WHERE HAVE ALL THE FLOWERS GONE
- 1914 – 1918 –
GONE TO WAR – KEITH MACPHERSON
The Bugle call has sounded
And Britain’s gone to war,
Its clarion note has summoned
The troops from near and far
And in amongst the many
Who at the call must go
Are Trooper Sandy Hackensmit
And Hamish McIndoe.
Old Scotland has put many
Upon the field of fame
And never has she had to look
Upon her sons with shame,
Their fighting name is famous
Wherever they may go
But none were ever braver
Than Hack and McIndoe
So when the war is over
Right proudly will I stand
And wait at Comrie Station
To shake them by the hand
And waiting there expectantly
I hope that I will see
McIndoe a D.S.O. and Hackensmit V.C
This poem was written just at the start of the Great War about Hamish McIndoe and Sandy Crerar joining the Scottish Horse. Both served throughout the war but sadly Sandy Crerar (Hack) was killed at Fontaine-au-Bois, near Le Cateau, on the 4th November, 1918. The war ended one week later.
Sandy Crerar can be seen in this pre-war photograph.
Lieutenant John Manson Craig of Invergeldie can be seen in this pre-war photograph. He was awarded a Victoria Cross for bravery in Gaza, in Palestine.
During the First World War hundreds of men and women from Highland Strathearn were called up for “King and Country”. Many did not return. Those that did not come home again are remembered on the Comrie Memorial and even today are missed. Some forty men and one lady from our area died as a result of this conflict and many others, unrecorded, just died of a broken heart.
Alexander MacGregor recorded their names in his monumental book “The Parish of Comrie’s Part in The Great War 1914-1918. It is with special thanks to his daughter, Miss Jennie MacGregor, who allowed me to include the following significant extract from it. It makes for sad reading.
I have also, where possible included photographs of graveyards culled from Wikipedia and particularly the Commonwealth Graves Commission sites, with additional information found at the Scottish National War Memorial site. I felt this was appropriate as many people would have no idea where their relatives were buried other than somewhere in France, Belgium, Italy or Palestine. Hopefully, the photographs of these cemeteries may provide some comfort to their descendants even today.
Lieutenant David Erskine Boyle – 2nd Batallion, Lancashire Fusiliers – he was commissioned in 1909 and sent to France at the commencement of hostilities. He took part in the Mons retreat and killed in action on 26th August, 1914, at Le Cateau. He was a keen cricketer playing for Comrie on many occasions. His name is recorded on the memorial at La Ferte-Sous-Jouarre Cemetery in Seine-et-Marne.
La Ferte-Sous-Jourre Cemetery in Seine-et-Marne
Lieutenant Cecil Henry Dundas of Dunira – 1ST Battalion, The Welch Regiment – served in Cairo, Khartoum, India and Flanders. He died of wounds received after making a reconnaissance the day before on 20th February, 1915, at Ypres in France. Prior he had served in Cairo, Khartoum, and in India. He is buried at Ypres and his name is on the Menin Gate.
Ypres Town Cemetery Extension, Ypres, Belgium
Private James Hood of Culdees and Comrie – the 6th Black Watch. As a ploughman Jimmie had developed a steady, continuous tread behind a Clydesdale with a plough. When he was conscripted into the Army during the First World War the drill sergeant had an awful time getting him to march to “Left foot, Right foot.” After a period of frustration he used to shout at Jimmie, “Hay foot, Straw foot, Hay foot, Straw foot,” and it worked like a charm. Sadly the charm did not last long as Jimmie did not return from France being killed by a dum-dum bullet on 23rd June, 1915 in France when sandbagging trenches at night. He was buried at the Guards Cemetery, Windy Corner, Cuinchy.
Guards Cemetery, Windy Corner, Cuinchy
Private John Gorrie of Drummond Street, Comrie – Highland Light Infantry - he enlisted in September, 1914 and sent to France in June 1915. He was killed by a sniper on 12th July, 1915, in France. He was a stoker in the North British Railway Company in Glasgow. He was 21 years old and is buried in the Royal Irish Rifles graveyard near Laventie.
Royal Irish Rifles Graveyard, Laventie, Pas de Calais
Private David Carmichael of Dundas Street, Comrie – 10th Battalion, Australian Imperial Infantry – he enlisted in December, 1914 and was sent to Egypt in the spring of 1915 where he did police duty. He was then sent on to Gallipoli where he was killed on August 4th, 1915. He was 29 years old and a mason to trade. David was buried at the Lone Pine Tee Cemetery, ANZAC Cove in Turkey
Lone Pine Tee Cemetery, ANZAC Cove, Turkey
Lance-Corporal James Crerar, Comrie – 12th Battalion, Royal Scots – he enlisted in December, 1914, and was sent to France in May, 1915. He took part in the Battle of Festubert. Later he was killed around September 25th, 1915, at the Battle of Loos. James was an ironmonger to trade. He is listed on the Loos Memorial in the Pas de Calais region.
Loos Memorial in the Pas de Calais
Sergeant James Menzies Sidey, Melville Square, Comrie. Initially he served in the Crieff Company of the 6th Black Watch Territorials. Thereafter he enlisted in 1914 in the Rifle Brigade (Kitchener’s Army). He was sent to France in July 1915 in the 12th Battalion and was killed on September 25th of that year leading a charge at the Battle of Loos. He was a plumber and sanitary engineer to trade. He was 22 years old. He is remembered in the Ploegstreet Memorial in the Comines-Warneton, Hainaut, Belgium.
Ploegstreet Memorial in the Comines-Warneton, Hainaut, Belgium.
Private David McLaren, “Balmoral Cottage”, the Ross, Comrie – enlisted 8th Black Watch in August, 1914 and went to France in December, 1915. He was killed on 29th April, 1916, as a result of a gas attack in France. He was an agricultural worker. His name is recorded on the Loos Memorial.
Loos Memorial, Pas de Calais, France
Lieutenant George Chanley Littleton Dewhurst, Aberuchill – 1st Battalion, Rifle Brigade. He joined the colours in October, 1914 and was sent to France in January, 1915. He served in the Ypres salient taking part in the second battle of Ypres where he was wounded in April, 1915. On his return to service he was killed on the Somme on the 1st July, 1916. He was 24 years old and is buried at Serre Road cemetery, (No 2), Beaumont Hamel.
Lieutenant George Chanley Littleton Dewhurst
Serre Road Cemetery, (No 2), Beaumont Hamel.
Private James Miller McEwan of the Milton, Comrie – 7th Camerons (Locheil’s) – he enlisted in June, 1915 and sent to France later that year. He was killed at Loos and Hulloch when a mine exploded on 23rd May, 1916. He was a grocer and 24 years old. He is buried at Vermailles (should be Vermelles) in the Pas de Calais.
One of the Cemeteries in Vermelles, Pas de Calais, in France. This is the Quarry Cemetery
Private William (Billy) Mitchell, “Gould Cottage”, Comrie – 6th Black Watch. He enlisted in August, 1914 and was sent to France in August, 1915. He was killed around 30th July, 1916, at High Wood. He was a tailor and 23 years old.
Caterpillar Valley Cemetery, Longueval
Private John Campbell, Auchnashelloch, Glen Artney – 10th Battalion Scottish Rifles (the Cameronians) – he enlisted in September, 1914, and went to France in the spring of 1915. He was killed by a bursting shell on the 30th August, 1916, during the Somme, near Mametz, in France. He was a shepherd at Auchnashelloch in Glen Artney and Ardeonaig, Loch Tay.
Flatiron Copse Cemetery at Mametz
Private Robert Duncan Davidson, Comrie. He enlisted in Brisbane in September, 1915, in the 52nd Battalion Australian Imperial Infantry and was sent firstly to Egypt, and then on to France. He was killed at Moquet Farm, near Albert, in France on the 4th September, 1916. He was 36 years old and had been a teacher for a while at Comrie School. He is probably buried in the Australian Cemetery located at Villers-Bretonneux in Picardy in France.
Australian Cemetery at Villers-Bretonneux, Picardy
Lance-Corporal Alexander Goskirk Kemp, “Glasdale” Comrie – 6th Black Watch. As a Territorial he was mobilized at the outbreak of war. Due to illness he could not go to France with his regiment in May, 1915, but joined them two months later. He was killed when taking part in an attack on the German line on the 13th November, 1916 probably during the Battle of the Ancre. This battle concluded the fiasco of the Battle of the Somme which started on July 1st. 1916. He was 20 years old and had been a butcher.
Hunter’s Cemetery, Beaumont Hamel
Private Donald McCallum of Dunira – 6th Black Watch – he joined the colours in February, 1915, aged 17. He was sent to France in August, 1916, and he was killed at Beaumont Hamel on the 13th November, 1916. He was 18 years of age and had been a forester at Dunira. He was buried at Hunter’s Cemetery, Beaumont Hamel.
Hunter’s Cemetery, Beaumont Hamel
Private Hugh McBeath, Invergeldie – 12th Battalion, Royal Scots. He enlisted in Dundee in May, 1916. He was sent to France in December of that year and was killed at the Battle of Arras (Vimy Ridge) on the 9th April, 1917. He was a tailor to trade and was 36 years old and is buried at Tilloy–les-Mofflaines, Pas de Calais.
Tilloy British Cemetery Tilloy-Les-Mofflaines
Private James Alexander McIntosh, Aberuchill – 15th Battalion, Highland Light Infantry. He enlisted at age 31 in November, 1915, and was sent to France in August, 1916. He was wounded in April of 1917 and sent back to the UK. After convalescence he returned to France where he was again wounded subsequently dying on the 2nd October, 1917. He was a gamekeeper at Aberuchill. He died of his wounds and is buried in the Zuydcoote Military Cemetery in Northern France.
Zuydcoote Military Cemetery, Nord, France
Private Peter McArthur, “Gowanfield”, Comrie – 6th Black Watch – he initially enlisted with the Black Watch under the Derby scheme in 1916. Due to his age he served in the UK however, later, in 1918, he joined the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders and was sent to France in November, 1918. He was 37 years old and died of bronchial pneumonia in the 3rd Canadian Hospital in Boulogne in France. He was an insurance agent.
Major David Minden Dundas of Dunira – the 6th Militia Battalion of the Lancashire Fusiliers – eventually 17th (Loyal Regiment) Indian Infantry, Indian Army – he was a career soldier who joined the colours in 1898. He served in the South African War (the Boer War), saw service in the North Staffordshire Regiment in Bombay, and then transferred to the Indian Army. In July 1915 he returned to the UK and served in Warwickshire until September when he was sent to France, he was there till December of that year and then seconded to the East African campaign. He became ill and was invalided to India where he died, aged 37, in Madras, India on the 10th February, 1918, from exposure and strain while on active service in East Africa. He was unmarried and is buried in Dinapore No 3 Cemetery, Madras. His younger brother, Lieutenant Cecil Henry Dundas, was sadly killed at Ypres in 1915.
Private Robert McLaren – Scottish Rifles – The Cameronians – he enlisted in August, 1915 and was sent to France in the spring of 1916. In December of that year was sent to Egypt with his regiment. The ship taking them there, the “Ivernia” was torpedoed in the Mediterranean on New Year’s Day, 1917. He survived and later was returned to France where he was killed at Cambrai on September 28th, 1918. He was a baker to trade although employed as a capstan man with the Clyde Trust in Glasgow. He was 35 years old. His brother, James, was killed in the battle of Arras on 23rd March, 1918. Robert was buried in the Voormezeele Enclosure, No 3, West Vlaanderen, in Belgium.
Voormezeele Enclosure, No 3, West Vlaanderen, in Belgium.
Corporal Thomas Gilfillan – 6th Black Watch – he was sent to France at age 22 in May, 1915. He saw action at Beaumont Hamel and was later severely wounded at the Somme. He was sent home to recover. He rejoined his regiment as an instructor in Ripon and volunteered to return to France. He was killed during the last German offensive around the 21st March, 1918. It is sometimes known as the Kaiser’s battle. Thomas was a coal merchant and worked in Comrie with his father. He is buried at the Queant Road Cemetery, in Buissy.
Queant Road Cemetery, in Buissy.
Private James McLaren – Scottish Rifles – 9th Battalion, the Cameronians – he enlisted on the 23rd March, 1917, and was sent to France in July of that year. He was killed at the Battle of Arras on 23rd March, 1918, one year to the day he had enlisted! He was 24 years old and a stoker to trade with the North British Railway Company in Glasgow. His brother, Robert, was also killed later in the year on the 28th September, 1918. His name is listed in the Memorial at Pozieres in Picardy.
Memorial at Pozieres in Picardy
Private William McLure “Lechkin”, Comrie – 7th Black Watch – he enlisted on March 15th, 1915, and was sent to France in July, 1916. He was invalided home but returned in the spring of 1917. He was killed in action on the 15th April. 1918 and lies at the Loos Memorial in the Pas de Calais. He was a gardener to trade and 24 years old.
The Loos Memorial to the Fallen
Private Peter McIntosh, Aberuchill – Australian Imperial Force (52nd Battalion.) He enlisted in Rockhampton in Queensland, Australia, in April, 1916 and arrived in Plymouth, England in October of that year. After training he was sent to France in December of that year. He was killed as a result of gunshot wounds on the 20th April, 1918. For unknown reasons he served as J. Marshall in the A.I.F. He was a draper to trade and was 35 years old. He is buried in the 29 Crouy British Cemetery Crouy-Sur-Somme in France.
29 Crouy British Cemetery, Crouy-Sur-Somme
Gunner Robert Ferguson of “Comrie Cottage”, Comrie – Royal Garrison Artillery – he enlisted in November, 1915, and was sent to France on the 26th April, 1916. He was wounded by shellfire on the 26th April, 1918, and on his return to duty was killed by a bursting shell on the 20th May, 1918. He is buried in the Brandhoek New Military Cemetery, No. 3 in West Vlaaderen in Belgium. He was a postman in Comrie and age 30 when he was killed.
Brandhoek New Military Cemetery, No. 3
Private William Crerar “Smiddy Cottage”, Dunira Street, Comrie – 6th Black Watch – he went to France in May, 1915 and after seeing action returned home as a time expired soldier. He however re-enlisted and returned to France where he was killed by a bursting shell on the 28th May, 1918. He was 26 years old and a blacksmith to trade. He is buried in Roclincourt Military Cemetery in the Pas de Calais, France
Roclincourt Military Cemetery, Pas de Calais, Fance
Sergeant Duncan McArthur “Gowanfield”, Comrie – 6th Black Watch – after spending some years in Canada he returned to the UK and enlisted in the Black Watch. He was sent to France and as he was a brilliant horseman served in the Transport section of his regiment. He was killed by the same bursting shell which killed William Crerar on the 28th May, 1918. The bursting shell also killed William Crerar. Duncan is buried at the Maroeuil British Cemetery in Pas de Calais.
Maroeuil British Cemetery, Pas de Calais
Second Lieuteneant William Hepburn Sidey of Melville Square, Comrie – Royal Garrison Artillery - he joined the army in December, 1917, and was posted to France on the 30th May, 1917. He died from wounds from a gas shell on the 13th October, 1917. He was the headmaster of a school in Walthamstow. He was 32 years old. His brother, James, was killed at the Battle of Loos on the 25th September, 1915. He is buried in the Dozinghem Military Cemetery, in Westvletern, West Flanders, Belgium.
Dozinghem Military Cemetery, in Westvleteren, West Flanders, Belgium.
Private John McGregor of Dundas Street, Comrie – the 2nd Battalion, King’s Own Scottish Borderers – he signed up under the Derby scheme on the 12th August, 1916, and was sent to France in December, 1916. There he was wounded on two occasions at the Battle of Cambrai necessitating a return to Scotland. Once he had recuperated he again returned to France where he died of additional wounds received in action on the 15th June, 1918. He was a mason to trade and left a widow and eight children. At age 40 he was also the oldest of our soldiers to have joined up and who died in service. He is buried in the Aire Communal Cemetery in aire, Pas de Calais.
Peter Comrie with rifle, John McGregor seated and David McNaughton (Grandfather of Peter McNaughton) at Killiecrankie with an unknown couple.
Aire Communal Cemetery. Pas de Calais, France
Private Thomas Shaw McDougall of Drummond Street, Comrie – Royal Army Service Corps – he enlisted on the 9th October, 1916. Later he was attached to the Lovat Scouts and served in Italy where he was wounded by a shrapnel bomb, from which he died in the 38th Stationary Hospital on the 22nd March, 1918. He is buried in the Staglieno Cemetery in Genoa. He was 22 years old and worked at Achinner in Glen Artney.
Staglieno Cemetery in Genoa.
Private Alexander Donaldson, “Clathick”, Comrie – the Scottish Horse - he enlisted under the Derby scheme in June, 1916. He was then transferred to the 7th Black Watch and was sent to France in December, 1916. He was wounded in the advance of April, 1917, and returned to Comrie for convalescence. When he returned to France he joined the 6th Black Watch where he was again seriously wounded and returned to Comrie. For the third time he returned to France and died in the Vertres Hospital as a result of further wounds received on the Marne. He left a wife and two children and is buried in Vertus Communal Cemetery in the Department of the Marne. He was 32 years old and a gamekeeper at Invergeldie.
Vertus Communal Cemetery in the Department of the Marne.
Private Alexander Bannerman Kidd, Comrie – the Scots Guards – he enlisted in March, 1915 and did some ceremonial parades at Buckingham Palace. He was sent to France in 1916 and took part in the Battles of the Somme, Delville Wood, High Wood, Thiepal, La Bassée, Peronne and Beaumont Hamel. He was wounded and returned for convalescent leave. Once this was completed in December, 1917, he returned to France and took part on the Ypres Salient and the Passchendaele Ridge proceeding onto the Battle of Cambrai. He was killed on the 23rd August, 1918, at Hamlincourt and buried at Bucquoy Road Cemetery at Ficheaux. He was a forester at Dunira prior to joining the army. He was 25 years of age.
Bucquoy Road Cemetery at Ficheaux, Pas de Calais
Private David Keay, originally of Perth but latterly of Drummond Street, Comrie – Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers – he enlisted in the Royal Army Service Corps in October 1914, and was sent to France in the spring of 1915. He was subsequently transferred to the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers when he was killed by a shell in Bailleul on the 1st of September, 1918. He is buried in the Wulverghem-Lindenhoek Road Military Cemetery, in West Vlaanderen in Belgium. He was a baker to trade and left a widow and three children. In addition two of his brothers were also killed during the war.
Wulverghem-Lindenhoek Road Military Cemetery, in West Vlaanderen in Belgium
Lance-Corporal Duncan Lawson, “Balmuick”, Glen Lednock – 1st Black Watch – he enlisted on 6th November, 1915 and was sent to France in August, 1916. He was recommended for honour in October, 1918, for holding back an overwhelming mass of enemy soldiers with his Lewis gun until he was relieved some three hours later. Shortly thereafter, on 18th October, on the advance into the village of Wassigny, he was killed. He is buried in Busigny Communal Cemetery just to the west of Le Cateau. He was 26 years old and a shepherd to trade.
Busigny Communal Cemetery
Sergeant Angus Donald MacGregor, “Seton Cottage”, Dalginross, Comrie. He was a Territorial and a member of the Comrie section of the Crieff Company of the 6th Black Watch but was time expired before the start of the War. However, he enlisted in the Royal Army Service Corps in October, 1915 and after spending some time in Aldershot was sent to France in the spring of 1916 where he was attached to the Divisional Supply Column of the Third Army Corps. He then transferred to the Rifle Brigade in September, 1916. He served on the Passchendaele Ridge Salient for many months. He was promoted to Sergeant in September, 1918. During his training he was awarded the Skill at Arms Medal. He was seriously wounded by shellfire at Neuville, east of Cambrai, on the 24rd October, 1918, and died in hospital the next day. He was a butcher and aged about 30. He is buried at the Delseaux Military Cemetery in Beugny, in France.
Delseaux Military Cemetery in Beugny, in France.
NOTE: It was his father, Alexander MacGregor, who wrote the Comrie War book.
Private Alexander Crerar, “Beech Cottage”, Dalginross, Comrie – Scottish Horse – he served for three years in peace time and was mobilized at the outbreak of war. Due to illness he missed the actions of his regiment at Gallipoli but rejoined them in Egypt. Later he was sent to the Balkans serving on the Strauma front. Thereafter the regiment was sent to France and he was killed during the advance on the Mormal forest, near Le Cateau on the 4th November, 1918. He is buried in the Cross Roads Cemetery, Fontaine au Bois. The armistice was signed one week later. He was an agricultural worker aged 28.
Cross Roads Cemetery, Fontaine au Bois.
Captain Andrew Currie Begg, “Fox Knowe,” St. Fillans – 7th Black Watch – he was originally a volunteer with the Black Watch and enlisted in it in November, 1914, and was sent to France as a Second Lieutenant. In November, 1915, he was made an Adjutant with the rank of Lieutenant and then made Adjutant of the 2nd Inniskilling Fusiliers. He was killed in action at High Wood on the 30th July, 1916. By one of the ironies of fate he was gazetted Captain four days after his death dating from the previous June. He was a banker with the National Bank of India in London and was 36 years of age. He is buried at Serre Road Cemetery, No 2.
Serre Road Cemetery, No 2.
Private Donald Nicholson, “Ardrostan”, St. Fillans – Scots Guards – he enlisted on the 30th September, 1914, and spent some time in Catherham and Wellington barracks eventually being sent to France in March, 1915. He was killed two months later at Festubert on the 16th May, 1916. He was a hotel worker and was 22 years of age. He is mentioned in the Le Touret Memorial to the missing.
Le Touret Memorial, Festubert, Pas de Calais
Captain William Debenham MacLaren Stewart, “Ardvorlich” – Black Watch – he enlisted in 1914 and was sent to India in the 2nd Battalion. After the declaration of War he was transferred to France reaching the Western front in October, 1914. He saw several actions including Neuve Chapelle and Richbourg l’Avone where he was wounded. He returned to the front in October, 1915, and joined the 1st Battalion and was killed at the Battle of the Somme, near Fleurs, on September 25th, 1916. He was 23 years old. He is mentioned on the Thiepval Memorial
His mother, Charlotte wrote this poetic tribute. Discobolus was a Greek discus thrower.
Private James A. Johnston, “Holly”, St. Fillans – 6th Black Watch – he enlisted on the 20th June, 1915, and was sent to France on the 26th December, 1916. He was killed on a raid of the enemy trenches at Vimy Ridge on the 31st March, 1917. He was a golf green keeper and 21 years old. He is mentioned on the Arras Memorial.
Arras Memorial, Pas de Calais
Corporal Hugh Nicholson, “Ardtrostan”, St. Fillans – 6th Black Watch- he enlisted on the 22nd June, 1915, and was sent to France in December, 1916. He was killed at Rocklincourt by a bursting shell on the 23rd April, 1917. He was an agricultural worker and was 22 years old. His brother, Donald, had been killed at Festubert eleven months prior.
The Arras Memorial, Pas de Calais
Captain Archibald Randolph Davidson, “Craig Darroch”, St. Fillans – Gordon Highlanders – he was commissioned into the 1st battalion and was sent to the Western front in France on 8th February, 1915. He was badly wounded at the Battle of Loos on the 25th September, 1915. After a period of convalescence and a tour in Ireland he returned to France in May, 1917. He was killed in action on the 4th June, 1917. He was 22 years old. He is mentioned in the Arras Memorial.
The Arras Memorial
Private John Duncan MacFarlane, “Carrefour”, St. Fillans – 2nd Black Watch – he enlisted in September 16th, 1916 and was sent to Bangalore in India. After a year of service there he was sent to Mesopotamia and then on to Palestine. He died from shrapnel wounds on the 3rd June, 1918. He worked in a chemist’s shop in Crieff. He is mentioned on the Jerusalem Memorial in Palestine and is listed as MacFarlane.
Captain Percy T. MacGregor Whitton, “Ardchoille”, St. Fillans – Scots Fusiliers – he enlisted at Gosport on the 25th February, 1914 aged 21 and was sent to France. He was promoted to Lieutenant on the 15th November of that year and in March, 1915, was severely wounded in the head. He convalesced in the UK and then returned to France in September, 1915, joining the 2nd battalion. He took part in the Battle of Loos as well as Givenchy, La Bassée, Auchy Railway Triangle, and the Hohenzollern redoubt. Thereafter he was promoted and again twice wounded on the attack on Montauban. He remained on duty having lost 65% of his subalterns and men. He then led an attack on Malty Horn farm and then captured 60 prisoners at the Malty Horn Trench. He was killed at Trone Wood on the 9th July, 1918, and is buried there. He was around 25 years of age. His name is listed on the Thiepnal memorial as MacGregor-Whitton.
Captain Percy T. MacGregor Whitton
Private Peter Campbell Ferguson, “Ardrostan”, St. Fillans – 7th Black Watch – he enlisted in the 9th battalion of the Black Watch (Kitchener’s Army) on the 10th October, 1916. He was sent to France in February, 1917, and was wounded on the 23rd April of that year. He convalesced in Scotland and then returned to France in July, 1917, where he joined the 7th Black Watch. He was killed in the “Push” on the 21st March, 1918. He worked in a hotel at St. Fillans and was 22 years old. He is buried at Grevillers British Cemetery in the Pas de Calais.
Grevillers British Cemetery in the Pas de Calais
Private Robert Angus, “Castle View”, Lochearnhead. – 1st Black Watch – he enlisted in October, 1914, having returned from Canada. He was trained in Nigg and then sent to France in December of that year. He was killed at the Battle of Loos on the 25th September, 1915. He served his apprenticeship in a solicitor’s office in Stirling and was 25 years old. He is mentioned on the Loos Memorial.
Private David Leslie, “Spring Bank”, Lochearnhead – 9th Black Watch – he enlisted on the 28th November, 1914, and was sent to France in August, 1915. He was killed at the Battle of Loos on the 26th September, 1915. He was a farm worker and was 18 years old and the youngest of those from Highland Strathearn who were killed on active service during the Great War. He is buried in the Lapugnoy Military Cemetery in the Pas de Calais.
Lapugnoy Military Cemetery, Pas de Calais.
Sister Margaret Brown Stalker, “Halton”, Comrie – Queen Alexandria’s Imperial Military Nursing Service. She joined the war service on the 14th July, 1915, and was sent to Lichfield for two months. From there she was sent to India and then on to Mesopotamia where she served in No.40 British General Hospital. After contracting a severe illness there she was sent back to Comrie in the spring of 1920 where she died in her parent’s home on the 18th January, 1921.
They were just ordinary people and in total from our area more than 40 were killed. If one adds to this those who were killed from Crieff, almost 200 from a population of about 4000 people, and many dozens from Muthill with a population of a few hundred, one has a better understanding of the utter tragedy of it all. Strathearn mourned, as did all of Scotland. We have still not talked about the hundreds who were wounded, or taken prisoner, and whose lives were shattered
As in all wars there were those who fought bravely and became prisoners of war and they also are recorded in Comrie’s War Book.
Private Peter Findlay – Claremont Cottage, Dalginross – Australian Imperial Force - enlisted in Adelaide in December 1915 and landed in Egypt in March. He was there until June, 1915, and then sent to France. He was wounded in the trenches on July 20th, 1916, and taken prisoner. He was a mason to trade.
Captain Arthur Armstrong - St. Fillans – Scottish Rifles – he enlisted as a private in 1914, and was sent to France in December of that year. He was captured on 22nd August, 1915. He was Dux at Morrison’s Academy in 1909.
Private Alexander Menzies – Drummond Street, Comrie – as a Territorial he was then mobilized with the 6th Black Watch at the outbreak of war. He was sent to France in May, 1916, and was wounded in July of that year and sent home for a short convalescence. He returned to France in September, 1916, being posted to the 4/5th Black Watch he was again wounded on the Somme on November 13th of that year. On July 31st he was further wounded in the shoulder by an explosive bullet and taken prisoner. He was sent to a POW camp at Gulich, Westphalia, until the Armistice. Gulich is a district of Cologne. He was a grocer to trade.
Private John Webster – “Newbigging”, Fowlis Wester and Dunira – he enlisted at age 26 and served in the 9th Black Watch. He was sent to France in August, 1916 and served on the Somme and Arras sectors. He was wounded and taken prisoner at Cavalry Farm, near Arras on the 26th April, 1917. He was sent to a POW camp at Dalmen, Westphalia, and released in 21st December, 1918. He was a forester to trade.
Private David Mitchell – Gould Cottage, Drummond Street, Comrie – he enlisted at age 16 on the 5th August, 1914, into the 6th Black Watch. Due to his age he was not sent to France until July 16th, 1916. He was posted to the 8th Black Watch and served on the Somme, Arras, Cambrai and Ypres. He was captured on the 25th March, 1918, and sent to camps in Mosselanes, Munster and Essen, Westphalia, eventually being released in December, 1918. He was a joiner to trade.
Gunner William Ritchie – “The Gardens”, Comrie House – he enlisted in the Black Watch in January 1917 at age 19. He was in the Machine Gun Corps and was sent to France in January, 1918. On the 11th of May of that year he was taken prisoner at Armentierres and after being made to work behind the German lines was sent to a POW camp in Wursburg in Bavaria. He was freed in December, 1918.
Lance Corporal Duncan Comrie – “Knowes of Ross” – 6th Black Watch. He was time expired in the Territorials and rejoined this battalion in August, 1914. He was sent to France in May, 1915. He fought in various engagements being wounded in August, 1915, and again severely on March 21st, 1918, and taken prisoner. He was interned in Perriwell Hospital in Belgium and then sent to a POW camp in Alton Grabow in Saxony, Germany. He was repatriated in October, 1919. He was a gardener at Aberuchill Castle.
Private James Donaldson – Drummond Street, Comrie – He was a member of the Crieff Company of the 6th Black Watch and mobilized at the outbreak of war in home defence He enlisted in 1916 in the Lancashire Fusiliers and was sent to France in the spring of 1917. He served at La Bassée, Ypres and Passchendaele. In the German offensive of March 21st, 1918, he was taken prisoner at Hargicourt. He was sent to POW camps in Valenciennes and in the Ardennes and was released on November 12th, 1918. He was a painter to trade.
Lance-Corporal Signaller John Kemp – “Glasdale”, Comrie – he enlisted in the 6th Black Watch in August, 1914. He was sent to France in May, 1915, and served in all the major British sectors. He was taken prisoner in March, 1918 and sent to a POW camp in Mickelburg being released on the 11th November, 1918. He worked in William Low’s store in Lochgelly. His brother, Alexander, was killed in November, 1916.
Lance-Corporal John McFarlane – Drummond Street, Comrie – he enlisted in the 6th Black Watch in late 1915 and was sent to France in April, 1916. He went through many actions and had several miraculous escapes being eventually captured on March 22nd, 1918, after being shot from an aeroplane through the shoulder and lower part of his body. He was sent to hospitals in Cassell (Kassel in Central Germany) and Crossen on the Oder, in Prussia, before being released on the 11th December, 1918.
Private John Stalker – “Halton” – He was a time expired Territorial in the Crieff Company of the 6th Black Watch. He rejoined this battalion in August, 1914, and was sent to France in May, 1915. As part of the 51st Division he saw many engagements but was taken prisoner on March 21st, 1918 in the big German offensive. He was released on the 12th November, 1918, and returned to Comrie shortly thereafter. He was a builder to trade. Sadly his sister, Margaret Brown Stalker, after returning to Comrie died in 1921 as a result of her hard and valiant war work in India and Mesopotamia.
Private John Riddoch – Railway Cottages, St. Fillans – he enlisted in the 6th Black Watch and was sent to France on 27th December, 1916. He was invalided home and returned to France in September, 1917 and joined the 7th Black Watch. He was made a prisoner on 21st of March, 1918, in the last German offensive of the war. He worked behind the German lines until his release on the 12th November, 1918. He worked with the Caledonian Railway Company.
Most of those who served were not awarded any medals for gallantry (what an old-fashioned, but meaningful word!), however some did. The following is recorded:
Lieutenant John Craig, Invergeldie, Glen Lednock, Comrie – Royal Scots Fusiliers. He enlisted as a Private in March, 1915, in the ranks of the 5th Battalion, Cameron Highlanders (Locheil’s) and went to France in August of that year and took part in the Battle of Loos in September. He returned to the UK where he was commissioned in the spring of 1916 and posted to the Royal Scots Fusiliers in Egypt aboard the RMS “Ivernia” Travelling with him, but no doubt in lesser comfort, was Private Robert McLaren. The vessel was struck by a torpedo fired by UB-47 of Cape Matapan, Greece, on New Year’s Day, 1917. Both survived however, Robert was killed at Cambrai the following year. Fighting in Gaza in Palestine Craig was wounded in May of 1917 and again wounded on the 6th June, 1917 and it was on this second action that he won the Victoria Cross. Subsequently he joined the Royal Air Service in Egypt.
Lieutenant George Scott, “Gerrichrew,” Dunira, Comrie – 6th Black Watch – he enlisted in the Inns of Court Training Corps and was commissioned and posted to France in January, 1917. He was awarded a Military Cross when he led a bombing raid on German trenches in March of that year.
Major Angus Cameron, “Easter Tullybannocher,” Comrie – Royal Army Medical Corps – he enlisted in August, 1914, and sent to France. In October, 1917, he was awarded a Military Cross for attending to wounded soldiers at the front. Later he was sent to Egypt as Commanding Officer of a Prisoner of War Hospital there.
Major Archibald Boyle – Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders – he was a career officer and was sent to France in December, 1914. He took part in the second battle of Ypres and stayed there until December, 1915. He was then posted to Salonika and was severely wounded at the Battle of Struma and sent home disabled. He was mentioned in dispatches on 21st June, 1915, and again on the 7th December, 1916. He was mentioned in the Secretary of State’s list in June, 1918, as well as in January, 1919. He was awarded the Military Cross in June, 1915, and a bar in September, 1916. In March, 1919, he was awarded an O.B.E. He had also by this time received the Serbian Order of the White Eagle and received special promotion to the rank of Major. Sadly his brother, David, was killed at Le Cateau in 1914.
Major Willam McNaughtan, “Cowden”, Comrie – Royal Army Medical Corps – he was a regular military soldier registered as a Second Lieutenant in 1905. He was sent to Quetta, India, in 1914, onwards to Amara in Mesopotamia in 1915, in 1917 in Baghdad and in 1918 at a refugee camp in Baquba in, now, Iraq. He was mentioned in dispatches on four separate occasions and awarded an O.B.E (Military).
Commander Harry Boyle, “Pittacher”, Crieff – Royal Navy – he was a career naval officer having joined it in 1894. He served throughout the War in the South Atlantic and was at the Battle of the Falkland Islands, the Adriatic, the North Sea, and the Atlantic. He was awarded the C.B.E, the Chevalier of Legion of Honour, and the second class of the Military Order of Avis of Portugal. Sadly his younger brother, David, was killed at Le Cateau in 1914.
Lieutenant H.D. McRae Gallaway, “East U.F Manse”, Comrie – Military Transport Company. He entered the army in August, 1914, as a dispatch rider in a special unit of the Royal Engineers later joining the 15th Division as a Sergeant of the D.R Signallers. He was commissioned in May, 1915, and was sent out to the Dardanelles assisting with the evacuation. He took ill there and recuperated in Malta and in Comrie. After his convalescence he was sent to France in January, 1917. He was awarded the Croix de Guerre avec Palme.
Brigadier-General Anthony Julian Reddie, “Rickerton Cottage”, Comrie – South Wales Borderers. He joined the colours in 1891 and gazetted as a Second Lieutenant in November, 1892. He served in Tirah in Afghanistan and in the North-West Frontier as a soldier in the “Great Game.” It was in here in 1897 that Piper Allan George Findlater of the Gordon Highlanders, although twice wounded, was awarded a VC for piping the troops forward playing the “The Haughs O’ Cromdale”. Thereafter the Brigadier served in Karachi in India and appointments in Cairo, Gibraltar, Germany, and in the UK. He was awarded a D.S.O., in June 1915; the Order of St. Stanislas, 3rd class with swords in August, 1915; Legion of Honour in August, 1918; and on his promotion to Brigadier-General, the C.M.G. He was also mentioned in dispatches on six occasions. For aficionados of awards the C.M.G. is the Companion of the Most Distinguished Order of St. Michael and St. George. Irreverent types suggest it stands for “Call Me God!”
Company Quartermaster Sergeant James Boyd, “Benview”, Comrie – R.O.D. (Railway Operating Division) Royal Engineers. He worked for the Caledonian Railway Company in Grangemouth and enlisted in 1915. After training in Longmoor he was sent to France in January, 1916. He was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal after having been abandoned by his comrades and shelled at Bully Grenay. He was further awarded the Croix de Guerre and the Medaille Militaire. He received a letter from General Pétain which states, “He worked in direct conjunction with the services of the Nord Railway. In the section of the railway of the country in a zone constantly bombarded, has given the most devoted and efficient help to his French comrades which has permitted them to save all the material of the railways during the recent offensive although the enemy bombarded the lines and the junctions in a very violent manner. A veritable model of courage and energy.”
Sergeant John Hunter, “Dundurn”, Comrie – Lovat Scout Sharp Shooters – he enlisted aged 29 in January, 1917, and went to France in June of that year. He was awarded the Military Medal in November, 1917, for gallantry and devotion to duty on the Arras front. He subsequently transferred to the Cameron Highlanders. He was an overseer at Dundurn.
Flight Sergeant John Mitchell, “Gould Cottage”, Drummond Street, Comrie – he enlisted in the Naval Air Service in March, 1915. He was mentioned in dispatches and received a Certificate of Merit as a result of carrying out repairs on an aeroplane under heavy fire near Albert. He was a joiner to trade.
Corporal Alexander Drummond, “Dalginross Cottage”, Comrie – 6th Black Watch – he enlisted in May, 1915, and was sent to France in March, 1916. He was wounded at the Second Battle of Ypres in July, 1917, and sent to Comrie to recuperate. He returned to France in April, 1918, and joined the 7th Black Watch. On October 22nd, 1918, he was awarded a Military Medal for gallant conduct in the face of the enemy.
Corporal Peter Peddie, Glen Lednock – 6th Black Watch – he enlisted at 33 years of age in August, 1914. He was sent to France in May, 1915, but was invalided home in August of that year. He returned to active duty in the spring of 1916 and on the 31st July of that year was awarded the Military Medal for distinguished conduct. In the big German offensive of 21st March, 1918, he was captured and worked behind the German lines and then sent to a POW camp at Lemberg, in Germany, until his release in December of that year. He was a roadman to trade.
Lance-Corporal Malcolm Boyd, “Benview”, Comrie – Canadian Seaforth Highlanders – he joined the colours in Vancouver, British Columbia, in December 1915 at the age of 36. He was sent to France in August 1916, and served with the transport section. He was awarded a Military Medal for bravery under heavy shelling at Cambrai in September, 1918. His brother, Company Quartermaster Sergeant James Boyd, also survived the War and received a variety of decorations for his services.
Lance-Corporal James Cameron. “Craigneich”, Comrie – Scottish Horse. As a Territorial he was called to the colours in August 1914 and was sent to Gallipoli with Lord Tullibardine’s Brigade. He was wounded there and invalided to Cairo and returned to Comrie as a time-expired combatant. He, however, again rejoined his regiment and was sent to Salonica and there was awarded a Military Medal for distinguished and gallant service in connection with a midnight reconnaissance on the Struma front. Accompanying his regiment to the Western front he was again badly wounded in the arm at Le Cateau. He was awarded another Military Medal for his bravery there. He was a farmer to trade.
Lance-Corporal William Coutts, “Comrie Cottage”, Comrie – Royal Engineers. At 33 years of age he enlisted in November, 1915 and was sent to France in August, 1916. He served at Ypres, Cambrai, Le Bassé, Bethune, and on the Marne. He was wounded in January, 1917, recovered and was awarded a Military Medal for bravery and devotion to duty while under heavy shell fire in October, 1917. He was a gardener to trade in Drummond Castle.
Sapper Charles Sellar McNab, Comrie – Royal Army Service Corps Motor Transport – he enlisted at age 17 in February, 1915, and was sent directly to France. In August, 1917 he transferred to the Royal Engineers as a dispatch rider attached initially to the Canadian and American forces and latterly the South African Brigade of Artillery. He was mentioned in dispatches and awarded a Certificate of Merit.
Sapper Daniel Ferguson, Drummond Street, Comrie – Canadian Tunnelling Engineers – he enlisted in Vancouver in the spring of 1915 at age 38. He was sent to France in the autumn of 1915, he was awarded a Military Medal in September, 1918, when he rescued and brought in wounded under heavy shell fire. He was a joiner to trade.
Private Alexander Cameron, “Ardveich”, Lochearnhead – Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. He enlisted at age 26 in August, 1914 and was sent to France in the following spring. He was at the battle of Loos and was wounded four times during that period. He was awarded a Military Medal on the field. He was taken prisoner at Oppie Wood, near Doui, on 27th August, 1918, and sent to Freidericksfield. He was released at the signing of the Armistice.
Private Alexander Ferguson, “Ardrostan”, St. Fillans – 6th Black Watch - he enlisted in August 1914 at the age of 17. He was sent to France in May, 1915 serving as a dispatch runner to a Signal Section at the headquarters of the 153rd Brigade, 51st Division. He distinguished himself on the 31st July, during the advance at the Third Battle of Ypres for carrying dispatches and was awarded a Military Medal. He was known to be the first Comrie soldier decorated for outstanding bravery. Sadly he lost his brother, Peter Ferguson, on 21st March, 1918. Alexander was a porter at Comrie railway station.
Private William McCulloch, “Bridgend”, Dalginross, Comrie – Royal Scots – he enlisted at age 20 in November, 1915. He was sent to France in February and saw a lot of action on the Somme. He was shell-shocked and sent to a base for a short rest and then returned to the trenches where he received a head wound. He returned to Comrie for convalescence and then went back out to France in February, 1917. In August of that year he was awarded the Military Medal for bravery throughout that time. He was a gardener to trade.
Sister Mary McNaughtan, “Cowden”, Comrie – Queen Alexandra Imperial Military Nursing Service. She joined the QAIMNS in 1910 and in 1914 she was posted to the Royal Herbert Hospital in Woolwich. In 1915 she was sent to Egypt as Matron of the Boulac Palace Convalescent Hospital in Cairo. She volunteered for Mesopotamia (possibly because her brother, Major McNaughtan, was there) and served at Amara becoming Matron of the Hospital Steamer “Baghdad”. She was twice mentioned in dispatches, received the 1915 Star, the Victory Medal (1914-1918), General Service Medal, 1917, India and A.R.R.C. (Associate of the Royal Red Cross).
Sister Mrs. Alice Scott, “The Manse”, St. Fillans – Queen Alexandra Imperial Military Service Reserve. She was mobilized in August, 1914 and five days later was sent to France. There she served on hospital trains being promoted to Sister-in-Charge. She served for a brief time as Matron of the Red Cross Hospital in Burnham-on-Crouch in Essex. From 1917 until 1919 she was Matron of the Red Cross Hospital in Arbroath. She was awarded A.R.R.C. (Associate of the Royal Red Cross), the Mons Star, 1914, the Victory Medal and the General Service medal. Her husband was the Reverend A.W.Scott of St. Fillans.
Nurse Catherine J. Melville, “Earnbank”, Comrie – Voluntary Aid Department. She served as a nurse in Perth and was seconded to the Scottish Woman’s Hospital in Salonika in 1917. She was awarded the Serbian Croix-de-Mise-recorde, the Scottish Woman’s Hospital Medal, and the British War and Victory medals, with a recommendation for an additional Serbian decoration.
Others received decorations but never came home. They included:
Robert Colquhoun Boyle–North Commandant of the Indian and West Frontier Police - Companion of the Indian Empire.
Captain William Debenham McLaren Stewart – Black Watch – mentioned in despatches.
Captain Archibald Randloph Davidson – Gordon Highlanders – twice mentioned in despatches.
The author would like to mention at this point a wee story. Shortly before he died, my late father and I met John Comrie (Shochan Comrie) at his home in the Ross. He had served as a Private during the War but returned to Comrie after the Comrie War book was printed, and so was not mentioned in it. To be fair to Sandy MacGregor, who wrote this splendid book, he may not have known that Shochan was missing from his list. Shochan always felt a wee bit miffed about that! Hopefully his inclusion here will make up for it.
Included in parcels sent to the soldiers, half bottles of scotch and cigarettes would be wrapped up in knitted socks and sweaters. One Comrie lad, John Comrie, an electrician, was a teller of tall tales. On one occasion when doing some work for Miss McLagan at the House of Ross asked “Mr. Comrie, your nephew Peter, was on leave from France, is he away now?” Jock Comrie replied “Losh aye my lady, they were waiting for him. General Haig asked if Comrie from Comrie was back yet”. He was told, “Just off the train, General.” General Haig then said, “Then let the advance begin
Everyone had a story to tell. My late uncle Ian McNaughton, who you will hear some more about in the segment on World War 11 recalled as a little boy of hearing some of them. One wag went around the village saying that he was the man who won the War. My uncle when aged five or six seeing him approach one day said, as all children do, “Are you the man that won the War?” He was very surprised when the man chased him away waving a stick in the air!
NOTE: Many of the photographs of the graveyards came from Wikipedia and were provided by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (http://www.cwgc.org/">http://www.cwgc.org/) and also at http://www.ww1cemeteries.com/">www.ww1cemeteries.com/.
NOTE: The photographs of the deceased from Highland Strathearn come from the Comrie War Book by Alexander MacGregor
SOME OF THE GALLANT BAND WHO CAME HOME
Peter McNaughton’s grandfather is seated second from the left in the front row