattalion, The Highland Light Infantry (HLI) and became a Lance Corporal.
He served in Egypt and France.
The 1/5th (City of Glasgow) Battalion HLI, a Territorial Battalion, was in Egypt from February 1917. Alexander was wounded here in February 1918 during the advance through Beersheba and Jaffa to Jerusalem. He had recovered sufficiently to embark with his Battalion for France on 11th April 1918 on H.M.T Omrahand. They arrived in Marseilles on 17th April and proceeded from there to St Valery sur Somme for equipping and some training, before going into the third line at Vimy on the night of the 8/9th May to be confronted by the terrible devastation of previous battles. A relatively quiet spell ensued until 16th August when the Battalion moved up to Chateau de la Haie. On 23rd August they reached Ficheux (known to the troops as Fish Hooks) at about 11.00pm. At 2am on 24th August orders were received for an attack on the Hindenburg Line that day. Despite a very heavy barrage, the wire in front of the line had not been destroyed and the Battalion suffered heavy casualties from intense machine gun and trench mortar fire. At 12.15 the assaulting troops withdrew to their old line. It is likely that Alexander was one of 15 members of the battalion killed during this action.
Alexander was killed on 24th August 1918 aged 20. He has no known grave but is remembered on the Vis-en-Artois British Cemetery on Panel 9 and 10. The Memorial bears the names of 9,000 allied servicemen who died between August and November 1918 and have no known grave.
Alexander C Rose from Darnaway, 1876 Lance Corporal, 6th Seaforth Highlanders.
Alexander was born at Urquhart near Dingwall in about 1896, the son of William and Mary Rose, who lived at Craigran, Glenmoriston. William was employed as a Forester. Alexander was the eldest of five children born to the couple.
In 1901 the family was living at 36 Innes Street, Inverness, where William was a Foreman Clerk at the Bobbin Mill.
By 1911 William was the manager of the Bobbin Mill and son Alick was 15 and employed as a Mill Hand.
After the start of the War, Alexander was living at Darnaway and serving his apprenticeship as a forester on the estate.
He was called up in Forres in 1916. He joined the 6th Battalion Seaforth Highlanders in the 152nd Brigade, 51st(Highland) Division.
The Battalion had arrived in France in May 1915 and began moving up to the Somme on 15th July 1916. By 22nd July they were bivouacked at Fricourt Wood about three miles from High Wood. On 26th July they moved forward to reserve positions at Mametz Wood. Here they were heavily bombarded with gas shells. On the 30th July, following another costly attack on High Wood by the Division, the Seaforths moved forward to support positions and spent a very uncomfortable night in shallow trenches and shell holes before moving forward to relieve the 153rd Brigade in trenches close to the ruins of Bazentin- Le-Grand. Alick was one of a large number of casualties for the Division in this battle. He was killed by a shell.
Alexander fell on 30th July 1916 aged 20 and is buried in Caterpillar Valley Cemetery, Longueval, Plot XV, Row G, Grave 31.
Thomas Rose from Dounduff, S/7703 Corporal, 2nd Seaforth Highlanders.
Thomas was born at Darnaway on 9th December 1882 the third of four children born to Hector and Jessie Rose (both had died by the end of the war). They lived at Dounduff Lodge.
In 1901 Thomas was 18 years old and a Forest Worker, taking after his father and living with his parents.
Thomas married Helen Clark of Westmoreland Street, Fochabers at 77 High Street, Elgin on 13th July 1906. At this time he was an estate labourer on Darnaway estate and was living at Conicavel.
By 1915 he was a police constable in Lossiemouth. He joined up there on 8th March 1915 in the Seaforth Highlanders.
The 2nd Battalion was a regular battalion in the 10th Brigade, 4th Division, VIII Corps in the 4th Army and was one of the first divisions to be sent to France in 1914. They were involved in all the major actions throughout the war. In July 1915 the 4th Division was one of the first to move down to the Somme from Ypres where it took over the line in front of Beaumont Hamel from French troops. This was considered a quiet sector compared to the Salient. The Division remained here until just before the Battle of the Somme, when they moved up to Redan Ridge. Thomas was wounded in this so-called quiet sector in March 1916.
Thomas was Mentioned in Despatches.
He died of his wounds at Doullens on 31st March 1916 aged 34. He is buried in the Doullens Communal Cemetery, Extension 1, Plot I, Row E, Grave 5.
On the first day of the Battle of the Somme, Drummer Ritchie from the 2nd Battalion was awarded the Victoria Cross for his outstanding bravery on that day. This was one of two Victoria Crosses awarded to men of the Battalion in the War – the second was to Lieutenant Macintosh at Fampoux in April 1917.
John Shand from Ramphlat, 37772 Private, 10/11th Highland Light Infantry.
John was born in Grantown to William and Mary Shand on 14th August 1876, the fourth of five children born to the couple.
In 1881 he was living with his parents at Ramphlat, Rafford
By 1891 he was living and working as a Farm Servant at Moss Side, Logie with John and Margaret Wight.
He married Catherine Drysdale (or Young), a widow, 36 years old from Castlemains, Gifford, East Lothian on 12th September 1913 in the parish of Lasswade.
By the start of the War, John was living at North Berwick. He enlisted at Glencorse Barracks in the 10/11th Highland Light Infantry.
In February 1918 the Battalion was moved from the 15th Division to the 120th Brigade, 40th Division, VI Corps of the Third Army, when the Army was reorganised.
The 120th Brigade saw very heavy action in the German Spring Offensive of 1918, particularly at the battle of St Quentin on 22nd – 23rd March, part of the First Battle of the Somme 1918.The German Offensive, Operation Michael, began in thick fog on the morning of 21st March with an attack along a very wide front. The Germans broke through the Forward Zone of the Third Army and made significant advances into the Battle Zone. The second day of the offensive again began in thick fog, which persisted into the afternoon. It was a day of stubborn and heroic resistance by platoons, sections and even individuals often isolated from their comrades. It was during this day that John was killed. The German advance continued into April until it was finally checked at the 2nd Battle of the Marne. Although the Germans had advanced some forty miles they had gained none of their strategic objectives. But losses on both sides were horrific.
John was killed on 22nd March 1918 aged 41. He has no known grave and is remembered on the Memorial at Rumaucourt Communal Cemetery.
David Stirling from Relugas, S/1961 Lance Corporal, 7th Seaforth Highlanders.
David was born in Fintray, Aberdeenshire on 6th May 1879 to Isabella Smith. His father was William Stirling, who was a woollen weaver.
In 1881, David was living with William Stirling and Isabella Smith with four other children with the surname Stirling and two with the surname Smith at 3 Cothalmill Row, Fintray, Aberdeenshire.
By 1891 William and Isabella were married and were living with nine children in the house at Lamington, Easter Logie in Rosshire.
In 1901 David was living with William and Isabella, along with five other siblings at Lamington. The names and ages of the children appear to vary over these three census records, but David’s age is consistent throughout the record. He was 21 in 1901.
David married Isabella Wilson and they lived first at Carnoch and then at Craigroy Farm, Dunphail.
Before the war David worked on Relugas Estate. He joined up at Fort George on 28th August 1914 in the Seaforth Highlanders and served in the 7th Battalion.
Throughout the War the Battalion was in the 26th Brigade, the 9th (Scottish) Division. The Battalion landed in France in May 1915, and was in action at Loos in 1915. In 1916 they were in action at the Somme including the capture of Longueval, the Battle of Delville Wood and the Battle of Le Transloy. In 1917 they fought in the First and Second Battles of the Scarpe during the Arras Offensive. David is likely to have fought in all of these battles, but was taken ill and died as his Battalion was preparing for the Third Battle of Ypres. Conditions at the time were appalling, with torrential rain, gale force winds and cloying mud, which made movement well nigh impossible. Many men fell seriously ill due to the terrible and unsanitary conditions in which they had to exist.
David died of enteritis at No 10 Stationary Hospital, St Omer on 13th October 1917. He is buried in Longuenesse Souvenir Cemetery Plot IV, Row E, Grave 42.
John Pirie Tulloch from Longlea, 8825 CSM, 2nd Seaforth Highlanders.
John was born on 12th May 1883 at Pluscarden, son of Jane Tulloch. The court established his father to be John Moir, ploughman in 1884.
Jane married William Pirie in December 1889. John was a farm servant at Longlea Farm in 1901. He enlisted at Fort George in 1904 as a regular soldier into the 2nd Battalion Seaforth Highlanders.
By October 1916, the 2nd Battalion was attached to 4th Division of the XIV Corps, 4th Army. They were engaged in the Battle of Le Transloy on the Somme, where the 4th Army repeatedly attacked German positions throughout the month of October. Little ground was gained and conditions were dreadful. The troops were living in knee deep mud, eating cold food and were permanently soaking wet. They became exhausted just getting to the front lines. John was killed in one of these attacks south east of Ginchy on 23rd October 1916, aged 33. His posthumous MM was gazetted on 11th November 1916. He died on the same day as Robert MacRae, also a regular soldier, from Dyke parish.
He is buried in the Guards Cemetery at Lesboeufs. He is also commemorated on the Forres War Memorial.
Press reports at the time of his death refer to him as J.M. Tulloch Pirie, son of Mrs W.J.T Pirie, 29a North Road Forres, “a loving and noble soldier”.
In addition to the names commemorated on the Edinkillie War Memorial, two other men are remembered in the Edinkillie Cemetery but are not included on the Memorial.
James Macdonald, Lieutenant, 72nd Battalion The Seaforth Highlanders of Canada
James was born to David and Mary Nicol Macdonald, who lived at Refouble on 1st August 1877. By 1881 he was living at Ardclach, Nairn.
He emigrated to Canada, where he married Jean Macdonald and they lived at Point Grey, Vancouver. He was a grocer.
He served in the 72nd Battalion British Columbian Regiment (The Seaforth Highlanders of Canada) and was awarded the Military Cross.
He was killed on 2nd September 1918 aged 41. On that day he was in action in an attack south of Mount Dury against the Hindenburg Line. At 8.00am he was leading his Platoon in front of the Drocourt – Queant line and Buissy Switch and about 200 yards south of the Arras to Cambrai road when he was killed instantly by an enemy machine gun bullet. On that day his Battalion achieved all its objectives and occupied the part of the Hindenburg Line, which lay in front of them.
He is buried in Tigris Lane British Cemetery. He is remembered on a memorial stone in Edinkillie Churchyard.
Lewis Alexander Anderson, 1638 Private, 6th Seaforth Highlanders.
Lewis was born to Alexander and Jessie Younie Anderson, who lived at Limekilns on Altyre Estate on 30th April 1896. He was the third of five children born to the couple.
In 1901 they lived at Greens Cottage on Altyre.
He was an assistant forester on Altyre Estate and joined up in Forres in March 1914 in the Seaforth Highlanders.
When the 6th Battalion left for France in May 1915, Lewis had to stay behind in Bedford, where the Battalion had been billeted before they went on active service, because he was ill. He died at Bedford County Hospital on 3rd June 1915 aged 19 from double pneumonia. He is buried in Edinkillie Cemetery.
His great friend Kenneth McKenzie was also a forester at Altyre before the War and he died of his wounds in France three days later on 6th June 1915. Kenneth is remembered on the Rafford War Memorial.
Lewis’s older brother George joined the Royal Navy in August 1914 and was Chief Petty Officer on HMS Engadine, a seaplane tender, serving in the North Sea and the Mediterranean and survived the war.
The Men from the Parish of Dyke.
The Dyke War Memorial is a sandstone lynch gate to the cemetery. A recess on the arch depicts a sword and the wreath of victory. It was unveiled in August 1922 by Lady Eleanor Brodie. The Memorial commemorates nineteen young men who went off to the Great War from the Parish of Dyke and never returned home.
Francis Adam, J.48012, Signal Boy, Royal Navy.
Frances Adam was born in Croy, Inverness-shire on 25 September 1899, the eldest son of George and Helen Adam. In the 1901 Census,Francis was living with his parents at Easter Little Croy in Inverness-shire. During the early 1900’s,the family moved to Dyke Village and Francis was educated in Dyke together with his four siblings. Father George was employed by the County Council as a general worker. Prior to the outbreak of war, Francis worked as a farm servant. Both he and Henry Mitchell from Dyke joined the Royal Navy at Lossiemouth in November 1915, when Francis had just turned 16 years old (Henry was not yet 16). The two young lads have consecutive military numbers and both served together, latterly on HMS Vanguard from 15 November 1916 until their deaths. HMS Vanguard was a St Vincent Class dreadnought, first commissioned in March 1910 and was in the First Division of the Home Fleet. She took part in the Battle of Jutland, before Francis and Henry joined her.
HMS Vanguard was anchored in Scapa Flow on 9th July 1917, when at 23.20 the ship was destroyed by an explosion. A court of inquiry later attributed the tragedy to the internal explosion of faulty cordite held in either P or Q magazines. Of the 845 men on board, only three survived. In terms of loss of life, this was one of the most catastrophic accidents in the history of Great Britain and one of worst accidents for the Royal Navy.
The site of the wreck, north of Flotta, is designated as a war grave. Francis is also remembered on the Plymouth Naval Memorial.
Douglas Edward Brodie, Captain, 3rd Queens Own Cameron Highlanders.
Douglas Brodie was born at Brodie Castle on 27 August 1873, the fourth son of Hugh, Brodie of Brodie, and Lady Eleanor Brodie. In 1881 Douglas was living in the Castle with his parents and Uncle Caithness and six of his seven siblings. Also living in the Castle were seventeen staff. Hugh died in September 1889
Douglas was educated at Winchester College, attending school there from 1887 to 1892. In 1897 he joined the British South African Company in London and for the next 18 years was closely connected with development work in South Africa. He rose within the company to Joint Assistant Secretary and then Secretary of the Company. He also acted as Joint Secretary to the Rhodes Trust for a time and Secretary to the Rhodesia and Mashonaland Railway Company and the African Trans-Continental Telegraph Company. In 1911 he was living with his Uncle and Aunt, Caithness and Elizabeth Brodie in Putney.
In July 1914, he embarked on a journey to Rhodesia, returning to Britain in June 1915. On his return, he joined up at Invergordon and was commissioned in the Cameron Highlanders. He was promoted to the rank of Captain just a few days before his death in action on 17th August 1916. At the time of his death he was attached to the 1st Battalion Cameron Highlanders. In August 1916 the 1st Battalion was part of the 1st Brigade, in the 1st Division and was involved in several attacks on High Wood on the Somme at the Battle of Pozieres. Douglas was killed in one of these attacks. He was 42 years old when he died. The local newspaper noted that ‘he was the most unassuming and modest of men, of unfailing industry and devotion to duty but his kindly humour, his great charm of manner and his keen human sympathies earned for him the very real affection of the large staff of which he was the head, and also of the Company’s officials in Rhodesia’.
He is buried in Plot XI.C.12 in Caterpillar Valley Cemetery in Longueval, France. He is also remembered on the Highland Society of Inverness Memorial situated in the Town House in Inverness.
An older brother, Alastair, had been killed at Magersfontein, South Africa during the Boer War. Another brother, Ian, served as a Major in the Lovat Scouts in the Dardanelles, Egypt and Palestine and was awarded the Military Cross. A younger brother, Duncan, served as a Captain in the Scots Guards in France, and was also awarded the Military Cross. Both Ian and Duncan survived the war. His sister, Vere, served as a VAD in France between 1915 and 1917 and as a Unit Administrator with the Queen Mary Army Auxiliary Corps from 1918.
David Calder, 975 Private, 6th Seaforth Highlanders.
David Calder was born at Gollanfield, Petty on 23 August 1894, the son of George and Isabella Calder. He was the second of three children born to the couple and their only son. In the 1901 census the family lived at Rafford, but by the end of the war his parents were living at Hawthorn Cottage, Dyke. In the 1911 census, David was living with John Forbes and was employed as a ploughman on the Fernielea Farm, Rafford.
David enlisted in the Seaforth Highlanders as a Territorial in February 1911. He was mobilised with his Battalion and arrived in France on 5th May 1915. The 6th Battalion Seaforth Highlanders was part of the 152nd Brigade, 51st Highland Division (named as such from 11th May 1915). When it arrived in France, the Division was only partially trained, but nevertheless was thrown straight into the line. The 2nd Division attacked at Festubert on the 16th May and advanced about 600 yds. The Highland Division, including the Seaforths, relieved them on the night of 19th May and was given the extremely difficult task of clearing the battlefield and consolidating the position. This was made more difficult because it was only possible to dig in to the depth of a couple of feet because of the water level in Flanders. Breastworks were therefore required to give better protection from enemy fire. But these are easily damaged even by small arms and machine guns and required a great deal of maintenance. In addition there was little protection provided in a newly won position by barbed wire or covered ways. This was a terrifying introduction to life in Flanders for a newly arrived soldier. On 15th June the Brigade was again in the front line at Givenchy, although not part of the main assault. The Battalion was involved in giving covering fire for the 5th Seaforths who were attacking on the right. The attack went in at 6.00pm and was initially successful. But eventually the attacking troops were forced to retire due to lack of ammunition and reserves. The 6th Battalion suffered badly at the hands of the German artillery, which bombarded the trenches for three hours. They suffered 140 casualties that day of which 29 were killed including David.
He died on 15 June 1915, aged 20. He has no known grave and is remembered on the Le Touret Memorial.
Roderick Campbell, 203264 Private, 6th Seaforth Highlanders.
Roderick Campbell was born at Mains of Coulmony, Ardclach on 25 April 1890, the son of Roderick and Bella Campbell. In the 1901 Census, the family lived at Little Fortnighty, Ardclach where his father was a shepherd. Later they moved to Forres, where they lived at the Suspension Bridge. By 1911, Roderick was working as a shepherd in Perthshire. He joined up at Fort George in January 1916.
On 21st March 1918, the Germans, reinforced by divisions from the East, unleashed Operation Michael. The 6th Battalion Seaforth Highlanders was part of the 152nd Brigade, 51st Highland Division, in the Third Army. The Division was heavily engaged in the fighting when the Germans broke through the British lines. The Battalion was moved up from reserve positions to hold the Beaumetz to Morchies line. The Seaforths fought off many attacks, but were heavily outnumbered and came under increasing pressure, but still held firm and played a crucial role in stemming the German advance. But gradually the British line was being forced back and the Seaforths with it. On the morning of 24th March, amid considerable chaos, the 152nd Brigade took up position in shell holes in front of Riencourt defending Bapaume. They were now past all the prepared trench lines and in open country. For the rest of the day the Brigade was engaged in very heavy fighting and was involved in a continuous rearguard action through Bapaume, as the Germans advanced.
During this chaotic battle Roderick was first reported as missing and then as killed on 24th March 1918. He was 27 years old. He has no known grave and is remembered on the Arras Memorial.
William Cheyne, S/13372Private, 2nd Seaforth Highlanders.
William Cheyne was born at Greenside, Blackhills, Elgin on 3rd February 1885, the fourth of six children born to Charles and Elizabeth (nee Hood) Cheyne. In the 1901 Census, William was living with his family at Millbuies and was working as a butcher’s assistant. In 1910, he married Mary Archibald at Garmouth and in the 1911 Census, he and his wife were living in the Keeper’s Cottage at Bankhead, Dyke. William was by then working as a gamekeeper on the Brodie Castle estate. He had two sons, Charles who was born in 1912 and Arthur born in 1914.
William was called up at Fort George in June 1916. From September 1916 he served in France as a regimental stretcher bearer. The First Battle of the Scarpe opened on 9th April 1917, and the British, including the Seaforth’s and Canadians made good progress up to the Hindenburg Line and captured Fampoux as the Germans withdrew. A further attack on Roeux was planned for 11th April, but despite a very heavy barrage, the wire in front of the Hindenburg Line remained intact. Worse, the artillery could not see the German machine guns so as to target them accurately. The Seaforths attacked very bravely against a large number of well dug in machine guns. The attack was a costly failure. Of the 432 Seaforths who went into the attack 12 Officers and 363 men were casualties by the end of that day. It was in this attack that Lieutenant Donald Mackintosh of the Battalion was awarded a posthumous VC. William was a stretcher bearer and was reported wounded and missing on 11th April 1917. By June 1917, it was reported that he had been killed on that date. He was aged 31 at the time of his death. He has no known grave but is remembered on the Arras Memorial, the Elgin and Urquhart War Memorials.
It was near Fampoux that the memorial to the 8,432 Seaforth Highlanders, who gave their lives in the War, was erected after the end of the War (Picture on page 19).
William was one of five brothers. His youngest brother, John, served as a Private in the 4th Cameron Highlanders and was killed at Festubert on 17 May 1915 aged 25. His brother, James, served as a Sergeant in the Canadian Cavalry and died of wounds in April 1918 aged 34. Both brothers are remembered on the Elgin War Memorial.
John Darnley, 1655 Private, 6th Seaforth Highlanders.
John Darnley was born at Kintrae, New Spynie, Elgin on 27 October 1896, the third of five children born to Andrew and Margaret Darnley. In 1901, the family lived in Ploughman’s House, Covesea Village, near Lossiemouth. By 1911, the family was living at Loanhead, Dyke. Before the war, John worked as a forester’s apprentice.
He joined the 6th (Territorial) Battalion Seaforth Highlanders in Forres in February 1914 and went to France with them in May 1915. He was wounded in the left leg at Festubert in July 1915. By March 1916 the Brigade had moved to the Labyrinth sector on the southern edge of Vimy Ridge, north east of the village of Maroeuil. The rotation for each battalion was six days in the front line, six days in support, six more days in the front line, followed by six days rest in billets. On the 16th April 1916 a mortar bomb landed in a dugout, killing four men, including John and wounding sixteen others. John was 19 years old when he died.
He is buried in Plot I.C.3 in the Maroeuil British Cemetery near Arras in France.
John’s elder brother, Andrew, had emigrated to Australia in 1913 where he worked as a farmer in Victoria. He enlisted in February 1916 in Melbourne and served as a Private in the Australian Infantry Force. He was twice wounded – in February and October 1917 but survived the war. His younger brother, William, served in France as a Private in the 6th Seaforths and also survived the war.
Duncan Garden, Flight Cadet, Royal Air Force.
Duncan Garden was one of three sons of Norman and Jessie Garden to die in the war. Duncan was born at Gollanfield on 17 June 1899, the youngest son in the family. In 1901, they were living at Gollanfield Mains, Petty, where Norman was a farmer. Norman and Jessie separated in 1904 and divorced in 1909. By 1911 Duncan and his brothers were living with their elder sister, Annie at 25 South Guildry Street, Elgin. Jessie was living at Tearie near Forres using her maiden name of Scott.
Duncan joined the Royal Flying Corps at the age of 17 in Edinburgh where he was studying science at the University of Edinburgh, and was also a member of the Officer Training Corps. He was killed in an aeroplane accident at Thetford, Norfolk on 24 July 1918 whilst training as a Cadet in the Royal Air Force aged 19. An inquiry was held following his fatal accident and it was reported that he had gone up in a plane with a brother officer, who found that Duncan’s capabilities were quite satisfactory in every way. He afterwards went up on his own and made a successful take off and landing. On a further solo flight, a piece of wing broke and the plane crashed. He is buried in Plot 2029 in the Cluny Hill Cemetery in Forres.
In Moray, he is remembered on the Elgin and Forres War Memorials and the Elgin Academy Memorial. He is also remembered in the University of Edinburgh Roll of Honour.
The eldest son, Archibald, enlisted in the Royal Navy in 1911 and survived the war. He served in the Mediterranean and the North Sea. He was mentioned in dispatches and awarded the Russian Cross of St George.
Norman Macleod Garden, S/3039 Private, 7th Seaforth Highlanders.
Norman was born on 27 October 1897 at Gollanfield, Petty. He was the fourth of five children born to Norman and Jessie Garden and was Duncan’s older brother. Before the war, he worked as a forestry apprentice. He was well known as a powerful swimmer, winning prizes at local regattas
He joined up at Forres in September 1914.
Norman was in the 7th Battalion, Seaforth Highlanders, 26th Brigade, 9th (Scottish) Division and went to France in May 1915. On 25th September, the first day of the battle of Loos, the Brigade was given the job of capturing the Hohenzollern Redoubt. They were to attack through smoke laid down by mortars. The Seaforths made straight for the Redoubt and captured the southern part of it. They suffered heavy casualties but had accomplished the task very bravely. But Norman was killed in the attack.
He died on 25th September 1915 aged just 17 years old. He has no known grave and is remembered on the Loos Memorial, the Elgin and Forres War Memorials and the Elgin Academy Memorial.
At the time of his death, his father was living in Bernera Cottage in Dyke and his mother was living at Tearie.
James Scott Garden, Cadet, Canadian Royal Air Force.
James Garden was born on 9 April 1896 at Gollanfield, Petty, the second son of Norman and Jessie Garden and older brother to Norman and Duncan. Prior to the war, his occupation was that of an overseer in a sugar plantation. He enlisted in Toronto in June 1918.
Four months later, on 16 October 1918, he died of pneumonia following influenza at the Base Hospital in Toronto, aged 22. He is buried in Section X.945 of Toronto Necropolis. He is remembered on the Elgin and Forres War Memorials and also on the Elgin Academy Memorial.
Thomas Petrie George, 300084 Private, Royal Army Medical Corps.
Thomas George was born at Whitemire, Darnaway on 16 October 1888, the third son of Alexander and Mary George. By 1901, the family was living at Logie–Buchany, where Alexander was an estate mason. By the 1911 Census, Thomas was living in Inverness with two of his sisters, and was working as a railway porter. He enlisted in Inverness in September 1915.
He was attached to the East Anglian Field Ambulance when he died at Citadel Military Hospital in Cairo, Egypt on 12 October 1918, aged 29. He is buried in Plot 0.281 in the Cairo War Memorial Cemetery.
Two brothers served during the war. Alexander enlisted in the Lanarkshire Yeomanry in May 1915. He served in Egypt and France. John enlisted in December 1915 in the Scots Guards. Although wounded, both brothers survived the war.
William Thomas Laing, 6857 Gunner, Australian Imperial Force.
William Laing was born in Findhorn on 9 April 1886, the fourth of five children born to Robert and Barbara Laing. By 1891, the family was living at Newton of Dalvey, where Robert was working as a salmon fisher. They subsequently moved into Dyke Village. By 1901 William was lodging with the McDonnells’ in Aldourie Pier, Dores and was working as a sawmill worker. By 1911 he was back in Dyke living with his mother and working as a forester. After this he emigrated to New South Wales, Australia and lived near Bathurst where he was a farmer.
William enlisted in Bathurst, New South Wales, in October 1916. He
left Australia on 8th November 1916 on HMAT SS Port Nicholson, arriving in England in January 1917. He went to France in April 1917 and was posted to the 3rd Australian Infantry Battalion, 22nd Reinforcement AIF on 23 April 1917. Just over two weeks later, William was killed in action on 7 May 1917 near Bullecourt, aged 31. The Australians lost over 7,000 casualties in the second Battle of Bullecourt in front of the Hindenburg Line between 3rd and 16th May 1917. The Australians fought bravely but for little gain against the defences of the Hindenburg Line.
William has no known grave and is remembered on the Australian National Memorial at Villers- Bretonneux, Panel 37.
William Laing had two brothers who served and who survived the war. His younger brother, James, enlisted in the Royal Navy in April 1917 and served in home waters. His older brother, Robert, enlisted in the Army Service Corps in January 1915 and served in France.
Henry Mitchell, J.48911 Signal Boy, Royal Navy.
Henry Mitchell was born in Dyke on 26 December 1899, the youngest of six children born to John and Isabella Mitchell (the Morayshire Roll of Honour erroneously cites his date of birth as 1895). His father was a mole catcher in Dyke. The family first lived in the Establish Manse, before moving into Dyke Village. Prior to enlisting, Henry worked as a forester.
He joined the Royal Navy at Lossiemouth in November 1915, not yet 16 years of age, alongside Francis Adam, also from the village. During their period in the Navy, both served together, latterly on HMS Vanguard, from 15 November 1916 until their deaths.
HMS Vanguard was anchored in Scapa Flow on 9 July 1917, when at 23.20 the ship was destroyed by an internal explosion. A court of inquiry later attributed the tragedy to the internal explosion of faulty cordite held in either P or Q magazine. Of the 845 men on board, only three survived. In terms of loss of life, this was one of the most catastrophic accidents in the history of Great Britain and one of worst losses in an accident in the Royal Navy.
The site of the wreck north of Flotta is designated as a war grave.
Henry is also remembered on the Plymouth Naval Memorial.
He had two brothers who served – both survived the war. John Mitchell enlisted in 1903 as a regular soldier in the Scots Guards, he fought in France in 1914 and was taken prisoner at Mons. His brother, William, enlisted in November 1914 in Forres and served in France as a Sergeant in the Royal Army Medical Corps and Royal Engineers.
Archibald Mitchell, 266827 Private, 2nd Seaforth Highlanders.
Archibald Mitchell was born on 12 May 1896, one of eleven children born to James and Elizabeth Mitchell, of Park of Asleisk, in the parish of Alves. In the 1901 Census, the family was living at Ellands Cottage, Auldearn, where James was a farm worker. By the 1911 Census, the family was living at Burnside, Glenferness, with seven of their nine surviving children. James was a ploughman and Archibald was a farm worker.
Prior to enlisting, Archibald worked as a farm servant at Bruntland, Orton near Fochabers. He enlisted at Fort George in the 2nd Battalion Seaforth Highlanders.
He served in C Company of the 2nd Battalion in the 10th Brigade, 4th Division. At the end of September 1917 the Battalion was in action at Polygon Wood, the second phase of 3rd Ypres when he was wounded. He died of his wounds in hospital on 1 October 1917, aged 21, and is buried in Plot I.B.5 in Cement House Cemetery, Langemark near Ypres, Belgium. He is not included in the Morayshire Roll of Honour.
At the time of his death, his family lived at Crowhall Farm in Dyke.
His brother William served with the Australian Forces in France and fought at Gallipoli.
George James Morrison MC, Captain, 9th Royal Scots and 6th Seaforth Highlanders.
George Morrison was born at Brodie on 30 January 1893, the youngest of five children born to John and Margaret Morrison. In the 1891 Census, the family lived at the Keeper’s Lodge at Brodie. In the 1901 Census, they lived at The Kennels, Brodie. By 1911, George was working as a law clerk. Prior to his enlistment in Edinburgh in 1915, he was working as an estate factor’s assistant in Blair Atholl. He married Aenea Fraser there on 17th July 1916.
George was commissioned Lieutenant in the 6th Battalion Seaforth Highlanders in January 1916. As part of the 51st Highland Division, the Battalion fought in most of the major engagements for the rest of the war. In April 1918 George was by now Captain and the Battalion was involved in the Battle of the Lys, trying to stem the German offensive – Operation Georgette. On the morning of 9th April they were ordered to La Couture by bus. On arrival they took up defensive positions in the village. At 12.50 the Battalion was ordered forward to fill the gap created by the Portuguese who were in retreat. They were ordered to hold the line of the Canal de la Lawe. The Germans were able to gain a foothold over the canal, because the Royal Engineers failed to completely demolish the footbridge over the canal. These were particularly grim days and the fighting was fierce and continuous. During this desperate struggle George was wounded. He died of his wounds at No 23 Casualty Clearing Station, Les Lobes Vieille Chapelle on 11 April 1918, aged 25. He was mentioned in dispatches and was posthumously awarded the Military Cross. A newspaper report on his death indicates that an officer in his company stated ‘we have nothing finer on all our records than George Morrison’s work on 9 and 10 April’.
He is buried in Plot VII.C.5 in Lapugnoy Military Cemetery.
His elder brother, John, was also killed during the war, and is also remembered on the Dyke War Memorial.
John Morrison, S/5181 Lance Corporal, 1st Black Watch.
John Morrison was born in Tomintoul on 14 November 1885, the son of John and Margaret Morrison and brother of George. In the 1891 Census, the family lived at the Keeper’s Lodge at Brodie, where father John was Head Keeper on the Brodie Estate. By the age of 15 John was working as a gamekeeper at Rafford. Prior to his enlistment in Perth on 7th September 1914, he worked as a gamekeeper near Coupar Angus.
He went to France in November 1914 with the 1st Battalion Black
Watch, 1st Brigade, 1st Division. He was promoted to Lance Corporaljust two days before his death at La Bassee on 25 January 1915, aged 29. On that date his regiment was involved in heavy fighting,
attacking La Bassee, north of Cuinchy. He was wounded in the leg,
and a comrade wrote that despite this he went to the aid of his
officer, 2nd Lieutenant L.H Willet, who was also wounded. He was
helping him to remove his pack when John was mortally wounded. 2nd Lieutenant Willet said “some gallant fellow crawled up to me shortly after I was hit and attempted to assist me off with my pack, but owing to the nature of my wound, I was unable to turn my neck sufficiently to see who it was. I heard he was hit and asked him if it was so. He replied “Yes, Sir”. When I enquired later, I received no reply but could just touch his hand by reaching back and found he was dead…. He was one of my most valued men. His end was a gallant one, and his was a peaceful end to a career, which, had he been spared to prolong it, he could have looked back on with justifiable pride of one who has done his work well.”
The Battalion lost 50 men killed and 161 wounded on this day.
The circumstances of John’s death were reported in the local press where it was stated that although wounded in the leg, John crawled to the assistance of a wounded officer. He was in the act of helping this officer when he was fatally shot. His parents later received a letter from a sergeant in the regiment, which said that John had died ‘a hero’s death’.
John has no known grave and is remembered on the Le Touret Memorial.
Roger MacKenzie, 202756 Private, 8th Seaforth Highlanders.
Roger MacKenzie was born on 6 August 1894 at Moy Carse, Forres, the fourth of seven children born to Hugh and Annie MacKenzie. In the 1901 and 1911 Census, the family was living at Moy Carse, where Hugh was recorded as being a salmon fisher. In 1911, Roger was living with Patrick and Mary Hendry at Tomcork, Edinkillie where he worked as a farm servant.
By the time he joined up in Elgin on 9 September 1914 he was working at Seafield, Forres. Roger was wounded in April 1917. He married Margaret French in Auldearn in July 1917.
Having fought all through the war, Roger died of pneumonia at 54th General Hospital, Boulogne on 1 May 1918, aged 23, and is buried in Plot IX.B.12 in Boulogne Eastern Cemetery.
He had two elder brothers who served during the war. David served as a Private with the Seaforth Highlanders. Hugh served as a Gunner in the Royal Field Artillery. Both brothers were wounded during their war service but survived.
Robert MacBeth MacRae, 9174 Sergeant, 2nd Seaforth Highlanders.
Robert MacRae was born at Island, Earnhill, Dyke on 18 November 1885, the third of four children born to Farquhar and Jane MacRae. In the 1901 Census, he was living with his family in Dyke Village. Farquhar was a shepherd.
Robert enlisted in the Seaforth Highlanders at Fort George on 16th March 1905 and as a regular soldier, he served in India before the war. He is noted in the 1911 Census as serving with 1st Battalion in India. A reservist at the outbreak of war, he was working in Tomintoul in the postal service when he was called up in August 1914.
He went to France with the 2nd Battalion on 23 August 1914. They were part of the 10th Brigade, 4th Division. He was wounded and gassed in April 1916. During October 1916, the Division was committed at the Battle of Le Transloy. The weather was dreadful and hindered progress in all aspects of the battle. A final attack was made on the 23rd October, which was a costly failure and Robert was killed at Lesboeufs, on the Somme on this day, aged 30. He died on the same day and in the same battle as John Pirie Tulloch fromEdinkillie.
He has no known grave and is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial in France.
His older brother, Donald, enlisted in Dunblane in June 1915 and served as a Private in 1st Highland Light Infantry in France and Mesopotamia. Although gassed and wounded in France in 1917, he survived the war.
David McCheyne Rait, 12277 Corporal, 6th Gordon Highlanders.
David Rait was born in Dyke on 9 January 1891, the son of David and Elizabeth Rait – one of three children. In the 1891 Census, the family lived at the Establish Manse in Dyke. By the 1901 Census, the family was living at Easter Hardmuir, where David’s father was a farmer. By 1911, the family was back in Dyke Village and father David was a mason. Before the outbreak of war, David worked for his father as a mason.
He joined up in Forres in October 1914 and went to France in early September 1915. He was in the 6th Battalion Gordon Highlanders, 152nd Brigade, 51st Highland Division. In June 1916 the Division moved into the Neuville St Vaast sector. This was a particularly unpleasant sector,
overlooked by enemy observation posts on Broadmarsh Crater. The weather in June was very cold. This combined with continuous work on trench construction and frequent mine explosions and bombardments was very wearing for the men, who had to spend twenty one days out of twenty eight in the trenches. The opposing sides were very close to one another and there was a fierce exchange of bombs and rifle grenades at frequent intervals and constant threat of attacks from the enemy. It was in these very unpleasant conditions that David was killed on 11th June 1916, aged 25.
He is buried in Plot I.H.4 in the Maroueil British Cemetery.
His younger brother, Alistair, joined the Royal Army Medical Corps in Forres in September 1914 and served in France and Belgium.
Robert Sutherland, 202765 Private, 4th Seaforth Highlanders.
Robert Sutherland was born at Tearie, Dyke on 16 April 1898, the fifth son of John and Elizabeth Sutherland and the youngest of seven children. By the 1901 Census, the family was living at Blervie, Forres. In the 1911 Census, the family was back in Dyke Village. Prior to his enlistment, Robert worked as a gardener.
He joined the 4th Battalion Seaforth Highlanders in Forres in November 1914, despite being under the age for foreign service. He probably did not go to France until 1916. By this time the 4th Battalion Seaforth Highlanders were in the 154th Brigade, the 51st Highland Division, where they remained
for the rest of the War. The Battalion had a relatively quiet time in 1915 and 1916 despite spending considerable time in the trenches. In 1917 they were in the forefront of the Battles of Arras and Cambrai. July 1918 saw the high watermark of the German Spring Offensive with the front line back on the Marne where it had been in 1914. On the 19th July the Division was moved to a position south of the River Ardre near Epernay, to an area so far largely untouched by war and was deployed with Divisions of the French 10th Army. The move up to the jumping off point for the attack was considerably hampered by the lack of French guides and poor maps. The Battalion was not assembled at the start point until 4a.m on 20th July. The first attack of the Battle of Tardenois began at 8.00am with the 4th Seaforths leading on the right of the Brigade, with the 6th Black Watch on the left. After some initial progress the Seaforths encountered very fierce resistance from extremely heavy machinegun fire from the enemy. The advance was checked and as result they lost touch with their barrage. Despite receiving reinforcements first from the 4th Gordons (who lost their CO Lt Col Bockmore, killed) and then the 7th Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, and despite repeated attacks by the Battalion, they were unable to make progress against the large numbers of enemy machineguns. The brigade suffered heavy casualties and it is likely that Robert died during one of these gallant attacks.
This battle turned the tide of war turned decisively in favour of the Allies but Robert was killed near Rheims on 20 July 1918, aged 20.
He is buried in Plot IV.G.8 in the Marfaux British Cemetery.
Two of his brothers served in the war. Alexander joined the Black Watch at Stirling in October 1914 and was wounded at Loos. William joined the Canadian Scottish Regiment in Winnipeg in January 1916. He was wounded at Cambrai. His sister, Lizzie, joined the Queen Mary Army Auxiliary Corps in February 1917 and served in France.
In addition to the names commemorated on the Dyke War Memorial, there is one Commonwealth War Grave in the churchyard at Dyke.
William Grant, 1875 Private, 6th Seaforth Highlanders.
William Grant was born at Hopeman on 2 May 1888, the son of James and Jessie Grant. From an early age he lived at Conicavel with his mother, grandmother and siblings. By 1911, he was living at Whitemire, Darnaway with his mother and younger sister. Employed as a forester on the Darnaway Estate, he enlisted in Forres in September 1914.
Although his service records have not survived, his inclusion in the supplementary section of the Morayshire Roll of Honour suggests that he served at home in the Seaforth Highlanders. He died of tuberculosis in Petty, Inverness-shire on 19 April 1919, aged 30.
He is remembered in the Morayshire Roll of Honour but is not included on any war memorial in Moray.