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St Andrew's Church, Peebles. 

And how can man die belter 
Than facing fearful odds, 

For the ashes of his fathers 
And the temples of his gods. 

ZTbe IBooh of IRemembrance 
for ZTweeJtoale, 


In Two Books. 


AUGUST 191 4— MAY 19 17. 


Dr gunn. 


Printed and Published by Allan Smyth, 

Neidpath Press. 



Printed by Allan Smyth, 

Neidpath Press. 

(Malachi iii., 16, 17.) 

A BOOK of fond remembrance now we keep 

Of you, who left us on the banks of Tweed, 

'Neath foreign skies, on foreign fields, to bleed, 

That we yet fearless might quiet slumbers sleep, 

And undismayed the yellow harvest reap; 

While o'er some son or brother's noble deed 

The secret tear of grief or pride we weep. 

O men, our men, to man's praise give no heed. 

When God makes up His jewels ye shall hear 

The Voice that shakes the universe proclaim 

To listening worlds each loved and honoured name. 

Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun, 

While Christ, your Captain, will Himself draw near 

To greet you with His welcoming "Well done!" 



The Ancient Musterplace of the Men of Tweeddale at Sheriffmuir. 


This is the first of five books — each complete in itself — containing the 
names, records, and portraits of the gallant boys and men of Tweeddale -who 
fell in the great war of 1914-1918. Only the first half of those belonging to 
the Burgh and Parish of Peebles are included in this volume. 

The verses — mostly from soldier poets— have been chosen with as much 
regard as possible to fitness. 

About six hundred of the sons oj Tweeddale sacrificed all, even life 
itself, for the county and the Empire. LEST WE FORGET: but also to 
reveal to generations yet unborn something of what we owe to those gallant 
souls, who greatly dared, heroically suffered, and nobly won, these memoirs 
are written. 

C. B. G. 
Easter 1920. 


Me remember before Uhcc all tbose once 
known to ns upon tbe eartb wbo bare passeo 
tbroiuib tbe Dallev of tbe gbaoow of H)eatb into 
TLhv presence. Continue Ubv loving kindness 
unto tbem, we beseecb Cbee, for evermore. 

1914.- AUGUST 4. 


1914.- AUGUST 5. 


1914. — NOVEMBER 2 (MONDAY). 


Ubese are tbe IHames of tbe flfoen ano Bo^s of Peebles 
ano Meet Xinton wbo went fortb from Ibaooington 
on tbe 2no IRovember 1914 to ttobt for tbe Empire. 

G (Peebles) Company, 8th Royal Scots. 

Captain G. Harrison Ballantyne. . Private 

Lieutenant F. Plew. Private 
Second-Lieutenant R. M. Thorburn. Private 

Sergeant-Major E. Maxwell. Private 

Colour-Sergeant W. S. Dickman. Private 

Sergeant A. Scougall. Private 

Lance-Sergeant J. Sterrick. Private 

Corporal J. Clark. Private 

Corporal J. Elliot. Private 

Corporal T. Ferguson. Private 

Corporal J. Todd. Private 

Lance-Corporal J. Ballantyne. Private 

Lance-Corporal J. Scott. Private 

Lance-Corporal A. White. Private 

Private T. Affleck. Private 

Private J. Alison. Private 

Private J. Anderson. Private 

Private D. Bain. Private 

Private F. Bain. Private 

Private G. Bain. Private 

Private A. Banks. Private 

Private R. C. Boyd. Private 

Private J. Brockie. Private 

Private A. Brown. Private 

Private W. Buchanan. Private 

Private W. Cairncross. Private 

Private J. Campbell. Private 

Private W. Clapperton. Private 

Private W. Cleland. Private 

Private F. Confrey. Private 

Private R. T. Cowan. Private 

Private R. Crawford. Private 

Private S. Cruickshanks. Private 

Private W. Currie. Private 

Private J. Dickson. Private 

Private R. Dickson. Private 

R. A. Dodds. 
A. Durrant. 
G. Durrant. 
J. Duthie. 
A. Edgar. 
R. Elder. 
R. Ferguson. 
R. T. Fleming. 
G. Forson. 
N. Foster. 
J. Frame. 
W. Freer. 
R. Gray. 
J. Halley. 
R. Hardie. 
P. Hart. 
A. Henderson. 
A. Howitt. 
W. Hutton. 
J. Hunter. 
W. Inglis. 
W. C. Jardine. 
A. Johnstone. 
R. Johnstone. 
W. Johnstone. 
W. C. Kerr. 
G. Laidlaw. 
J. Lamb. 
J. Liddle. 
J. Mason. 
W. Mason. 
J. Maule. 
D. Melrose. 
W. Melrose. 
J. Millar. 
J. Moffat. 



C. B. Morris. 
A. Muir. 

J. Mulholland. 
R. Mulholland. 

D. Murray. 

J. M'Cormack. 
N. M'Donald. 
J. M'Isaac. 
J. M'Kenna. 
J. M'Pake. 
J. Neilson. 
D. Ramsay. 
J. Rankine. 
A. M. Ross. 
R. Shearer. 
A. Shiell. 
D. Shiels. 
A. Shortreed. 
W. Shortreed l 


W. Shortreed (2). 

Private D. 


Private J. 


Private James Stavert. 

Private J. 


Private T. 


Private A. 


Private R. 

P. Thomson 

Private A. 


Private W 

. Todd. 

Private W 

. S. Todd. 

Private E. 


Private J. 


Private R. 


Private R. 


Private J. 


Private G. 


Private D. 


Private A. 


Private J. 

L. White. 

Private T. 

A. Wilson. 

XTbc XHnreturninQ Brave. 

Captain R. Dickson, Acting Major. Private J. Frame 

Corporal T. Ferguson. 

Lance-Corporal J. Scott. 

Private J. Anderson. 

Private G. Bain. 

Private R. C. Boyd. 

Private J. Dickson. 

Private R. Elder. 

Private J. Liddle. 
Private J. Mason. 
Private J. Maule. 
Private J. Moffat. 
Private R. Mulholland. 
Private D. Welsh. 
Private T. A. Wilson. 

1914 STAR. 


Private Philip Hart. 

1914 STAR. 

Ibere follow tbe records of tbose connected witb tbe SSurgb 
and tbe parisb of Peebles bv? birtb, bv? residence, and 
b£ direct familv descent, wbo fell in tbe (Breat Mar. 

i. private lPbilip Ibart 

1Ro\?al Scots ifusilier*. 

1914 — October 25. 

THE first man from the parish of Peebles to fall in the war was 
Private PHILIP HART, a native. He died of wounds received in action, 
at Bethune, Pas de Calais, France, in his 32nd year. He was a son of 
the late Philip Hart, Peebles. The family is still represented in the 
town by several members who have taken part in the war from the 
beginning. His nephew and namesake, Philip, was one of those brave 
lads who went forth from Haddington on that memorable Monday, the 
2nd November 1914, to fight for the Empire. 

Official intimation was received by Wm. Hart, an elder brother, 
from the Infantry Record Office, Hamilton, acquainting him with a 
report which they had received from Headquarters, Echelon, France, 
on the 5th of November, in which it was stated that Private Philip 
Hart, a Reservist of the Royal Scots Fusiliers, had died at Bethune, 
Pas de Calais, France, as the result of wounds received in action. 
Accompanying the intimation was a printed notice with the words — 
"The King commands me to assure you of the true sympathy of His 
Majesty and the Queen in your sorrow. — KITCHENER." 

The deceased was unmarried. When the Boer War broke out, 
in 1899, Hart had the experience of being a stowoway on a transport 
ship bound for South Africa, carrying a draft of the regiment in 
which he had enlisted, and which he found he was too young to 
accompany. Being keen to go, he boarded the troopship unobserved. 
During the South African campaign he was with the Royal Scots 
Fusiliers all the time, and took part in the relief of Ladysmith under 
General Buller. After the cessation of hostilities he journeyed with 
his Battalion to India, where he completed his seven years' term of 
service, afterwards coming home to Scotland. When the war broke 
out in 1914 he was resident in Ardrossan, and was called up as a 

They shall not grow old, 

As we who are left grow old; 

Age shall not weary them, 

Nor the years condemn. 

At the going down of the sun 

And in the morning 

We shall remember them. 


Private Cornelius Gardner. 

1914 STAR. 


2. private Cornelius (Barfcmer. 

IRogal Scots. 

1914 — October 26. 

NEIL GARDNER, a Peebles lad, though born in Wishaw, was the 
second to fall in the war. The news in those early days filtered 
through to the town at times in an indefinite manner. The mother of 
another Peebles boy, residing in a different part of the burgh, received 
a letter from her son, mentioning that on the previous Wednesday 
Private Neil Gardner, in the same regiment, had fallen. Enquiries 
were made, but no confirmation was forthcoming for some time. At 
length the sorrowing widowed mother received definite information 
from the War Office that her son had fallen in action. A letter from 
Lord Kitchener conveyed the sympathy of His Majesty King George 
and of Queen Mary. 

In the letter which Neil's comrade had written to his own mother, 
he stated that Neil arrived on the battlefield on the 22nd October, and 
that he saw him fall. The brave boy had been only three weeks in 
France. He enlisted in the Territorial Army in November 1913, at 
the age of 15, and while in that branch of the Service won three 
prizes for shooting. He joined the Regular Army before the war, 
and was only 17 when he achieved a soldier's death on the field. 
Previous to enlisting he had been a piecer in March Street Mills and 
in Tweedside Mill. 

Peebles owed much to those gallant boys. Nothing could quench 
their fighting spirit; they entered the battle as it were a football 
field. Home they came — some of them — again and again, to recuperate 
after their wounds; they made light of their sufferings; and were 
ever ready again to enter the fray when the summons came; and in 
their letters home, those lads whom one had been wont to consider as 
very ordinary boys of the street, declared with inspired insight and a 
wonderful unanimity that if they fell, their fathers and their mothers 
knew that they believed in the righteousness of their cause. 

Heroes! Who were these heroes? Veterans steeled 
To face the King of Terrors 'mid the scaith 
Of many a hurricane and trenched field ? 
Far other : weavers from the stocking-frame ; 
Boys from the plough ; cornets with beardless chin, 
But steeped in honour and in discipline. 



1914 STAR. 


3 . ipnvatc 3osepb Brown. 

Scots (Suaros. 

1914— October 28. 

PRIVATE JOSEPH BROWN, of the Second Battalion Scots Guards, was 
one of the "Old Contemptibles." * He had been a motor vanman 
in Peebles; and later was employed, as a chauffeur, at Ellerslie 
Garage hy Mr James Thomson. Being a Reservist, he was called up 
in August 1914. The last word that came from him in France was upon 
the 8th October 1914; thereafter he was posted as "Missing." Later, 
intimation from the Army Council arrived, stating that he had fallen 
on the 28th October. He left a widow and a little girl. 

On Sunday, the 25th October 1914, it was abundantly clear that 
the objective of the Germans in the north was Calais, and subsequently 
Dunkirk. They were throwing every available man on to that section 
of the Allies' line which was barring their way. And it was admitted 
by the French authorities that the enemy had made some progress 
north of Dixmude and around La Bassee. The position had become 
critical. On the 26th the situation, though the fighting was fierce and 
continuous, remained .satisfactory for the British ; ground was being 
gained, and many prisoners taken. The German rush was being 
stopped. On the 27th and 28th the fighting was terrific; but the 
German advance was definitely barred. On the 28th of October, 
Private Joseph Brown fell bravely fighting; and not in vain. This 
was the first battle of Ypres. 

When the Last Post sounds 

And the night is on the battle-field, 
Night and rest at last from all the tumult of our wars, 

Will it not be well with us ... . 
If, with duty done like yours, we lie beneath the stars? 

*The German Emperor slightingly called General French's Expeditionary Force a 
" contemptible little army." 




1914 STAR. 


4. SDriver (Beorge Hn&erscm. 

1Ro\?al aficlD artillery. 

1914 — November 4. 

A GREAT battle in the north had been developing for days; and the 
British and Belgians were holding their own; the contest Was becoming- 
one of the most important and terrific of the war at that date. The 
objective of the Germans was Calais, and later Dunkirk. Every 
available man was thrown into the German lines against the Allies. 
Progress had been made north of Dixmude and around La Bassee. 
The enemy, however, in the succeeding days began to be held. 

Driver GEORGE ANDERSON, with his battery, had been engaged 
during all this critical time, and had been in numerous engagements; 
his horse had been shot three times under him; but still he held on. 
On the 3rd November 1914, when the war was but three months old, 
his battery was being heavily shelled at Neuve Eglise, in Belgium. A 
big shell struck him, and he was instantaneously killed. His body 
was buried in the churchyard of that village, and the burial service 
read by the Church of England clergyman. 

His officers had a very high opinion of him ; he was a good, 
hard-working, straight fellow, popular with all. He was one of 
the best drivers in the battery. Such are some of the testimonies 
by his officers, of one who, but three short months previously, was a 
steady-going warehouseman in the town of Peebles, doing his day's 
work quietly and conscientiously, and with no thought of war in his 
mind. What better epitaph for George Anderson than that quoted 
above: — "One of the best drivers in the battery!" 

He was not married ; but left a devoted sweetheart in Walkerburn 
to mourn for him with loving pride. 

Rejoice, ye dead, where'er your spirits dwell, 
Rejoice that yet on earth your fame is bright, 
And that your names, remembered day and night, 
Live on the lips of those who love you well. 


Private GEORGE Dick. 

1914 STAR. 


5 . private George 2>icfc. 

Cameron flrigblan&ers. 

1914 — November 16. 

DIED on 16th November 1914, at Boulogne Hospital, France, from 
wounds received in action, Private GEORGE DICK, 2nd Camerons, aged 
33, beloved husband of Mary Burton, Peebles, and fifth son of Robert 
Dick, Edston Cottages, Peebles. 

Private Dick, whose parents lived at Edston, enlisted in the 
Cameron Highlanders at the time of the Boer War, when he was 18 
years of age, and served with his regiment in South Africa during 
part of that campaign. He was eight years in all with the Colours, 
being in the Reserve for the other six years. On the outbreak of 
war, he was called up with other Reservists, and left Invergordon for 
the Front on his birthday, 23rd September. 

Private Dick was employed in March Street Mills for some years, 
but had gone to work in Damdale Mill just a few weeks before the 
outbreak of hostilities. 

While in the Camerons, he won a swimming certificate at Malta, 
and after the inauguration of the Boy Scout movement he took 
considerable interest in that organisation. 

Private Dick was married for five years before his death, and 
left a widow and three young children, for whom much sympathy 
was felt. Two of his wife's brothers — Burtons — fell later, and also 
one of his own brothers — Joseph. 

At the time Private Dick received his wounds the Germans had 
been showing much dogged obstinacy in their ineffectual attacks on 
the British lines. The fighting on the Yser was being confined mostly 
to artillery duels, but more land had been flooded, and the Germans 
driven back to Dixmude. 

Say what life would theirs have been that it should make you weep for them, 

A small grey world imprisoning the wings of their desire? 
Happier than they could tell who knew not life would keep for them 

Fragments of the high Romance, the old heroic fire. 
All they dreamed of childishly, bravery and fame for them, 

Charges at the cannon's mouth, enemies they slew, 
Bright across the waking world their romances came for them: 

Is not life a little price when our dreams come true ? 



Bombardier GEORGE J. HODGE. 

1914 STAR. 


6. Bombardier ©corse 3amcs Ibooge. 

IRcval 3ficlC> artillcvv?. 

1914 — November 17. 

INFORMATION was received in Peebles in December 1914 that 
Bombardier GEORGE JAMES HODGE, of the Royal Field Artillery, had 
been killed in France. He was a stepson of Sergeant-Instructor 
Robert Nestor, who was at one time superintendent of Peebles Church 
of Scotland Labour Home, afterwards proceeding to Australia, where, 
after the outbreak of war, he acted as a drill instructor. 

Bombardier Hodge was born in Brecon, Wales, in 1890. His 
father, a soldier (Sergeant in the South Wales Borderers), died in 1891. 
His mother then married Sergeant Nestor, and went out to India. 
They came back to Scotland in 1903. George wished to be a soldier, 
and when he was 16 he went to Glasgow and joined the R.F.A. He 
went to France with the first contingent when war was declared, and 
was killed at Ypres on the 17th November, while he was at the 
telephone. He was aged 24 when he was killed. His life was very 
uneventful, but he was a steady boy : he did not smoke, drink, or 
swear, but lived an even life. His stepfather was arranging to buy 
him out of the Army, so that he might rejoin his relatives in Australia, 
when war broke out. 

East and west and north, wherever the battle grew, 
As men to a feast we fared, the work of the Will to do. 
Who says that we shall pass, or the fame of us fade and die, 
While the living stars fulfil their round in the living sky? 



Lance-Corporal JOHN C. Brockie. 

1914 STAR. 


7. Xanoxlorporal 3obn C. Brockie. 

Seafovtb Ibigblan&evs. 

1914 — November 19. 
DURING the month of November 1914 the progress of the Allies on the 
Western Front had been slow but steady, in spite of repeated German 
counter attacks. They had made another great effort to take Ypres, 
but had been repulsed. On the 10th the most furious fighting prevailed 
in Flanders, and the full force of the German attacks were launched 
on the British. But the British continued holding their own. By the 
Ilth, the Germans had gained some points and had taken Dixmude. 
By the I2th, the losses of the British had become very heavy, but the 
defence of Ypres continued to be one of the greatest in history. By 
the 13th, further attempts of the enemy were being repulsed, and the 
whole fighting was less violent, the Germans being driven back at 
Dixmude by the 16th. On the 18th, bombardments and isolated 
infantry attacks characterised the fighting, and the British Army 
maintained all its positions. On the 19th of November, Lance- 
Corporal JOHN C. BROCKIE fell fighting on this Front. 

Mrs E. Brockie, 54 Northgate, Peebles, received official intimation 
from the Infantry Record Office, Perth, concerning the death of her 
second eldest son, Lance-Corporal John C. Brockie, of the 1st Battalion 
Seaforth Highlanders. The intimation stated that he had died on 
19th November of gunshot wounds received in the chest while in 
action. Accompanying the intimation was a printed letter of sympathy 
from Lord Kitchener on behalf of- the King and Queen. 

The deceased, who was married, and 25 years of age, had been in 
the Seaforth Highlanders for about seven years, and was stationed in 
India for five years, arriving in France during October with the 
Indian Expeditionary Force. Previous to enlisting he was employed 
in Peebles as a vanboy. While in India, he was one of the 
office-bearers of the Duke of Albany's I.O.G.T. Lodge, No. D30, 1st 
Seaforths. The deceased had a younger brother, Andrew, in the 8th 
Battalion The Royal Scots. 

I, with uncovered head, 

Salute the sacred dead. 
Who went, and who return not. Say not so! 
We rather seem the dead that stayed behind. 
Blow, trumpets, all your exultations blow! 
For never shall their aureoled Presence lack. 
I see them muster in a gleaming row, 
With ever youthful brows that nobler show. . . . 
Secure from change in their high-hearted ways, 
Beautiful evermore, and with the rays 
Of morn on their white Shields of Expectation. 



Private JOHN HEUGH. 

1914 STAR. 


8. lprivatc 3obn Ibeugb. 

3BIacK XUatcb. 

1914 — November 21. 

IN the closing days of November 1914 Archibald Heugh, JA George 
Street, Peebles, received information that his eldest son, Private JOHN 
HEUGH, the Black Watch, had died in Boulogne Hospital on 2 1st 
November, as the result of wounds received in action, which were 
caused by a bullet breaking his left arm and thereafter penetrating 
right across his chest. Deceased, who was 21 years of age, enlisted 
in the Black Watch regiment in the spring of 1914. Previous to 
enlisting, he was employed as a grocer in Peebles Co-Operative Society. 
His younger brother, James, was in the 8th Battalion The Royal Scots. 

Because we led, a little while, 

The changing vanguard line; 
Because we toiled, and left our work 

To be another's gain; 
Because our names have lived awhile 

For that which we have done; 
Remember us when we have gone, 

Whose race is past and run. 



1914 STAR. 


9. private 3ames Brockie. 

Cameron Ibigblan&ers. 

19 14 — November 21. 

IN the middle of November 1914 the fighting on the left wing of the 
Western Front continued very violent, and was what might be called 
of a backward and forward nature. The British losses were very- 
severe, but those of the Germans were more so. The defence of Ypres 
continued to be stubbornly persisted in. On the Aisne, the Germans 
had failed to recapture positions taken by the French some clays before. 

It was at this time that Private JAMES BROCKIE was wounded in 
action at Ypres, passing away in hospital at Brussels on the 2lst day 
of November 1914. His father was John M. Brockie, 27 Rosetta Road, 
Peebles, a gardener by occupation. For some days Private Brockie 
had been reported as missing, and his wife and relatives had to endure 
all the anxiety connected with that ominous term, only to be ended by 
official intimation that he had died on the 21st November. He was 
a Reservist, employed at Wishaw, rejoining his regiment on the out- 
break of war. He left a widow and four children. 

The Cameron Highlanders, to which he was attached, suffered 
severe losses at this time in the war, and nobly maintained the great 
traditions of the regiment in the darkest hours of battle. 

Men from the plough, the mart, the mill, and the street, 
They run: they are heroes: the fire fuses them all. 
Head uplifted and proud, like heroes they step, 
Singing their battle song in the troubled dawn 
Of the day of Liberty, flaming torch of the world. 



Captain Barrington Hope Baird. 

19i4 STAR. 


io. Captain Bamngton Ibope :Baiit>. 

1biciblan& Xisbt 3-nfantrg. 

1914 — December 21. 

IT was reported that Captain BARRINGTON HOPE BAIRD, of the 1st 
Battalion, Highland Light Infantry, had been killed during the fighting 
round Ypres on the 2lst December. Captain Baird was well-known 
in Peebles, being the younger son of the late Hugh Baird, of 
Woodleigh, Cheltenham, formerly of Glasgow, and a grandson of the 
late Rev. George H. Monilaws, D.D., parish minister of Peebles. 
Captain Baird was born in 1876, and was educated at St Ninians 
(Moffat), Cargilfield, and Fettes College. He originally held a 

commission in the Royal Submarine Miners, Clyde Division. On 
the outbreak of the South African War, he was appointed to a 
commission in the 2nd Battalion of the Highland Light Infantry, and 
he served with them until January 1914, when he was transferred to 
the 1st Battalion, then stationed at Umbala, in India. During the 
previous five years, however, he was seconded for service with the 
Territorial Army, and held the appointments of Adjutant to the 10th 
(Cyclists') Battalion, Royal Scots, with headquarters at Linlithgow, for 
two years, and afterwards, for three years, of Adjutant to the 9th 
Battalion of the Highland Light Infantry (Glasgow Highlanders). 
Captain Baird married Evelyn, eldest daughter of Mr James Millar, 
M.V.O., W.S., Edinburgh. 

But for those Valiant Souls who held the Ways, 

This fate had been our own, 
And in the fierce red rush of those first days 

We had been thrown. 

Honour the Mighty Ones who kept the Ways 

At such stupendous cost, 
And with God's help, and to the world's amaze, 

Held that vast host! 

Honour the Gallant Ones who held the Ways! 

Let no man e'er forget 
That, but for them, we were within an ace 

Of this same fate. 

Honour these Younger Sons who hold the Ways! 

Britain, can you forget 
All they have suffered ? Then, with heart of grace, 

Pay your high debt! 


Private Thomas A. Wilson. 

1914 STAR. 


ii. private Sbomas H. Milson. 

IRogal Scots. 

1914 — December 22. 

INFORMATION was received in Peebles, on 28th December 19 14, that 
Private TOM WILSON, of G Company, 8th Royal Scots, had been 
killed at the front on the 22nd December. He was struck by a piece 
of shrapnel from a shell while engaged in the trenches, and death was 
instantaneous. Private Wilson served his apprenticeship as a joiner 
with Messrs Renwick & Weir, Moffat's Croft, with whom he was 
employed when the war broke out. He went to the front with the 
Foreign Service Battalion at the beginning of November, and was the 
only member of G Company killed in action up to the date stated. 
He resided with his parents at 42 George Street, his father, Andrew 
Wilson, being a signalman on the North British Railway. 

Writing home from " Somewhere," France, 29th December, a 
Peebles Territorial gave some particulars as to how Private Wilson 
met his death. He said: — "The Peebles Company had been in the 
trenches six days, and, despite the strain, they looked very robust, 
even considering they had had a little 'Wipers' of their own the 
previous evening — a night the like of which our chaps say it was 
impossible to realise — shells bursting and bullets whistling all around; 
but nevertheless every man stuck to his post and worked like a hero. 
Peebles Company sustained not a single casualty, but, unfortunately, 
that record went by the board soon after being relieved. We were 
getting company drill when suddenly a shell burst. Instantly we 
scattered, and two other shells burst ere we got to cover, and another 
half dozen exploded after we reached our safety trench, where we sat 
laughing as shell after shell burst. After the firing ceased we went 
back to our billet to enjoy our Christmas presents — of which there were 
a great number. All around there was a Christmassy feeling ; it 
wanted only two days to Christmas. We had thought everyone 
had escaped injury, but news arrived, which cast a gloom over us, 
that Private Thomas A. Wilson had been killed. Poor Tommy ! He 
had got separated somehow, and a shrapnel bullet got him just under 
the right eye, death being instantaneous. Six of us were detailed off 
to perform the last duty to the dead, and though none of us could trust 
ourselves to say a prayer aloud as we laid him in his last resting- 
place, inwardly, I believe, we each uttered a silent prayer. We 
saluted, and with heavy hearts we left Tommy in his lonely grave, 
with a rude cross erected to mark where he lies." 



The following is Private Wilson's last letter to his parents (written 
the day before he was killed) : — "We have been in the trenches for a 
week now in bad weather, which has made the trenches in a horrible 
mess. We had it a bit hard in the way of firing on the 18th, and as 
we expected an attack we had to batter at the Germans for a long 
time. The shells were going at some tune. The way we kept up the 
firing was very good : some of the Regulars would hardly believe that 
a Territorial Force could do it. None of our company were hit, 
and, so far, I am glad to say there are no casualties among the 
Peebles boys. We are all quite happy, and to hear us singing in the 
trenches you would think we were miles away from the firing line. I 
was standing beside Bob Mulholland when he was cut above the eye 
by a bullet hitting the ground and causing some earth to rise in the 
-air, hitting him with such force that he fell stunned." 


No mother's voice soothed his ear, 
Or whispered sweet words of peace ; 
The farewell of the guns alone he could hear, 
When the spirit found release. 

No happy home was nigh, 
No rooftree covered his head ; 
But the curtains of night from the arch of the sky 
Hung round his lowly bed. 

No friend closed his eyes when he died, 
Nor weeping-watch o'er him kept ; 
But the wailing winds his requiem sighed 
And the clouds their chilly tears wept. 

No prayer ascended on high, 
As prostrate in death he lay, 
But the Heaven of prayer heard the cry 
Of loved ones far away. 

No welcome awaits him home, 
From the well-won field of strife, 
But we know that a day of re-union will come 
And the dawn of an endless life. 

R. Mulholland 

(Fell May 16, 1915.) 



We had forgotten You or very nearly — 

You did not seem to touch us very nearly — 

Of course we thought about You now and then: 

Especially in any time of trouble — 

We knew that You were good in time of trouble — 

But we are very ordinary men. 

And there were always other things to think of — 
There's lots of things a man has got to think of — 
His work, his home, his pleasure, and his wife: 
And so we only thought of You on Sunday — 
Sometimes, perhaps not even on a Sunday — 
Because there's always lots to fill one's life. 

And all the while, in street, or lane, or by-way — 

In country lane, in city street, or by-way — 

You walked among us and we did not see. 

Your feet were bleeding as You walked our pavements 

How did we miss Your Footprints on our pavements ? 

Can there be other folk as blind as we ? 

Now we remember: over here in Flanders — 
(It isn't strange to think of You in Flanders) — 
This hideous warfare seems to make things clear, 
We never thought about You much in England — 
But now that we are far away from England 
We have no doubts, we know that You are near. 

You helped us pass the jest along the trenches — 
Where in cold blood we waited in the trenches — 
You touched its ribaldry and made it fine. 
You stood beside us in our pain and weakness — 
We're glad to think You understand our weakness — 
Somehow it seems to help us not to whine. 

We think about You kneeling in the Garden — 

Ah! God! the agony of that dread Garden — 

We know You prayed for us upon the Cross. 

If anything could make us glad to bear it — 

'T would be the knowledge that You willed to bear it — 

Pain — death — the uttermost of human loss. 

Though we forgot You — You will not forget us — 

We feel so sure that You will not forget us — 

But stay with us until this dream is past. 

And so we ask for courage — strength and pardon — 

Especially, I think we ask for pardon — 

And that You'll stand beside us at the last. 



1914 STAR. 

Private JOHN LYON. 


12. private 3obn Xpon. 

"Ibtcjblanc Xuibt infantes; transferred to XLhc IRoval Scots. 

1915 — January 4. 
NONE of the major actions of the war were taking place in the 
beginning of 191 5 ; but there were numerous artillery duels on all 
the Fronts. It was in one of these that JOHN LYON was mortally 
wounded, having been shot through the head. 

His father was Matthew Lyon, formerly living in the Northgate, 
Peebles, but who had removed to Lanark. John was then 

employed in the Post Office at Peebles. He was a pleasant boy, 
of quiet and kindly manner. But when war broke out there was no 
one more desirous of getting to the Front. He enlisted first of all in 
the Lanark Company of the Highland Light Infantry, but with the 
view of proceeding quickly to the seat of war, John transferred to the 
8th Royal Scots. His gallant career was cut short at the age of 19. 

There is no death ! What seems so is transition ; 

This life of mortal breath 
Is but a suburb of the life Elysian, 

Whose portal we call death. 



Lance-Corporal James D. Frame. 

1914- STAR. 


13. XancoCorporal James Bcmafoson Jframe. 

TRoval Scots. 

1915 — January 14. 

PRIVATE JAMES FRAME, who was 27 years of age, was the youngest 
son of James Frame, Gowanlea, Venlaw Road, Peebles, and a 
nephew of Deputy Chief Constable Dickson, Peebles. Before going 
out to France with the Service Company, Private Frame was employed 
in the warehouse of Messrs Lowe, Donald & Co. He was one of those 
patriotic young men who in the beginning signed on for the duration 
of the war. 

When at the Front he was attached to a company of bomb-throwers, 
and was struck down by a shell. His was a cheerful disposition, which 
made him popular with all, and he was a "sticker" the whole time. His 
officer stated that he was quite one of the best men in the company, 
and that his name had been put down for promotion. He was one of 
the three soldiers specially selected for bomb-throwing. The original 
Territorial soldiers, coming all from the same districts, were like one 
large family or clan. All were well known to one another, and this 
fact increased the sorrow of comrades when one of their number fell. 
Much fighting, of an inconclusive nature, was taking place around 

A brother, by name Robert, was yet to fall, on 2lst March 1918. 

Here lies the clerk who half his life had spent 
Toiling at ledgers in a burgh grey, 
Thinking that so his days would drift away 
With no lance broken in life's tournament ; 
Yet ever 'twixt the books and his bright eyes 
The gleaming eagles of the legions came, 
And horsemen, charging under phantom skies, 
Went thundering past beneath the oriflamme. 

And now those waiting dreams are satisfied; 
From twilight to the halls of dawn he went; 
His lance is broken; but he lies content 
With that high hour, in which he lived and died. 
And falling thus, he wants no recompense, 
Who found his battle in the last resort; 
Nor needs he any hearse to bear him hence, 
Who goes to join the Men of Agincourt! 


The Battle of Neuve Chapelle. 

1915— March 9-15. 
ON the night preceding the avalanche of men and metal all was 
synchronised, nothing being left to chance. With the l/8th Royal 
Scots all was in a state of preparedness. Headquarters were in a 
house in the small village of Picantin, situated at a "T" road. 
Opposite lay B Company in a farm 600 yards in rear of the front 
line trench. Midway two redoubts were manned, A, C, and D 
Companies garrisoning the front line trench. On the battalion's 
immediate left were the Canadians. On the right were other battalions 
of the 22nd Brigade, of which brigade the 8th Royal Scots was a unit 
(the 22nd Brigade was included in the immortal 7th Division of glorious 
fame, the bulwark of the first battle of Ypres). Further to the right 
was the 8th (Lahore) Division. 

The trench occupied by the 8th Royal Scots was what is called a 
high command trench, which in reality is not a trench, but sand-bags 
built upon the ground level, forming a parapet the necessary height. 
In this instance the parapet was extremely low, chest-high at some 
places, and during the day the boys had to crouch low, because to 
show a head meant another victim to the sniper. 

From ten o'clock on the evening of the 9th, the infantry assembled 
in the March night. Every trench and ditch was full of them, masses 
of expectant men burning for the order for the long-delayed advance. 
Hot meals were served out all along the line, and, like the soldiers of 
the Revolution, they had hot coffee before sunrise. Then came a 
period of tense silence. Waiting under arms is a nervous business at 
best, and doubly trying was such waiting as this, with the unconscious 
enemy a hundred yards away, and all hell leashed in the great guns 
beyond. Down the line from Armentieres to La Bassee, there was the 
same eager anticipation 

On the morning of the 10th March, at 7.30, punctually to a second, 
the silence was torn by a pandemonium of sound. It split the ears 
and rent the Heavens, so that our troops, crouching under cover, were 
dazed and maddened by the brain-racking concussions. . . . Barbed 
wire entanglements were sliced through, parapets, the work of months, 
were crumbled like sand castles, and horrid fragments of mortality 

blew back upon us with the lyddite wreaths Then 

the two battalions of the 25th Brigade swept into the battered 
streets, in which every German was soon dead or captured. What had 
once been a village was now only a rubbish heap. The church 
was a broken shard, and the churchyard, horribly ploughed up by our 


fire, showed the long-dead in their graves. The ground was yellow 
with lyddite, the fruit trees and the oaks were torn up by the roots, 
and over the desolation in the churchyard and at the cross-roads 
loomed two gaunt crucifixes, which, by some miracle, had escaped 
destruction to point an ironic moral 

We may set down first the substantial gains: — On a front of 
three miles we had advanced more than a mile, and the former sag in 
our line was now replaced by a pronounced sag in the enemy's. We 
had not won the ridges dominating Lille, but we had pushed our 
trenches close up to them, and we had given the enemy a bad fit of 
nerves as to his whole position in the plain of the Scheldt. During 
the three days' fight at Neuve Chapelle, Lille, suffered from something 

like a panic We had made some 2000 prisoners, several 

thousand dead were left on the battlefield, and the total German 
casualties were little less than 20,000. Our own casualties for the 
three clays' fighting were just on 13,000, of whom 2337 men and 190 
officers were killed. 

Neuve Chapelle was a success, but the price was disproportionate. 
A plan which might have given us Lille only gave us Neuve Chapelle, 
and this at an expense of life which should have won the greater 



1914 STAR. 



14. private IRobert nDillar. 

Cameron Ibigblan&ers. 

191 5 — March 26. 
ONE morning Mrs Robert Millar, residing at 8 Eastgate, Peebles, received 
a post card from her son ROBERT, who was a Private in the Cameron 
Highlanders, stating that he was wounded, but was getting on all 
right. On the reverse side of the card, written in German, were the 
words — "Sent by the prisoner from the field," and stamped "Erfurt, 
October 7th," while on the reverse side was the official stamp stating 
that the card had been "Examined, Reserve Hospital, Leipzig School, 
Erfurt." The receipt of this post card showed that Private Millar, who 
was aged 20, had been wounded and made prisoner. He had 
been removed far from the scene of the battlefield, as Erfurt, in 
Saxony, occupies a central position in Germany. 

The next intimation which the anxious parents received was 
conveyed to them upon another post card, written on the 6th of April, 
from the Prisoners' Camp, Langensalza, Germany, by a companion 
named Private W. Robertson, of the Cameron Highlanders, who, after 
pencilling a black border around the card, wrote — "DEAR MRS MILLAR, 
— I am sorry to inform you of your son's death. He died on the 26th 
March; he had been in hospital only for three days when he burst 
a blood vessel in the head. I think that it was owing to the effects 
of the wound, he having been wounded through both cheeks. With 
my being a pal of his, before he died he told me to take the money 
and parcels belonging to him. This I have done, but will refund the 
value of the parcels and the money when I return." 

Private Millar had enlisted in the Cameron Highlanders two years 
previously. When he was wounded and made prisoner, the Germans 
were making furious attacks on the Allies' lines, all of which had been 
repulsed. The 4th of October was the twenty-fourth day of the battle 
of the Aisne, and it continued raging for many days onward. 

There's many a man of the Cameron Clan, 

That has followed his Chief to the field; 
He has sworn to support him or die by his side, 

For a Cameron never can yield. 

Oh! proudly they walk, but each Cameron knows 

He may tread on the heather no more; 
But boldly he follows his Chief to the field, 

Where his laurels were gathered before. 

The moon has arisen, it shines on that path 

Now trod by the gallant and true ; 
High, high are their hopes, for their Chieftain has said, 

That whatever men dare, they can do. 




15. private Hleyanfcer fliMcbic. 

Cameron "Ibigblanoere (Caitaoian). 

1915— April 23. 

OFFICIAL intimation was received by Alex. Michie, Old Town, Peebles, 
concerning his eldest son, Private ALEX. MlCHIE, 79th Cameron 
Highlanders (Canadian Contingent), stating that, in view of the long 
period during which Private Michie had been missing and unheard 
of, the War Office now posted him as having died on or after 23rd 
April 1915. He was with his regiment when it gallantly recaptured 
four guns from the Germans. 

Private Michie, who was posted missing in May 1915, after the 
Hill 60 fight, was 27 years of age, and became joint-proprietor of the 
Roland News, Roland, Manitoba. A year later, when war broke out, 
both he and his partner, George Inglis, also a Peeblean, and youngest 
son of John Inglis, Innerleithen Road, Peebles, enlisted at Winnipeg 
in the same regiment. He trained for a short time at Valcartier. then 
left on 3rd October for Salisbury Plain, and was in training there 
until February 191 5, when he left for France. He went amissing at 
Langemarck. Previous to emigrating to Canada, Private Michie — who 
was a noted Border runner, and carried off many prizes at various 
race meetings in Scotland — was employed as a compositor in the 
office of the Peeblesshire Advertiser, Peebles. 

Private Michie's only brother, William, a private in the 5th 
Seaforth Highlanders, fell on 7th September 1917. 

The news with regard to Ypres was rather confusing at the time. 
It was stated that while we still retained ground which we had captured 
at Hill 60 on the previous Saturday, the Germans had made a sudden 
swoop from the north; and the French troops, overcome by poison gas, 
had been compelled to retreat. It was at that time that we lost some 
heavy guns. The Allies were forced to fall back between Steenstratte 
and Langemarck, and the Canadians, of whom Private Michie was 
a gallant member, made a most brilliant and successful advance, 
recapturing the guns, and taking many German prisoners. The losses 
of the Canadians were very heavy, but the Allies were enabled to 
press home their counter-attacks with success. The Canadians, by their 
heroic stand, definitely turned the tide in the battle for the coast. Very 
many of them lost their lives, not from wounds only, but from poison 
gas, now used by the unscrupulous enemy. 

Private Michie was the first of the gallant and patriotic Canadian- 
Peebles boys to fall in defence of the Motherland. 


They came in their splendid Battalions 

When the Motherland gave the sign, 
From ranch and orchard and farmland, 

From factory, office, and mine; 
From the land of the warm-hued maple leaf 

And the flaming golden rod, 
Where a man stakes all on the task in hand, 

And gives his soul to God. 

O torn and broken Battalions, 

When you've played your splendid part, 
You will take back there to your Homeland 

A bit of old Britain's heart: 
In the land of the warm-hued maple leaf 

And the flaming golden rod, 
We shall face, with you, the task in hand, 

And leave the rest to God. 


The Second Battle of Ypres. 

1 91 5— April 20-May 24. 

ON the 20th April, on the right of the French to a point north-east of 
Zonnebeke, lay the Canadian Division, under General Alderson, 
General Turner's 3rd Brigade on the left, and General Currie's 2nd 
Brigade on the right. On this Tuesday, the 20th, the bombardment of 
Ypres began. The destruction of the city served no military purpose 
in itself, but it heralded an attack on the section between the canal 
and the Menin Road. At 6.30 on the evening of Thursday the 22nd, 
the Germans let loose wave upon wave of poisoned gas. With 
amazement the Canadians saw Zouaves and Turcos bearing down upon 
them with heaving chests and lips speechless with agony. They, too, 
were overtaken by the devilish torture, and the instant result was a 
four-mile breach in the Allied Front. Through this gap the Germans 
poured. The loth and the 16th Battalions of the Canadians were 
brought forward and flung into the breach. The 1st and 4th Ontario 
Canadians charged the German position in the gap. They carried 
the first German shelter trenches, and held them until relief came two 
days later. A wilder battle has rarely been witnessed than the 
struggle of that April night. The Canadian left struggled to entrench 
itself under counter attacks. The 3rd Canadian Brigade did not break. 
The 48th Highlanders, who bore the brunt of the gas, recovered 
themselves and regained their position. The Royal Highlanders did 
not give ground at all. Very early on Friday morning the first British 
reinforcements arrived in the gap. 

On 24th April, at 3.30 in the morning, there came the second 
great gas attack. This day saw the height of the Canadian battle. 
British Battalions were being rushed up as fast as they could be 
collected. On Sunday, 25th April, an attempt was made to retake 
St Julien. Monday, the 26th, was a clay of constant and critical 
fighting. The 2nd Canadian Brigade were ordered back to the line; 
at night they were relieved; and by Thursday the whole Division was 
withdrawn from the Ypres salient. The blood-stained segment 
between the Poelcapelle and Zonnebeke roads will remain the Holy 
Land of Canadian arms. Night and clay fighting continued. By the 
3rd of May the time came to shorten the line. On 8th and 9th May 
our line was pushed back. By 24th May we still held the Ypres 
salient, but much diminished. The balance of success was on the 
German side, but the moral gain was ours. In this salient there are 
not fewer than 100,000 graves of Allied soldiers. 


Major David R. Sandeman. 


16. flftajor iDavto IRtcbarfcson Sanbeman. 

Canadian Contingent. 

191 5 — April 24-26. 
REPORTED missing and presumed killed at the second battle of Ypres, 
April 191 5, David Richardson Sandeman, Major, 5th Battalion, 2nd 
Infantry Brigade, 1st Canadian Contingent, of Pine Lake, Alberta, son 
of the late Richard Sandeman and Elizabeth Gill, aged 35. 

Major Sandeman was born at Lenzie, on 27th January 1880. He 
was educated at the Albany Academy, Glasgow, and King William's 
College, Isle of Man. He served his apprenticeship with Messrs D. 
Ballantyne & Co., March Street Mills, Peebles; but becoming interested 
and enthusiastic about the Canadian West, he went to Pine Lake, 
Alberta, in the spring of 1904, and took up virgin land and brought 
it under cultivation. His quick brain and clever hands stood him in 
good stead in a land where one has to do so much unaided. 

As a boy he had been an officer in Peebles Boys' Brigade, and was 
later a member of the Peeblesshire Volunteers. When a troop of 
Light Horse was organised at Pine Lake he at once joined, and went 
to Calgary each June for the annual training, and had taken his 
commission and become Major of the 35th Central Alberta Light Horse 
before the outbreak of war. 

When war was declared he trained his men at Red Deer until the 
camp at Valcartier was ready for use. When it was found that 
cavalry were not being accepted from Canada his men all volunteered 
as infantry, and came to Salisbury Plain with the 5th Battalion 
Canadian Infantry, First Contingent, in October 1914. The Canadians 
went to France in the early clays of 191 5, and their first big 
engagement was at Ypres, 22nd April 191 5, when Major Sandeman 
was very seriously wounded. The battalion fell back; but the doctor 
remained in the dressing station with two wounded officers and fourteen 
men, hoping" to have them removed by ambulance. Unfortunately 
the dressing-station fell into the enemy's hands, and the doctor was 
taken prisoner, and it was believed that Major Sandeman was also a 
prisoner; but later information showed that the dressing-station was 
retaken, and most of the men and both officers had died. 

We are coming, Mother, coming, we are coming home to fight, 
To defend the Empire's honour, to uphold the Empire's might. 
From the plains of Manitoba, from the diggings of the Rand, 
We are coming, Mother Britain, coming home to lend a hand. 
From the islands and the highlands fast across the Seven Seas; 
Look where'er the sun is shining, and your Flag is in the breeze. 
We'll prove our breed in your hour of need, and teach the bally Huns, 
Who strike at Britain, they must reckon likewise with her sons. 


The Battle of the Landing: The Australians. 

191 5— Sunday Morning, April 25. 

THAT Sunday morning was one of those which delight the traveller 
in April in the ^Egean, . . . clear skies, still seas, and the fresh 
invigorating warmth of spring. On the Gallipoli Peninsula, round 
about Cape Helles, were five little beaches, where landings took place. 
On the north side was Gaba Tepe, and the landing here was entrusted 
to the Australian and New Zealand troops. At one in the morning 
the ships arrive at a point five miles from the Gallipoli shores; at 
1.20 the boats are lowered; but the Australians are carried in 
destroyers, which take them close in to shore near Gaba Tepe. At 
5 A.M. the boats are in shallow water, under the cliffs, and the men 
are leaping ashore. A blaze of rifle fire comes from the Turkish 
trenches on the beach, and the first comers charge them with the 
bayonet. The whole cliff leaps into life, for everywhere trenches and 
caverns have been dug in the slopes. The 3rd Brigade of the 
Australians, under Colonel Sinclair Maclagan, carry the lines on the 
beach with cold steel, and find themselves looking up at a steep cliff 
a hundred feet high. The Australians scale the cliffs like chamois. 
They reach the top, and entrench the crest by 7 A.M. 

Landings are taking place at all the other beaches; the collier 
River Clyde discharges the Hampshires and Munsters from a door cut 
in her side on to Beach W. By noon at Gaba Tepe, 10,000 
Australians are ashore. They have pushed too far on, and have come 
within sight of The Narrows on the other side of the peninsula, 
This rash attack is pushed back with heavy losses; but we are firmly 
placed at Gaba Tepe. On the 26th, at 10 A.M., the Australians 
are facing a counter attack by the Turks. It lasted for two hours, 
and was joined in by a great bombardment from our ships. The end 
comes when the Australians and New Zealanders counter attack with 
the bayonet and drive back the enemy. So ended the first stage of 
the Battle of the Landing, a fight without precedent. The dash and 
doggedness of the Australasian troops will ever cause this landing 
to be acclaimed as a mighty feat of arms. 

The record of Australia in the war makes a splendid and amazing 
story. Some 420,000 soldiers were raised, over one-twelfth of the 
population of the continent; and 320,000 of them came overseas to 
fight. Of these 58,035 were killed. 

Australia had two April 25th's of imperishable memory. On 25th 
April 1915, men of the 1st Australian Division, supported by a mixed 
Australian and New Zealand Division, landed at Gallipoli and made 



their attack up the cliffs of Anzac. Mr John Masefield wrote of them — 
"There was no thought of surrender in those marvellous young men ; 
they were the flower of this world's manhood, and died as they had 
lived, owning no master on earth." 

Then on 24th April 1918, the eve of the battle of Villers- 
Bretonneux, the cry went along the Australian trenches, "Remember 
Anzac Day. Now smash the Germans!" How well it was done 
everybody knows. The brilliant recapture of the position marked 
definitely the failure of the Germans to reach Amiens, and the final 
breakdown of their plans to separate the British and French Armies. 

The next important achievement of the Australians came with the 
operations of 8th August 1918. For some time the Australian infantry 
had been making small spearhead pushes. Marshal Foch gave them 
a great chance. 

The British were battling to the north, the French to the south. 
Between the two was thrust the spearhead of 85,000 Australians and 
80,000 Canadians, with British and Canadian cavalry and British tanks. 
The spear was driven home with such success that Ludendorff 
confessed that after the fighting of 8th and 9th August a German 
military victory was impossible. 


Private Robert Glasgow. 


17. private IRobert tf5lasoow. 

Australian imperial fforce. 

1915— April 25. 

KILLED in action at the Dardanelles, 25th April 1915, Private ROBERT 
GLASGOW, of the Australian Imperial Force, only son of the Rev. 
Robert Glasgow, minister of Invertiel, Kirkcaldy, and grandson of the 
late James Ker, Peebles. Private Glasgow was born in Kirkcaldy, 
and educated at the High School there, afterwards serving his 
apprenticeship with Douglas & Grant, engineers, Kirkcaldy. He held 
important situations in Burmah and Australia, and was in the latter 
country when war was declared. He at once joined the Australian 
Imperial Force, and with the first contingent from Australia he was 
kept in Egypt for some time. 

He fell on 25th April at the never-to-be-forgotten Gallipoli landing. 
As his battalion was amongst the first to land, they were nearly wiped 
out, and after his officer had been shot they were ordered to retire. 

His officers paid high tribute to his noble, bright, and eager spirit, 
which he manifested throughout all the months of hard training. 

We are coming, Mother, coming — save a good place at the Front; 
Where the battle rages fiercest, let your children bear the brunt. 
'Tis a long way from Australia, and we've earned the right to stand 
In the first ranks, Mother Britain — have your orders when we land. 
From the islands and the highlands, from the outposts of the earth, 
On a hundred ships we hasten to your side to prove our worth. 
We've come to stick through thick or thin, and woe betide the ones 
Who dare to smirch the Mother-might, forgetting of the sons. 

4 6 




is. Drummer M. JDorkston, 

IRogal Scots. 

1915— April 26. 
ON Monday evening, 26th April 1915. the mutilated body of a soldier 
was found lying on the railway line, near Peebles Goods Station, 
situated about 50 yards from Peebles North British Railway Station! 
It was thought that the man was killed by the 9.40 P.M. passenger train 
to Galashiels. On the body being examined, it was found to be that 
of Drummer W. YORKSTON (No. 965), Edinburgh, a member of the 6th 
Royal Scots, who was attached to the 8th Royal Scots, with whom he 
went to the Front. Yorkston, who was survived by his widow and 
three children, had been invalided home, and had reported himself 
at the headquarters of the 8th at Peebles, after which he continued 
staying in Peebles. The deceased soldier, who was 38 years of age, 
was given a military funeral. Over 200 members of B Company 
of the 3/'8th Royal Scots, who formed an escort, lined the pathway 
of the cemetery from the mortuary to the graveside as the coffin was 
carried for interment in the new portion of Peebles Cemetery. The 
coffin was covered with the Union Jack, upon which rested the deceased 
soldier's glengarry and belt. As the procession wended its way 
through the cemetery the Pipe Band of the 3/8th Royal Scots played 
" Lochaber no More." The funeral service was conducted by Rev. 
Dr Martin, Chaplain to the troops at Peebles. At the conclusion of 
the service a firing party of twelve, supplied by B Company of the 
3'8th Royal Scots, fired a salute of three volleys over the open grave. 

O God of battles. I pray you send 
No word of pity— no help, no friend, 
That if my spirit break at the end 
None may be there to see. 

4 8 




19. private 3obn Stobact. 

Canadian IbtgblanDcrs. 

1915— April 29. 

SOME months after his decease, intelligence came to hand of the 
death in Germany, as the result of wounds received in action, of 
Private JOHN STODART, of the 48th Highlanders, First Canadian 
Contingent. He was the only son of Mr and Mrs A. Stodart, 
of 293 Westmoreland Avenue, Toronto, but now of 902 Dovercourt 
Road there. Private Stodart was but 22 years of age. He was 
born in Glasgow, on the 1st of March 1893. He was educated at 
Peebles Burgh and County High School, residing during his school 
life with his mother's aunt, Mrs Thomson, Park View, Springhill, 

In 1906 he went out to Canada along with his parents, and was 
engaged in the electroplating business when war broke out. 

Like so many other Scottish Canadians, he promptly responded to 
the call to take up arms in defence of the Motherland, enlisting on 
the 10th of August 1914, when the war was but six days begun. On 
the 3rd of October he left Canada for Britain, and landed at Plymouth 
on the 14th October, later proceeding to Salisbury Plain, where the 
greater part of his training was received. 

Private Stodart went to France on the I2th of February 1915. He 
fought with the Canadians in the battle of Ypres in April, and 
it was after this battle that he was reported missing. He had been 
gassed, wounded, and taken prisoner on 24th April, and died of his 
wounds on the 29th April. 

Private Stodart was a strong, stalwart specimen of the bright 
young manhood of the Empire, and his untimely end was keenly felt 
by his sorrowing relatives and friends. 

He died the loneliest death of all, 

Amid his foes he died. 
But Someone's leaped the outer wall, 

And Someone's come inside. 
And He has gotten a golden key 
To set the lonesome prisoner free. 

It was not Peter with the keys, 

The heavenly janitor, 
Who has passed them like a rushing breeze, 

The gaolers at the door. 
And to His bosom as a bed 
Has taken the unmothered head. 


A great light in the prison shone, 

That made the people blind— 
"Rise up, rise up, new-ransomed one 

And taste the sun and wind ; 
For I have gotten a golden key 
To set all lonesome prisoners free. 

"Yea, they shall soar, shall spring aloft; 

Their gyves shall not be rough, 
But just the links of love so soft 

That they shall not cast off. 
Rise up, my dear, and come away." 
And they went out to the Great Day. 




Guns of the Fifth Division, on you depend this day 
The destinies of Europe — you cover here the way. 

If you go, then the Army goes, 

And Paris lies before her foes. 

We have fought since early morning 

And the end is drawing near; 

They knew we had no warning 

Of the odds that face us here. 

We have fought since early morning, 
They knew we had no warning 
Of the trap before us yawning — 
But we've pulled the Army clear. 

We have fought the fires of hell, 

My guns, O my guns! 
Fought together what befell, 
My guns, O my guns ! 
We have fought the fires of hell, 
Fought together what befell, 
And you served our need right well, 
My guns, O my guns. 

The glorious Line are fighting 

Like tigers all the day; 

And the gunners firing, sighting, 

Steady to be slain or slay. 
The glorious Line are fighting 
With the gunners firing, sighting, 
And we've stunned that host affrighting, 
And we've saved the Force to-day. 

For our men don't know defeat, 

My guns, O my guns! 
And they'll give you glory meet, 
My guns, O my guns! 
For our men don't know defeat, 
And they'll give you glory meet, 
For you've covered the retreat, 
My guns, O my guns. 

There's a zone of death around, 
Where the hail of shrapnel streams, 
And behind they've trenched the ground. 
So we can't get up the teams. 
There's a zone of death around, 
Where the lyddite blasts the ground, 
So there's no way to be found 
To break through and bring the teams. 

But there's not a round to fire, 

My guns, O my gunsl 
And the dead are piling higher, 
My guns, O my guns! 
But there's not a round to fire, 
And the dead are piling higher, 
And the order's to retire, 
My guns, O my guns! 

You are battered, smashed, and shaken, 

And the foe will profit naught, 

All your sights and breech-blocks taken — 

Left, the havoc they have wrought. 
You are battered, smashed, and shaken, 
All that we can carry taken, 
And we leave you here forsaken, 
By the dead with whom you fought. 

But I swear by God's own name, 

My guns, O my guns ! 
I will bring you back again, 
My guns, O my guns! 
From Berlin, across the slain, 
Every yard of fire and pain, 
I will bring you back again, 
My guns, O my guns! 





20. ColomvScrocant HIeyanber Scougalk 

TRov^al /Ifoavine TLtgbt ^nfaittrg. 

191 5— May 3. 

KILLED in action at the Dardanelles, Colour-Sergeant ALEXANDER 
SCOUGALL, No. 5970, Royal Marine Light Infantry, third son cf the 
late George Scougall, Cross Street, Peebles, by his second wife, Agnes, 
daughter of George Kay, Ellsridgehill, Lanarkshire, born at Woodhouse, 
Manor parish, county of Peebles, 25th May 1873. Educated at Manor, 
Walkerburn, and Peebles Public Schools; joined the Royal Marine Light 
Infantry at Edinburgh in November 1890; did one year's boy service," 
passed for Corporal at Chatham, 13th July 1894, with 98 marks, and 
was awarded first-class certificate; and for Sergeant at Walmer, 31st 
March 1896, obtaining 187 marks, and a special certificate; served in 
the Orinoco River (in H.M.S. Fantome), during the dispute between the 
United States and Venezuela; in the South African War (medal); 
and in China; and on completing his twenty-two years' service 
(October 1912) entered the Shanghai Municipal Council's service. When 
war broke out he was an inspector in the Shanghai Public Works 
Department, and immediately volunteered, but was not accepted until 
October. He left within twenty-four hours for London, but the 
Japanese boat by which he travelled took sixty-five days to do the 
trip — 12,000 miles — being held up in the Indian Ocean for ten clays 
by the German cruiser Emden. He took part in the landing at the 
Dardanelles, 25th April 1915, and was killed in action at Quinn's 
Post, Gaba Tepe, between 9 and 10 A.M., on 3rd May following. 
He was unmarried. 

A comrade wrote — " Colour-Sergeant Scougall was an old pal of 
mine, he being about the same service as myself. He was well known 
at Chatham, and we all regret his loss. He is one of the many 
veterans of ours who have gone. He was killed on Monday, 3rd May, 
between 9 and 10 A.M. The shot entered his eye, and death was 
immediate. Bugler Sillence of our battalion was a few yards from him 
when he was hit, and I have gone over the day with him. We were 
ordered out at 4 A.M. to prepare an attack up a very steep ravine 
between two hills. The Turks held all the crests. It was hopeless to 
carry on; as soon as our troops got in view they were mowed down 
with machine gun and rifle fire. It was awful; time after time fresh 
troops went on, but all suffered the same. Nobody got to the objective, 
and we had to give it up. Our battalion had over 300 casualties; all who 
tried suffered the same. The dead and wounded had to be left till 
dark. The wounded were got clown by degrees; it took days to bury 


the dead. Every movement brought a deadly fire ; they were within 
a hundred yards. This happened at Gaba Tepe, where we reinforced 
the Australian and New Zealand Forces on their first landing. We 
afterwards were shipped to this end, Sedd-ul-Bahr, and are having 
some tough work still. I expect we are in for a winter of it. Trench 
fighting is awful slow work, and you are kept on a tension all the 
time. The devils have plenty of grit, and put up a fair fight. No 
gas or gas shells at present, and no white flag incidents since the 
first, when we weren't having any and nipped them all. About the 
difference in date, many of the dead were not buried by our own 
people, and their effects are not gathered properly. They are reported 
missing until their bodies are found and identity discs are sent in. 
Facts known to people near one get mixed or reported wrongly, because 
it is impossible to thoroughly inquire into every case unless a doubt 
is raised. Dead often have to be left even for weeks when an attack 
fails. You may take my date as correct: it is the date in my book, 
also in the battalion records. I don't know where the other date 
came from. We had re-embarked and started afresh elsewhere before 
then, so it is obviously incorrect. I am an old China bird myself, but 
I came home in 1897." 

Another fellow-soldier wrote — " Colour-Sergeant Scougall was killed 
on 3rd May, at Quinn's Post, Gaba Tepe, where the Australians 
landed, and lies buried in a little trench with others of his comrades. 
You see he was some 300 to 400 feet up the cliffs, and it was practically 
useless bringing the dead down the gully where we had to depend on 
water running. He was accorded a Christian burial, and a very 
decent one, considering the time and space allotted. I myself buried 
fourteen in one grave and read the burial service." 

Colour-Sergeant Scougall had a Long Service and Good Conduct 
Medal. He was an all-round sportsman — played cricket and football, 
and was in the winning tug-of-war team in Shorncliffe District Tour- 
nament in 1897. His brother, Sergeant Andrew Scougall, 8th Royal 
Scots, was wounded at Festubert. 

Why do you grieve for us who lie 
At our lordly ease by the Dardanelles? 
We have no need for tears or sighs, 
We who passed, in the heat of fight, 
Into the soft Elysian light: 
Proud of our part in the great emprise, 
We are content. We had our day, 
Brief but splendid — crowned with power, 
And brimming with action: every hour 
Shone with a glory none can gainsay. 


STARS are of mighty use. The night 

Is dark and long; 
The road foul ; and where one goes right, 

Six may go wrong, 

One twinkling ray 

Shot o'er some cloud 

May clear much way 

And guide a crowd. 

God's saints are shining lights; who stays 

Here must passe 
O'er dark hills, swift streams, and steep ways 

As smooth as glasse ; 

But these all night 

Like candles shed 

Their beams and light 

Us into bed. 

They are indeed our pillar-fires, 

Seen as we go; 
They are that citie's shining spires 

We travel to. 

A sword-like gleame 

Kept man for sin 

First out ; this beame 

Shall guide us in. 

Henry Vaughan (1622-1695). 


Private ADAM J. DOW. 

1914 STAR. 


21. private Hfcam 3. SDow. 

IRoBal Ibigblan&ers (Much TKRatcb). 

1915 — May 9. 

THE postmaster of Peebles received a letter from a private in A 
Company of the 1st Black Watch, stating that Private ADAM J. DOW, 
of that company, was killed on the 9th of May, while carrying in 
the wounded under heavy shell-fire. 

Private Dow, who was a Reservist, and was called up at the 
outbreak of the war, came to Peeblesshire from Fossoway, in Kinross- 
shire, and had been a postman in Peebles for about two years, having 
come from Lamancha. 

The deceased's parents resided in Kirkcaldy, and he was the eldest 
of five sons serving with the Colours. Private Dow took part in a 
number of engagements, including Mons, Aisne, and Marne. In January 
he was wounded in the hand by a splinter of the shrapnel shell which 
caused the death of Private John Heugh, George Street, Peebles, 
another member of the 1st Black Watch. Private Dow was in his 30th 
year. His fiancee, in Peebles, received a letter, dated 14th May 1915, 
written by a companion, from which is culled the following: — "I 
am sorry to inform you of the death of Adam Dow. He was 
killed while trying to save a wounded comrade under heavy fire. He 
went out to within 50 yards of the German trenches three times, and 
brought back a wounded man with him each time, but the fourth time 
was his last, for, when we made an attack at 3 P.M., we saw him 
lying dead in a hole. He has been well recommended for his 
bravery, and if all our Army were like him they would be the 
bravest in the world. There is no one left in this section now, so I 
thought it my place to write and let you know his fate. Adam was 
a favourite with all who knew him, and his loss will be regretted by 
all ranks. Accept the sympathy of all his comrades in your sad 
bereavement. Adam Dow died a hero's death, and he will never be 
forgotten for what he did. He was killed on 9th May, about 10 
o'clock in the clay." 

Know, fellow-mourners, be our cross too grievous, 
That One who sealed our symbol with His blood 

Vouchsafes the vision which shall never leave us — 
Those humble crosses in the Flanders mud ; 

And think — There rests all-hallowed in each grave, 

A life given freely for the world He died to save. 



1914 STAR. 

Sergeant Walter Laidlaw. 


22. Sergeant Matter XaiMaw. 

1Rov?al Ibiflblan&ers OBlacfc ILlatcb). 

191 5 — May 9. 

OFFICIAL intimation came to Peebles, in the month of December 
191 5, that Sergeant WALTER LAIDLAW, of the Royal Highlanders 
(Black Watch), had been missing since the 9th of May, and that he 
must be presumed to have fallen on that date. He was the second 
son of the late John Laidlaw, Biggiesknowe, Peebles, and came to 
France from India, where he had been stationed with his regiment 
for some years. 

A younger brother, Corporal William J. Laidlaw, who came across 
with the 79th Cameron Highlanders, Canadian Contingent, had a 
limb amputated. Another brother, Lance-Corporal Gilbert Laidlaw, 
residing at Newby Court, Peebles, and attached to the l/8th Royal 
Scots, was invalided home from France. Other two brothers of 
this patriotic family were also serving their King and country — John, 
the eldest of the brothers, acting as Sergeant-Major in the 2,8th Royal 
Scots; and Robert, the youngest, being a private in the 1st (Glasgow) 
Battalion of the Highland Light Infantry. It is a sorrowful sequel to 
relate that of those five gallant brothers, Corporal Robert was reported 
missing about the 3rd May 1917 ; and Sergeant-Major John, the eldest 
of all, fell on the 12th October 1918; in addition to Sergeant Walter, 
mentioned above. They were all handsome, stalwart lads, of fine 
physique and soldierly bearing, with much of the old Border fighting- 
spirit among them. 

The 9th May was a Sunday, on which day our Army was in 
action in Flanders, and was making some progress around Ypres. 
It was also two days after the tragedy of the liner Lusitania, when 
nearly 1 500 non-combatants were murdered by the torpedoing of the 

great ship. 

To some red Flanders gave a resting place, 

And some lie quiet in grim Gallipoli, 

Some where the great twin rivers seaward race, 

And some beneath a Macedonian sky; 

Africa's fields and Sinai's burning sand 

Of their brave dead the deathless story tell, 

That those who run may read and understand 

The pride and valour of the men who fell. 




23. private iberbert 1busb. 

Gameronians (Scottieb IRifles). 

1915— May 15. 
SORROWFUL news came from Hamilton to Robert Hnsh, merchant, 
Young Street, Peebles, that his son Herbert had been killed in action. 

Private HERBERT HUSH, who was only 20 years rf age, joined 
the Scottish Rifles at the outbreak of war, in August I>I4, taking the 
step at Biggar, which was the nearest recruiting station to his place 
of employment. He underwent training at Fort Matilda, and, along 
with the Scottish Rifles, proceeded to the front. The last letter which 
his mother received was dated the 3rd of May, stating that they 
were about to go into the trenches. On the 15th he fell. 

As a young lad he worked in the mills of Peebles, but his heart 
lay in a wider field, and he sought farming for a change. This he 
found much more congenial, with a freer outlook on the possibilities 
of life. Previous to enlistment he was engaged with the tenant of 
Bankhead farm, Carstairs, who much appreciated his worth as a 
diligent and faithful worker. Herbert continued with his master until 
the harvest was gathered in, and then went off at once in response to 
the call of his country. All the fair ambitions of his life went with 
the sacrifice. At the time when he fell, the Germans were still 
hammering away at Ypres. His body was interred behind the front 
trenches, one mile N.-N.-W. of Fromelles, three miles east of Laventie. 

Herbert Hush was the first of the gallant band of 'prentice boys of 
Peebles to fall on behalf of Tweeddale and Empire. Just as the city 
of Londonderry of old was saved through the heroism of her 'prentice 
lads, under the Rev. George Walker, so with Peebles! Here is the Roll 
of Honour of the apprentices from one shop, that of John Crichton, 
butcher, Peebles — Douglas Cairncross, Tom Clark, Herbert Hush, 
Alexander Mason, William Murray. Everyone of those brave boys 
fell on the field of battle. 

Green gardens in Laventie ! 

Soldiers only know the street 

Where the mud is churned and splashed about 

By battle-wending feet ; 

And yet beside one stricken house there is a glimpse of grass, 

Look for it when you pass. 

Fierce and long roll'd battles' thunder, 

Still our trust stood firm in Thee ; 
Holy angels with what wonder 

Look'd on our Gethsemane ! 
Yet again mankind was learning 

God's own way to Paradise, 
Noblest aim of all man's yearning 

E'er is found in sacrifice. 



Private JOHN H. DUNCAN. 


24. private 3cbn Ibopfcirfc Duncan. 

IRoval Scots. 
1915 — May 16. 
JOHN HOPKIRK DUNCAN, who enlisted when 17 years of age, was a 
private in the 6th Royal Scots, but was attached to the 8th Royal 
Scots. He fell at the battle of Festubert, on the 16th May 1915, aged 
19 years. He attended United Free St George's Sabbath School at 
Fountainbridge, and the day school, North Merchiston, Edinburgh. 

Writing to Private Duncan's mother, a Major of the Royal Scots 
said — "John joined my company in Edinburgh, and on mobilisation 
proved himself a capital fellow. On Inchkeith he helped us with our 
acetylene lamps, being an expert in that line. He was one of our best 
and most reliable men — always willing and obliging, and at all times 
absolutely steady and dependable. We mourn his loss among the 
other brave fellows who gave their lives for the Old Country, and we 
sympathise with you most keenly in your irreparable loss. Trusting 
your loss may be made up to you, and that you may be supported by 
the Everlasting" Arms." 

Private Duncan wrote home as follows three clays before he fell: — 

"We are having very hot weather here just now; we are sleeping 

outside in a field. The fighting out here is very severe. We were in 

that attack at Neuve Chapelle, and also in another big one. We are 

just about to make a bayonet charge ; I suppose you will see it in the 

papers this week. We have been supplied with a piece of cloth for 

protection from gas fumes, but if you could send me one with an 

elastic band it would be better. The Germans have a lot of men here 

now ; they get a bit hot sometimes, but we are giving them all they 

want. I wish this thing was all finished. It is awful here — women and 

children lying dead in the streets of Ypres, the town having been 

shelled by the Germans. I may tell you it will take every man we 

have to finish this war; the Germans are not as slack as most of them 

think. Ask anybody that has come from the front, and they will tell 


I dare not grieve for one more dear 

Than my own life, 

Who on that day 

Gave joyously 

His soul to God, 
Counting God dearer than all love on earth. 

And so, though my poor life be broken-winged, 

I fear to weep 

Lest in rebuke 

God sternly says, 

"Scant is her love 
Who mourns that her belov'd is crowned with peace." 

6 4 


1914 STAR. 

Private R. P. MULHOLLAND. 


25. private 1R. fl>. flDulbollanb. 

IRogal Scots. 

1915— May 16. 

Six Peebles men, all in the flower of life, now fell on the field of 
battle. They were Private R. P. Mul hoi land, on the 16th; Private 
James Moffat, on the 1 6th; Private James Maule, on the 17th; Corporal 
Thomas Ferguson, on the 18th; Private Robert Freer, on the 18th ; 
and Private Robert C. Boyd, wounded on the 16th, and passed away 
on the 21st of May. 

All these men of Peebles fell in the British advance which began 
in the early weeks of May. It took place in the Festubert region, and 
was intended mainly as an auxiliary to the French effort in Artois. 
It was intended to detain the German 7th Corps in position, and also 
to prevent reinforcements in men and guns from being sent south to 
Lens. If successful, it would win Aubers Ridge, for the sake of which 
we had fought at Neuve Chapelle, and so threaten Lille and La 
Bassee. The first movement took place on the morning of Sunday, 9th 
May, and the section selected was that between Festubert and Bois 

The next advance was on the morning of Sunday, the 16th May, 
and the ground chosen was that immediately east of Festubert, where 
the German front showed a pronounced salient. One company of the 
2nd Scots Guards got too far ahead and was cut off. When some clays 
later we took the ground we found the Guards lying on the field 
of honour, with swathes of the enemy's dead around them, as at 
Flodden. On Monday evening, the 17th, we made a second advance 
on the right, and the furthest point was reached by the 4th Cameron 
Highlanders, a Territorial battalion from Skye and the Outer Islands. 
In these advances the ground gained was considerable, but the price 
was high. It was here that Lieut. -Colonel Brook, of the 8th Royal 
Scots, and many another, fell. During the rest of May we continued 
to make progress. The 26th of May was taken by Sir John French 
as the close of the battle. The First Army had pierced the lines of 
the enemy on a front of four miles. 

Private ROBERT P. MULHOLLAND was the eldest son of Robert 
Mulholland. He fell on Sunday, 16th May 1915. He had one brother 
in France, who, later, suffered severely, and another in a Scottish 
camp. His age was 28. He and his brothers were Irishmen from 
Belfast, and Protestants. They were handsome, and full of life and 
fun, and were employed in the mills of Peebles. Privates Mulholland 



and Freer fell when leaving their trench. The parents of the former 
now reside at Long Beach, California. Two specimens of Robert 
Mulholland's verses are appended. Another piece, "In Memoriam — 
Private Thomas Wilson," will be found on page 26. They were all 
written in the months before he fell. 


We had an introduction thro' a warm and fleecy shirt, 
Accompanied by some tender words, which said she was no flirt, 
At once I sent my grateful thanks, and soon she wrote again, 
She said so much, the censor's blanks made reading such a strain. 

I wove a spell about her, and hoped some day we'd meet, 

She answered (and I thought it strange), "'T would hardly be discreet; 

I said, " 'Tis just a woman's way, and when I'm home on leave 

I'll ask her just to name the day; she'll have me, I believe." 

The Germans winged me in the arm. Downhearted ? No, not I. 
And when they ordered me off home, my spirits leapt up high, 
I hastened to my charmer's home. Alas! for woman's wiles, 
With hubby and four little ones she met me, wreathed in smiles. 

"Come in," she said, "we're proud to see a hero from the front, 
We liked the letters that you sent." "We did," was hubby's grunt. 
I wished myself out there again, entrenched in mud and dirt; 
So, girls, just send your maiden name, when sending out a shirt. 

I Oth April 1915. 


DOWN by the river Tweed, with gentle flow, 
Where flowers of every hue profusely grow, 
I wander, and I hear the sweet birds sing, 
And Nature all around. What does it bring 
To me ? A haven of joy and peace, 
My soul's content; 
And I could rest for evermore, 
Beside that still and tranquil shore, 
Until eternity be spent. 

'Tis all a dream — I wake, and hark! a sound 

Of battle, and of many lives at stake, while all around 

The awful things of death are flying, 

And far above it all the groans of dying. 

Many lie wounded, many lie dead. 

"Good Lord, deliver us," I said. 

He heard that prayer, and victory's ours, 

But, oh, the victims of those hours! 


Oh, when shall I find peace again, 
From all this murder and this greed? 
I'll find it by the glorious Tweed ; 
And I shall try, with might and main, 
My neighbours to love far, far more 
Than I have ever done before. 

Then, oh, the joy and rest, 

If I can be so blest, 
To rest beside that beauteous shore, 

Until eternity be spent, 

With soul content. 
17th April 19 1 5. 



1914 STAR. 


26. private 3amcs fIDcifat. 

IRo^al Scots. 

1915— May 16. 
Private James MOFFAT was killed on the 16th May 1915, when 
leaving his trench. He was 36 years of age, and resided in the 
Northgate of Peebles, being employed in Damdale Mill. He was 
survived by his wife and two young children. Private Moffat held a 
Long Service Certificate (21 years) and a Long Service Medal, and 
was off the strength of the Territorials when the war broke out, but 
he at once offered his services to his country, and was accepted. He 
had already done his part by Britain, as he was one of those who 
volunteered their services for the South African War, going out along 
with the other members of the Peebles Detachment of the 6th 
Volunteer Battalion The Royal Scots, First Volunteer Company, in 
1 900-I, for which campaign he held the South African Medal, with 
five bars. On returning home from South Africa he, along with the 
others who came back, was made a burgess of Peebles, receiving the 
burgess ticket at a crowded meeting, held in the Chambers Institution 
Hall, to give the returned heroes a welcome home. 

Extract from a soldier's letter — "Just a wee note to say I am well. 
I have got a slight wound through the toe, and am in hospital. 
There was a battle this morning, and the shrapnel was flying. I got 
a lucky one, but my mates were not so fortunate. Jimmie Moffat was 
killed on one side of me and Bob Mulholland was killed on the other 
side; and there are a lot more fellows killed and wounded. Do not 
put yourself about for me, for I am getting well looked after. . . . 
Alexander Brockie got one through the leg, so we came down the road 
together, and are in hospital together, and we go further down the 
country to-night. . . . The bullet went through my boot and struck 
my big toe. Poor Jimmie Moffat ! He got it through the head, but 
he suffered no pain. ... In the hospital there are both English 
and Scotch soldiers, and we have all plenty to eat and plenty to tell 
one another." A later letter from the same soldier says — " My boot 
was blown off with a piece of shrapnel, and my rifle was broken to 
pieces, an°d all I got was a hit on my big toe. ... I do not know 
what the Peebles people will say now, for there are a lot of Peebles 
fellows wounded. I saw a lot of our boys coming down to the 

hospital. Some of them will be lucky enough to get home 

I hope they will now send out another battalion to relieve our one, for 
I think we have played our part, for the men went forward like the 


shot of a gun when we got the word to advance. A lot of our poor 
fellows went to their death." 

It is worthy of note that of the fifteen Peebles men who volunteered 
their services as members of the First and Second Volunteer Service 
Companies who left Peebles for the South African War in 1900-1902— 
fourteen were presented, on the conclusion of that war, with the freedom 
of the burgh of Peebles, the exception being Private Thomas Dickson, 
who died while on service — there were, so far as known, nine who 
again answered the country's call. Two of the nine were killed 
in France. Their names were Corporal Thomas Ferguson and Private 
James Moffat, both members of the Peebles Territorials (8th Royal 
Scots). Sergeant A. Johnstone (wounded), Sergeant D. Cairncross, 
and Private John Campbell, also members of Peebles Territorials, 
were in France. Private James Heard was also in France, 
attached to the Motor Transports. The remaining three were in 
German South-West Africa. Their names were Regimental Sergeant- 
Major John Lawson, 8th Infantry Transvaal Scottish ; Regimental 
Sergeant-Major Dave Smith, Witwatersrand Rifles, 10th Infantry; 
and Corporal Wm. Henderson, South African Engineers Corps. 

Oh, Love! that falters, and will moan 

Beside the body cold and dead, 
From whence the soul it held has flown — 

Can Faith not follow where Soul fled? 

Can Faith not lift the breaking heart 

To where the being that was dear 
Lives, and is still of us a part 

Though flesh has perished, wasted, sere ? 

Has all the teaching of the Cross, 

The revelation of His grave, 
Been overshadowed by our loss, 

And buried with the men who gave 
Their mortal lives they counted dross 

Compared with what they died to save ? 


We grudged them not, those that were dearer than all we possessed, 

Lovers, brothers, sons, 
Our hearts were full — and out of a full heart 

We gave our beloved ones. 

Because we loved we gave. In the hardest hour 

When at last — so much unsaid 
In the eyes — they went simply, with a tender smile, 

Our hearts to the end they read. 

They to their deeds! — to the things that their soul hated, 

And yet to splendours won 
From smoking hell, by the spirit that moved in them: 

But we to endure alone. 

Their hearts rested on ours; their homing thoughts 

Met ours in the still of the night. 
We ached with the ache of long waiting and throbbed 

With the throb of the surging fight. 

Oh, had we failed them then were we desolate now, 

And separated indeed. 
What should have comforted, what should have helped us then, 

In the time of our bitter need? 

But now, though sorrow be ever fresh, sorrow 

Is tender as Love ; it knows 
That of Love it was born, and Love with the shining eyes 

The hard way chose. 



1914 STAR. 


27. private James flfraiUc. 

IRogal Scots. 

1915 — May 17. 

PRIVATE JAMES MAULE resided with his parents at 54 Rosetta Road. 
He was 18 years of age, and was employed in the office of March 
Street Mills. He was one of the best known golfers in the Borders, 
and was also very popular in the town and district. Barring 
information sent by Sergeant Dickman, his parents were uninformed 
of the sad event. Private Maule was shot through the back while 
returning from assaulting the second German line. He was what might 
well be called a beautiful boy, and his was a beautiful life. His 
disposition was sweet and not easily ruffled; he possessed many friends 
because he showed himself friendly. He carried into the field of 
battle just the qualities that made him successful in sport. He played 
for his side, and played his very best. He was loyal to his friends 
and happy in his home. 

Dear boys! They shall be young forever. 

The Son of God was once a boy. 
They run and leap by a clear river, 

And of their youth they have great joy. 
God, who made boys so clean and good, 
Smiles with the eves of fatherhood. 



1914 STAR. 



28. Corporal ftfoomas ferguson. 

1Ro\?al Scots. 

191 5 — May 18. 

THE news that Corporal THOMAS FERGUSON, who resided at 51 
Northgate, Peebles, had been killed on the morning of 18th May was 
received with much surprise, as it was known that his wife had 
received a field post card from her husband but two or three days 
before, written on the 17th May, stating that he was well. Company 
Sergeant-Major W. S. Dickman, who arrived in Peebles, home 
from the front on four days' furlough, was the bearer of the sad 
news that "Tom," as he was familiarly known to a large circle of 
friends, had been killed by the exploding of a shell on the morning 
of the 18th May. It appears that the deceased, an officer, and 
Company Sergeant-Major Dickman were all sitting in a dug-out, with 
Corporal Ferguson in the centre, when a German shell exploded in the 
rear of the trio. A portion of the shell rebounded and struck 
Corporal Ferguson on the body, death being instantaneous. 

Corporal Ferguson, who was 33 years of age, and the only 
son of the late Mrs Wm. Ferguson, 51 Northgate, was employed 
as a warehouseman in Messrs Lowe, Donald & Co.'s tweed 
warehouse, Peebles. The deceased ever took a keen interest in the 
Territorial movement, and we find him the holder of a Long Service 
Certificate (II years) — a certificate which covers the period from 
1897 to 1908. He again rejoined the ranks of Peebles Territorials, 
and latterly was a member of the National Reserve. He was 
one of the first to answer the country's call when that body was 
mobilised on the outbreak of war, so that the deceased had had a 
close connection with the local Territorial movement for practically 
18 years. After proceeding to Haddington with the Peebles Company 
of Territorials, to which he was attached, he was transferred to Peebles, 
on account of his intimate knowledge of Territorial work. Here he 
was entrusted with the charge of the Drill Hall, and also appointed to 
act as drill instructor to those who were then training in Peebles, and 
at the same time he officiated as a recruiting agent. He fully justified 
the confidence of his superiors by successfully carrying out the duties 
that devolved upon him while he acted in those capacities. Some 
time after he was recalled to Haddington, and went over to France in 
November 1914 with the 8th Battalion. 

Corporal Ferguson also showed his patriotism during the South 
African War, he being one of those who volunteered their 
services, and proceeded to South Africa as one of the members of 


the Peebles detachment of the 6th Volunteer Battalion The Royal 
Scots, Second Volunteer Service Company, in 1901-1902, for which he 
held the South African Medal and five clasps. On returning home he 
was presented with the freedom of Peebles, and made a burgess of the 
Royal Burgh, as a public recognition of his services to his country. 

Corporal Ferguson acted as secretary of the Peebles National 
Reserves and held office in the Peebles Miniature Rifle Club. He was 
at one time a member of Peebles Rovers Football Club. He was also a 
keen angler, and was a member of the committee of Peeblesshire Angling 
Improvement Association. He was well known in Peebles, and was 
highly respected by a large circle of friends, who deeply regretted 
his loss. Much sympathy was felt for his young widow and family- 
two daughters, aged respectively 3 years and 2 months. 

Oh, if the sonless mothers weeping, 

And widowed girls could look inside 
The glory that hath them in keeping 

Who went to the Great War and died. 
They would rise and put their mourning off, 

And say — " Thank God, he has enough ! " 



How sleep the brave who sink to rest 
By all their country's wishes blest? 
When Spring, with dewy fingers cold, 
Returns to deck their hallow'd mould, 
She there shall dress a sweeter sod 
Than Fancv's feet have ever trod. 

By faery hands their knell is rung, 
By forms unseen their dirge is sung; 
There honour comes, a pilgrim grey, 
To bless the turf that wraps their clay, 
And Freedom shall a while repair 
To dwell, a weeping hermit, there. 

Collins (1746). 



1914 STAR. 



29. private IRobcrt Jfrccr. 

IRoval Scots. 

1915 — May 18. 
MRS R. FREER, residing at Spence's Place, Peebles, received intimation 
from Captain James Tait, attached to Innerleithen Territorials, stating 
that her husband, Private ROBERT FREER, died on Tuesday, 18th May, 
while on duty with the company in the trenches near Festubert. The 
deceased, who was the third eldest son of the late James Freer, 
Biggiesknowe, Peebles, was in his 38th year. At one time Private 
Freer was in the Regular Army, serving with the Argyll and 
Sutherland Highlanders. For a number of years he was a member of 
the Peebles Territorials, but was called up as a National Reservist, 
and was attached to Innerleithen Territorial Company, going out to 
France with the battalion in November 1914. When war broke out 
deceased was employed at Peebles Gas Works. He was survived 
by his widow and three of a family, aged 1 7 ', 14, and 7 years. 

A comrade wrote — " Five Peebles men went under in the last 
engagement. They were Corporal T. Ferguson, Private R. Mulholland, 
Private James Moffat, Private Robert Freer, and Private James Maule. 
Privates Moffat and Mulholland fell when leaving our special trench. 
Private Maule died at night after lingering a little: he was shot 
through the back as they were returning from assaulting the second 
German line. Private Freer was killed in like manner to Private 
Maule. Corporal Ferguson was killed by a fragment of shell, which 
struck him on the stomach. The company feel exceedingly sorry for 
the bereaved relatives at home, who will feel their loss doubly sore, 
as their loved ones are buried in a foreign land, but they are interred 
on a field of honour, where the Royal Scots' fame will be a monument 
better than any stone ever erected. They are heroes who died in a 
righteous cause. They fell where the fight was fiercest and the 
glory won." 

They passed from sight on sea and land, 

We know not where their forms may be, 
Their bones are scattered as the sand — 
But they — oh, they are safe and free. 

Those vanished bodies were the dress 

Of souls we loved, who loved us well, 
That earthly garb with earth's distress 

Goes not where noble spirits dwell. 

" He is not here." They are with Him. 

They care not what may now befall 
The flesh for which our eyes grow dim ; 

And we should hear their Christian-call. 



Private ROBERT C. Boyd. 

1914 STAR. 


30. private IRobert CoQfoill Boyb. 

IRogal Scots. 

1915 — May 21. 

PRIVATE ROBERT C. BOYD was one of the brave apprentice lads of 
Peebles, the sixth Peebles soldier to fall at Festubert. For three years 
before the war he was a member of the Territorial Army in Peeblesshire. 
He was employed in March Street Mills, Peebles. His father, W. A. 
Boyd, was likewise a private in the 3 8th Royal Scots. 

Along with his regiment, Robert was mobilised on the declaration 
of war, and, after undergoing training, he left Haddington in November 
1914 for the seat of war. The brave lad was but 18 years of age, and 
fought gallantly throughout all that terrible winter in the first campaign. 

On the 16th day of May 1915 Robert was severely wounded at the 
battle of Festubert, and passed away in hospital at Wimereux on 2lst 
May, as a result of his wounds. He was then aged but 19. Peebles 
and the Empire owe much to those brave boys. 

They went with songs to the battle ; they were young, 
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady, and aglow. 
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted, 
They fell with their faces to the foe. 




31. private Xcnnic Bobson Gbomeon. 

Scottish IRiflcs. 

1915- June 15. 

A LETTER was received by David Thomson, manager of Peebles 
Co-Operative Society, from Private Russell, of the 6th Scottish Rifles, 
who had been a plumber in Udclingston prior to mobilisation, conveying 
the sad intelligence that his young comrade, Private LENNIE THOMSON, 
had been killed on the 15th June, having been shot through the head as 
they charged the German trenches. Private Thomson was in his 19th 
year, and was a member of the Territorials for a year before war 
broke out. Along with his battalion, whose members to a man 
volunteered, he went to Falkirk to undergo training, thereafter the 
battalion went to the front. The father of the brave lad had to 
await confirmation for some time. 

Private Thomson shared in partnership with his brother the print- 
ing business known in Uddingston under the name of N. & L. 
Whitehead Thomson, and though young, gave promise of a conspicuous 
business career. The family is greatly respected in Peebles, and 
deep sympathy was felt with them in their bereavement. 

The British attack from Festubert had been undertaken with 
the object of attempting a diversion; but the lines of the enemy 
had not been pierced on a front of sufficient breadth to give decisive 
results. About the I4tn of June various small actions were taking 
place around Ypres, chiefly in the neighbourhood of the Hooge Chateau, 
close to the Menin Road. It had been lost in the great gas attack of 
24th May. Through June and July it was the centre of constant 
fighting, for it represented a patch of higher ground in that flat 
country. On the night of 15th June east of Festubert we took a mile 
of German trenches, but failed to hold them. It was on this day 
that Lennie Thomson fell. 

Now Heaven is by the young invaded; 

Their laughter's in the House of God, 
Stainless and simple as He made it 

God keeps the heart of the boy unflawed. 
The old wise saints look on and smile, 
They are so young, and without guile. 


Corporal James L. B. M'Lean. 


32. Corporal 3amee Xawrence Bruce flfVXean. 

TRcval Scots. 
IQ15 — August 2. 

Corporal James Lawrence Bruce M'Lean, of the 2nd Royal 

Scots, a son of the late John M'Lean, painter, Cross Street, Peebles, 
was killed at the front. He was 25 years of age, and left a widow 
and four children. 

Corporal M'Lean had made rapid progress in his new calling 
as a soldier. Had the fatal ballet been delayed a few clays, 
his widow would have been drawing the pension of a Sergeant, for he 
had successfully passed his qualifying examinations for that rank. 

Corporal M'Lean first enlisted in the I2th Royal Scots, but when 
that body moved off he was unfortunate enough to be in hospital, so 
he was afterwards attached to the 2nd Royal Scots. His battalion 
left Edinburgh five weeks before he fell. The day before that his 
mother was reading a letter from him, in which he invoked God's 
blessing on his father and mother, and here, in Corporal M'Lean's 
experience, we have set before us what was being preached all around 
—the lifting power the great ends of the war were exercising. 

In a letter to Corporal M'Lean's father, a fellow-soldier said— 
" The trench your son met his death in was only fifteen yards from 
the enemy, and the Germans were constantly throwing over grenades 
and bombs from trench mortars, and a very sharp lookout had to be 
kept for them being flung over. Unfortunately one dropped close to 
where your son was posted, and caused a terrible explosion. A large 
piece struck him on the head, death being almost instantaneous. He 
was very well liked by the men under his charge, and the sad news 
cast a gloom over his comrades when the word was passed along that 
their Corporal had gone. We could not bury him at night, as close 
to the burial-ground was being heavily shelled; so we had to wait 
until morning. I was present when he was buried. He was laid to 
rest with other four of his comrades, and a cross was erected to mark 
the spot. I have to convey to you the sympathy of his comrades who 
were with him when he fell fighting at his post — a true and brave 

He seen his duty, a dead-sure thing, 

And went for it, there and then ; 
And Christ aint a-going to be too hard 

On a man as died for men! 





33. private 3obn Bcnfoolm. 

IRew Zealand Contingent. 

191 5— August 9. 

A MESSAGE was received by John Denholm, of the Oamaru Woollen 
Factory, New Zealand, from the Ministry of Defence, that his son, 
Private JOHN DENHOLM ("JOCK,") had been missing since the 9th of 
August 191 5. 

Private Denholm, who was a grandson of the late Peter 
Denholm, joiner, Peebles, was born in Peebles, and went to New 
Zealand in 1905 with his father and the other members of the 
family. At the time of his enlistment he was employed in the Oamaru 
Woollen Factory. He was a live and popular member of the Oamaru 
Boating Club and the Oamaru Association Football Club. He was 23 
years of age. A brother, William, was serving King and country 
also, at the Dardanelles. 

On the day previous to that on which Private Denholm fell, there 
had been a German attack of an extremely severe character in the 
Vosges, which resulted in heavy losses to the enemy, who were 
completely repulsed. On the 9th there was good news from the 
Western front. The British had not only retaken all the trenches lost 
on 30th July, but had advanced north and west of Hooge, and so 
extended the front of the trenches captured to 1200 yards. 

Blow out, you bugles, over the rich Dead! 
There's none of these so lonely and poor of old, 
But dying, has made us rarer gifts than gold. 
These laid the world away; poured out the red 
Sweet wine of youth ; gave up the years to be 
Of work and joy, and that unhoped serene 
That men call age, and those who would have been 
Their sons they gave, their immortality. 

Blow, bugles, blow ! They brought us, for our dearth, 
Holiness, lacked so long, and Love and Pain. 
Honour has come back, as a King, to earth, 
And paid his subjects with a royal wage ; 
And Nobleness walks in our ways again, 
And we have come into our heritage. 


Private Archibald Armstrong. 


34. Xancodorporal Hrcbfbalb Htmstroiui. 

IfciiuVs Own Scottisb 3Bovberers. 

1915 — August 13. 
Lance-Corporal Archibald Armstrong lost his life in the 

JEgean Sea by the sinking of the transport Royal Edward, on the 
13th of August 1915, in his 25th year. He was the dearly loved 
eldest son of Francis and Isabella Armstrong, Cowburn, Lockerbie. 
He was born at Craighousesteads, Tundergarth, on the 9th September 
1890, and was a shepherd's son. He worked upon a farm until the 
year 1908, when Dyer & Co., Peebles, had a contract for timber in 
Corrie, and he obtained employment with them. He accompanied the 
firm when they left Corrie, and was with them for a period of over 
six years in different parts of Peeblesshire. He left their employment 
in the spring of 1914, and was working in Corrie when war broke out. 
Everything pertaining to war was foreign to his nature, but with 
the German hordes advancing on Paris his high sense of duty would 
not allow him to remain at home when so many men were required; 
so he enlisted at a recruiting meeting held at Corrie in the early clays 
of September 1914. He was sent to Berwick-on-Tweed, and thence to 
Portland. He was drafted to the 9th King's Own Scottish Borderers, 
the first of Kitchener's Army. In those early days uniforms were not 
to be had, and when later these were supplied they were of Kitchener's 
blue, which no man liked, so all rejoiced when at last they were clothed 
in khaki. With soldiering, as with everything else he. ever tried, he 
put his whole mind into it, and he loved it all. His observant eye 
took in all the details of a training camp, and his letters were most 
interesting records of the life, and the people he met. From Portland 
they went to Dorchester, and were billetted in the town during the 
winter and spring. Thence they were sent to Stobs Camp. After a 
short time there, the soldiers had four days' draft leave, and received 
orders for the Dardanelles. They sailed in the ill-fated Royal Edward 
about the end of July. There were a hundred of the King's Own 
Scottish Borderers on board among the 1500 troops drafted from 
various regiments. They had a good voyage, and were within a few 
hours' sailing from their destination when the ship was torpedoed in 
the ^Egean Sea. Only five hundred of that gallant band were saved, 
after being six hours in the water. Of the one hundred of the 
King's Own Scottish Borderers fifty-seven were lost. The disaster 
took place at nine o'clock on the morning of Friday, the 13th August 



One of the officers wrote after the disaster— " You have no 
idea how I feel this. They were all thoroughly trained soldiers, and 
splendid fellows: every one of them was a perfect man. He was 
one of the best, but is only one out of so many fine lads who have 

Pilot, how far from home? 

Not far, not far to-night, 
A flight of spray, a sea-bird's flight, 

A flight of tossing foam, 

And then the lights of home! 

The great stars pass away 
Before Him as a flight of spray, 

Moons as a flight of foam! 

I see the lights of home. 



SAY not the struggle naught availeth, 
The labour and the wounds are vain, 

The enemy faints not, nor faileth, 
And as things have been they remain. 

If hopes were dupes, fears may be liars; 

It may be, in yon smoke conceal'd, 
Your comrades chase e'en now the fliers, 

And, but for you, possess the field. 

For while the tired waves, vainly breaking, 
Seem here no painful inch to gain, 

Far back, through creeks and inlets making, 
Comes silent, flooding in, the main. 

And not by eastern windows only, 

When daylight comes, comes in the light; 

In front the sun climbs slow, how slowly! 
But westward, look, the land is bright! 



Private JOHN W. CRAIG. 


35. private 3obn Malftcr Craig. 

Cameron 1bigblan&ers. 

1915 — September 18. 

"IN September 1915 a man with a passion for discomfort and with 
ample leisure might have walked in a continuous ditch from the 
North Sea to the Alps. Two trenches, from thirty to two hundred 
yards apart, represented the front lines of the opposing armies. 
Behind the British front lines there were second and third lines, 
and further positions in the rear. But the Germans had these and 
something more. From the clay when their High Command resolved 
to stand on the defensive on the West, they had expended immense 
ingenuity and labour in strengthening their position. The ramifications 
of their trenches were endless, and great redoubts, almost flush with 
the ground, consisting of a labyrinth of trenches and machine-gun 
stations, studded their front. The German lines on the front formed 
a fortress in the fullest sense of the word." 

Treasurer Craig, Young Street, Peebles, received intimation from the 
Chaplain attached to the 8th Cameron Highlanders in France that his 
son, Private JOHN CRAIG, aged 28, had been wounded on the 17th 
September, having been shot by a sniper while out working with a 
party improving trenches, and died in hospital the following morning. 
Private Craig, previous to enlisting, was an assistant chemist in the 
Glasgow Corporation Gas Commission Office, and was highly spoken 
of by those beside him. He was married only on the 2nd March. 
On the 17th September, writing to one of his chums, thanking him 
for a parcel he had received, in reply to a postscript in his 
chum's letter, he said — "If you are really anxious to befriend a lonely 
Tommy, there is a chap here whose relations are all in Canada, and 
I have never known him to get a parcel yet. His name is A. Findlay, 
No. 13557, D Company, 6th Cameron Highlanders." He also added— 
"This man doesn't know I have given you his name." 

In a letter which Treasurer Craig received from Private 
Findlay, the "lonely Tommy" made acknowledgment of having 
received quite a number of parcels from Peebles, some of which were 
sent without any names, and expressed his sorrow in not being able 
to acknowledge them in consequence. In the course of the letter, 
Private Findlay wrote with reference to Private Craig's death — 
" There were fourteen in our section. John was the first to 
go, and there are only three of us left now. God has indeed been 
good to me, for I have been spared so far, and I pray I shall be 


spared to get back home safe when this war is over." Acknowledging 
a cutting, which Treasurer Craig had sent him from the United Free 
Church Missionary Record, concerning the religious life the men at the 
front led, Private Findlay said — "I have read that piece out of your 
Church magazine, and I think it is indeed true, for I myself have done 
it, and I always shall. Although I am not a very religious sort, I can 
never forget these things, and I am doing more good now than I have 
been doing these last few years since I left home in Canada. I really 
don't know why I am telling you these things, for John was the only 
one who knew anything about myself and the past." Private Findlay 
mentioned that he had three brothers in France with the Canadians, and 
two in training in England, making six in all doing their bit. 

Private Craig's widow received the following letter from the 
Second Lieutenant who was in command of the platoon in 
which Private Craig was serving: — "It is with sincere regret that 
I have to inform you of your husband's death, of which official 
notification will already have reached you. It is the first break in my 
platoon, and we all feel it keenly. You will doubtless wish to hear 
something of the circumstances. Your husband formed one of a 
working party of 50, which on Friday night was carrying material for 
use on top of the trenches. It was exposed work, as the party were 
all in the open, but we were nearly a thousand yards from the German 
trenches, and there were few bullets flying. Shortly before we 
finished — about II.15 P.M., to be precise — your husband was struck on 
the temple by a stray bullet, which also passed through the neck of 
the man standing in front of him. We did all we could for your 
husband, but he was unconscious from the start, and can have suffered 
no pain. He was carried down with all possible speed to the nearest 
doctor, and from thence by motor ambulance to hospital, but nothing 
could have saved him, and he passed away at five minutes to nine 
yesterday morning (Saturday, 18th September). His funeral took place 
the same afternoon, in a village some six miles from here. His own 
section, the Sergeant, and myself were present to pay our last tribute 
to his memory. It was a gloriously sunny day, and all was peaceful 
as we laid him to rest side by side with a comrade from another 
regiment who had died about the same time. The bodies were covered 
with Union Jacks, and we were preceded to the cemetery by pipers, 
who played a lament. The service was conducted by our own 
Chaplain and the one attached to the hospital, and was very solemn 
and impressive. I am not allowed to mention the town where he 
is buried, but you will learn that in due course. His personal effects 
are being sent to you with all possible speed. We shall miss him 
much, for he was a good soldier, keen on his work, and popular with 
all his comrades. Assuring you of my very deep sympathy with you 


in this sad hour." Mrs Craig afterwards received from the front a 
map showing where her husband lies buried at Nouix les Mimes. 

Treasurer Craig received the following letter from the head of the 
department in which Private Craig was engaged: — "It was with great 
sorrow that I learned yesterday of the death of your son John, in 
France. I can well remember how he came into my room, fully a 
twelvemonth ago, to tell me he had joined His Majesty's Forces, and 
was going off to Inverness. How patriotic he was, and I felt proud of 
him! He has now given his life for his country — and what more could 
he do? — though we all grieve at his young life being cut off while doing 
his duty. He was a general favourite in the works, and personally I 
had a great affection for him, and looked forward to his rising in the 
gas profession. He had its interest at heart, and studied hard to 
advance himself. It may be some comfort to you to know that we 
all sympathise with you in your sorrow. My wife wishes me to send 
you her heartfelt sympathy." 

Come when it may, the stern decree 
For me to leave the cheery throng 
And quit the sturdy company 
Of brothers that I work among. 
No need for me to look askance, 
Since no regret my prospect mars, 
My day was happy — and perchance 
The coming night is full of stars. 


The Battle of Loos. 

1915 — September 25. 
EIGHT gallant men and lads from Peebles fell at Loos. They were 
Richard Lawrie, R. W. Malcolm, Leonard C. M'Gill, Archibald R. 
M'Dougall, George Philp, Adam R. Stevenson, James Downie, and 
Thomas M. Clark. 

On Thursday, 23rd September, the main bombardment began. From 
La Bassee to Arras, and along the Champagne front, hell was loosed 
from thousands of pieces. The morning of Friday, the 24th, dawned 
mild and wet, with a Scotch mist settled on all the countryside. 
About midnight the Allied bombardment drew to a head. Every gun 
on our front was speaking without rest. Saturday, 25th September, 
opened in a drizzle. Suddenly the guns ceased. The first of the 
infantry were getting over the parapets, and the great battle had 
begun. On the 26th the weather had cleared, and a bright sky 
attended the second phase of the contest. Opposite Fosse 8 in the 
centre lay the 9th Division — a Scottish Division — of the New Army. 
It contained the 26th Brigade, under Brigadier-General Ritchie. On the 
right lay the 15th Division, under Major-General M'Cracken; it too was 
wholly Scottish, and belonged to the Second of the New Armies. It 
had been for more than three months in the trenches facing Loos. A 
brilliant advance was made by the 15th and 47th Divisions, which 
resulted in the capture of Loos, and the shaking of the whole German 
northern front. The London Irish kicked off a football from the 
parapet, and dribbled it across a thousand yards to the first German 
line! Before eight o'clock they had joined hands with the 
Highlanders in the shattered streets beneath the twin towers of Loos. 
The Highlanders were not content; their orders had been not only to 
take Loos, but to occupy the rising ground to the east, called Hill 70. 
They streamed up the hill like hounds, the green tartans of the 
Gordons and the red of the Camerons mingled in one resistless wave. 
The garrison on the top surrendered, but the Highlanders streamed 
onward down the eastern side till they were beyond the last German 
entrenched position. In less than three hours the Brigade had 
advanced nearly four miles, and had passed beyond all the German 
trench lines. The fate of Lille and the plain of Douai trembled in 
the balance. It was almost impossible to recall the van from their 
advanced wild rush. Major Crichton, of the Gordons, and Major 
Barron, of the Camerons, volunteered for the desperate mission. They 
fell in the task, but the order reached the stragglers, and they began 
to fight their way back. In the midst of the encircling fire it was a 


forlorn hope, and few returned to the British lines on the hill. All 
down the slopes towards Lens lay the tartans, Gordon and Black 
Watch, Seaforth and Cameron, like the drift left on the shore when 
the tide has ebbed. Between the 29th and 30th the enemy shelled 
our line heavily. By the 2nd of October the readjustment of our line 
was complete. The British casualties up to the first day of October 
were 45,000 men. The 9th Black Watch came out of action with a 
hundred men and one officer. 


Pipe Sergeant-Major DlCK Lawrie. 

1914 STAR. 


36. pipe 5ct\Kant>flDajor E)ick Xawric. 

Jfilacfc THUatcb. 

1915 — September 25. 

Pipe Serge ant-Major Dick Lawrie was aged 29, and was a son 
of William Lawrie, Eshiels. He was a regular soldier, having enlisted 
in the Black Watch in January 1902. He went out to the 2nd Battalion 
in India in the beginning of 1904. He was for many years one 
of the regimental pipers, but in 1912, when promoted Corporal, he had 
to go on duty as an N.C.O. His other promotions followed very 
quickly, and in May 1915 he was promoted Company Sergeant-Major. 
He left India for France in September 1914 with th\e Indian Expedi- 
tionary Force. On 25th September 1915 he was killed in action in 
France, after having been there for nearly a year without ever being 
wounded. He left a widow and two children in Edinburgh. 

"Dick Lawrie died like the brave soldier he was, leading his men 
to victory, leading them on through the German trenches, half a mile 
from our line. He was killed, and died painlessly. As our regiment 
was not supported on the flanks we had to retire later on, leaving the 
fallen behind. I fear there is no possibility of recovering his body or 
kit. But at least you have this consolation — he died nobly; and 
everyone, and three Generals, described the conduct of the regiment 
advancing as they did as ' magnificent.' Your husband, and others 
like him, gained the regiment this praise." — (From the Lieutenant- 
Colonel. ) 

"About Dick. He was charging along with us. He was in front, 
and when he got to the first German trench he stopped to shout an 
order for the remainder to hurry up, when he got hit. I was along a 
bit from him and I could not get to him, as we started to charge 
again, and I had to play the pipes just to keep their hearts up a bit ; 
but when we had to retire I ran back to where Dick fell, but he had 
never moved; he was killed outright. I don't suppose he knew what 
hit him, it was so sudden. . . . Dick had everything to go home to, 
but these are the men who get knocked out first. ... I feel for 
him as I would for a brother." 

The firefly haunts were lighted yet, 
As we scaled the top of the parapet ; 
But the East grew pale to another fire, 
As our bayonets gleamed by the foeman's wire ; 
And the sky was tinged with gold and grey, 
And under our feet the dead men lay, 
Stiff by the loop-holed barricade; 
Food of the bomb and the hand grenade ; 
Still in the slushy pool and mud 
Ah, the path we came was a path of blood, 
When we went to Loos in the morning. 


Lance-Corporal ALEX. R. W. MALCOLM. 


57 . XancoCorpcral aicy. 1R. WL HDalcolm. 

1Ro\?al Scots. 

191 5 — September 25. 

LANCE-CORPORAL ALEX. R. W. MALCOLM was the fourth surviving 
son of the late Thomas Malcolm, joiner, Cross Street, Peebles. His 
apprenticeship was served in Peebles with Renwick & Weir, joiners. 
In 1898 he went out to South Africa, but was resident in London 
when the war broke out. He enlisted at once in the Royal 
Scots, and proceeded to France in April 1915. After the battle of 
Loos he was officially reported missing from the 25th of September. 
He was in his 38th year, and leaves a widow. His brother, Corporal 
Adam Neil Malcolm, fell on 9th July 1916. 

A little grey church at the foot of a hill, 
With powdered glass on the window-sill — 
The shell-scarred stone and the broken tile, 
Littered the chancel, nave, and aisle. 
Broken the altar and smashed the pyx, 
And the rubble covered the crucifix; 
This we saw when the charge was done, 
And the gas-clouds paled in the rising sun, 
As we entered Loos in the morning. 


Private LEONARD C. M'Gill. 


38. private Heonarb Cunningbam (liy<Sill. 

Scafovtb "IbigblanDerg. 

1915 — September 25. 
PRIVATE MASON, a son of James Mason, shoemaker, Cunzie Nenk, 
wrote home to say that Private LEONARD C. M'GlLL, of his own 
regiment, had not turned up since the big attack. He was a son of 
Mrs M'Gill, St Michael's Wynd, Peebles, was only 23 years of age, and 
before joining Kitchener's Army wrought in Damdale Mill. He was a 
noted enthusiast in football and running. 

Mrs M'Gill received official intimation of the death of her son, 
who was killed in action on 25th September 1915. The notification 
came from headquarters of the Highland Division in Perth, and 
expressed to Mrs M'Gill the sympathy and regret of the Army 
Council at her loss. The King and Queen also sent their sympathy. 

" I write to offer you my sincerest sympathy at the loss of your 
son, who fell in one of the most glorious actions of this war. I only 
came out after the battle, but of course I knew your son in the 10th 
as a good soldier. Since my arrival, I have been enquiring for all 
the men who were formerly under me, and several, I am sorry to 
find, have fallen. Your son lies in a grave with seven of his 
comrades. His body was found by one of our burial parties, and was 
buried at a point described as ' From last house in Quality Street, 
700 paces along Bethune-Lens Road to Loos, 360 paces to east 
of this point.' As the point indicated is near our trenches, it is 
practically certain that your son was killed instantaneously, probably 
by shell fire, and he cannot have suffered. All the wounded who 
were hit near our trenches were picked up by our Red Cross. I am 
sorry that I have not been able to get any further particulars, but I 
have found nobody who saw your son fall. His loss is keenly felt, 
for he was not only a good soldier, but bore a high character. He 
has died in doing his duty, and has given his life for his country. I 
wish to convey to you the deep sympathy of the battalion in your 
great and irretrievable loss. May Divine strength sustain you in 
this dark hour of trial." 

The turret towers that stood in the air, 
Sheltered a foeman sniper there — 
They found, who fell to the sniper's aim, 
A field of death on the field of fame ; 
And stiff in khaki the boys were laid 
To the sniper's toll at the barricade, 
But the Quick went clattering through the town, 
Shot at the sniper, and brought him down, 
As we entered Loos in the morning. 



Private Archibald R. M'Dougall. 


39 . private Hrcbibalfc IRcto fliyDouoaU. 

JBlacfc lllatcb. 

1915 — September 25. 

AFTER the battle of Loos, fought on the 25th September 191 5, Mrs 
M'Dougall, Jedderfield, Peebles, received intimation that her son, 
Private ARCHIBALD M'DOUGALL, 9th Black Watch, was missing. 

Private M'Dougall, who was the second son of Mrs M'Dougall and 
of the late Win. M'Dougall, Edinburgh, was a bright cheery young 
man of much promise. He served an apprenticeship as a grocer with 
T. B. Lawrie, Old Town, and after finishing his apprenticeship, 
went to Edinburgh, entering the grocery department of the Professional 
and Civil Service Association, where he was employed on the out- 
break of war. In the month of November 1914 he enlisted in the 
Black Watch, and, after undergoing the usual training, went to France 
in the following July, and took part with his battalion in the battle of 

While resident at home Private M'Dougall took great interest in 
Peebles Golf Club, being a playing member, and, attaining considerable 
proficiency in the game, frequently carried off the monthly medal, and 
on one occasion won the Neidpath Club Cup. He was a grandson of 
the late Archibald Reid, Heriot Mill, Midlothian. 

The following letter was received by Mrs M'Dougall, giving some 
particulars of the fight in which her son had been engaged: — "I have 
to-day received your letter with regard to your son, Private A. R. 
M'Dougall. He was in the big fight on 25th September, and was one 
of those who went forward over Hill 70, and held back the Germans 
so gallantly while the new line of trenches was dug. When this 
party retired to occupy the new trench a great number of our men 
did not get back, and your son was among them. If he had been 
taken prisoner, some one would have heard from him by now, so I am 
afraid that you must resign yourself to the fact that he has died for 
his country. It has been quite impossible to go over the ground, as 
the Germans hold it now, so your son is officially posted as missing, 
we having no other definite news of him. You have my sincerest 
sympathy in your loss, and the anxiety you must have suffered at this 
time, but you must console yourself with the thought that he has paid 
the supreme sacrifice in the cause of humanity. He was in my old 
platoon, and was a great favourite of mine, a keen worker and an 
excellent soldier, and always so willing and cheerful that he was an 
excellent companion, both to the men and myself, through all the 
hardships of training and active service." 


The dead men lay on the cellar stair, 
Toll of the bomb that found them there. 
In the street men fell as a bullock drops, 
Sniped from the fringe of Hulluch copse. 
And the choking fume of the deadly shell 
Curtained the place where our comrades fell. 
This we saw when our charge was done 
And the East blushed red to the rising sun 
In the town of Loos in the morning. 



GOD of our fathers, known of old, 
Lord of our far-flung battle-line, 
Beneath whose awful Hand we hold 
Dominion over palm and pine — 
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet, 
Lest we forget — lest we forget! 

The tumult and the shouting dies; 
The captains and the kings depart : 
Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice — 
An humble and a contrite heart. 
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet, 
Lest we forget — lest we forget! 

Far-called, our navies melt away; 
On dune and headland sinks the fire: 
Lo, all our pomp of yesterday 
Is one with Nineveh and Tyre! 
Judge of the Nations, spare us yet, 
Lest we forget — lest we forget! 

If, drunk with sight of power, we loose 
Wild tongues that have not Thee in awe, 
Such boastings as the Gentiles use, 
Or lesser breeds without the Law — 
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet, 
Lest we forget — lest we forget! 

For heathen heart that puts her trust 
In reeking tube and iron shard, 
All valiant dust that builds on dust, 
And guarding, calls not Thee to guard, 
For frantic boast and foolish word — 
Thy mercy on Thy people, Lord! 



Sergeant GEORGE Philp. 


40. Sergeant George pbilp. 

TRovjal Scots. 

1915 — September 25. 

OFFICIAL intimation was received of the death in the great 
fight at La Bassee, on the 25th September 1915, of Sergeant GEORGE 
PHILP, 12th Royal Scots, son of George Philp, Bridgehouse Terrace, 
Peebles. In a letter received by Mrs Philp, who resides in Edinburgh, 
Sergeant Philp's company commander says — "I am very sorry to 
have to tell you that your husband was killed in the battle at La 
Bassee on the 25th September 1915. I am commanding the company 
in which he was a Sergeant, and I can only tell you that I am very 
sorry indeed to lose such a good man. At least you have this to 
remember, that he died in one of the biggest battles of the world, 
along with many other brave fellows, and that he helped to make that 
day for his division, the 9th Kitchener's First Division, a name that 
will never die. To him and to all like him be the glory and honour." 
Sergeant Philp was 43 years of age, and left a widow and 
family. Previous to enlistment he worked in Damdale Mill. He was 
well known as an athlete, and played in Peebles Town Band for 
thirty years. 

Where the dead lie thick, He goes, 
Where the brown earth's red as a rose, 
He who walked the waters wide 
Treads the wine-press, purple-dyed, 
Stoops, and bids the piteous slain 
That they rise with Him again. 


— Graphic. 


41. private 3amcs Bownic. 

lRo\?al Scots jfusflfecs. 

191 5 — September 25. 

PRIVATE JAMES DOWNIE, Royal Scots Fusiliers, who at one time 
was a member of the Peebles Star Football Club, and worked as a 
surfaceman on the Peebles branch of the North British Railway, was 
killed in the advance on Loos. The deceased, who was a young 
man, was a bomb-thrower, and a native of Peebles. 

It matters little how we live 
So long as we may greatly die; 
Fashioned for great things, O forgive 
Our dullness in the days gone by! 
Now glory wraps you like a cloak 
From us, and all such common folk. 




42. private £bomas fIDcffat Claris. 

mack Mate*. 

1915 — September 25. 

Private Thomas Moffat Clark, 9th Black Watch, aged 22 years, 
son of John Clark, Baitlaws, Lamington, and grandson of the late James 
Clark, Kirklands, Peebles, was first reported missing, then official 
intimation was received that he had been killed at the battle of Loos, 
on the 25th September 1 91 5. 

Private Clark served his apprenticeship as a gardener at Lamington 
House, and was following that occupation at Keith-Marischal, East 
Lothian, when he joined the army on the I ith November 1914. He 
enlisted into the 9th Black Watch, and left Salisbury Plain on the 8th 
July I9I5- 

Before leaving Salisbury Plain he wrote — "DEAR MOTHER, — Just a 
few lines to let you know we are leaving here for abroad to-night. I 
am sorry I did not get home, but it can't be helped now. You might 
write to Peebles and Southwood and let them know I am away, and 
I will write when I have more time. Don't worry yourself about me. 
I am quite happy, and I want you all to be the same, and it is to be 
hoped I will return all right. Will send a post card after I land." 

Heaven's thronged with gay and careless faces, 

New-waked from dreams of dreadful things; 
They walk in green and pleasant places 

And by the crystal water-springs, 
Who dreamt of dying and the slain, 

And the fierce thirst and the strong pain. 


Sergeant Adam R. STEVENSON. 


43 . Sergeant ttoam IRobcrtecn Stevenson. 

IRoval Scots. 

1915 — September 26. 

ROBERT STEVENSON, Winkston Cottages, received intimation that his 
second son, Sergeant ADAM ROBERTSON STEVENSON, 13th Royal Scots, 
had been killed at the front in the battle of Loos on 26th September. 

The sad news was conveyed in the following letter: — "As Adam's 
chum, I consider it my unpleasant duty to break the sad news of his 
death. He was killed in action on the 26th September, when he was 
bravely leading his platoon in a charge. It grieves me very much to 
have to write this, because I have no choice but to put the news of 
your bereavement bluntly, and I can only send you my sympathy and 
condolence, and the assurance that your loss is shared by myself and 
all the other N.C.O.'s and men of C Company, with whom he was 
extremely popular." 

Sergeant Stevenson, who was 24 years of age, was born near 
Motherwell, but came to Peeblesshire with his parents in 1898. Adam 
enlisted in the 13th Royal Scots in September 1914, and threw himself 
so keenly into the life that he was speedily rewarded with a Lance- 
Corporal's stripe, and rapidly passed the successive stages till he was 
promoted to be Sergeant. He went to France with his battalion in 
July 1915, and, previous to the fight in which he met his death, had 
escaped without a scratch. Before enlisting, he was engaged on the 
county roads in connection with the road roller, and had been in the 
employment of Peeblesshire County Council for four years. 

His sister, Nurse Bessie Stevenson, died in Canada on 28th 
November 1916. 

In Flanders' fields the poppies blow 
Between the crosses, row on row, 
That mark our place, and in the sky 
The larks still bravely singing fly, 
Scarce heard amid the guns below. 
We are the dead. Short days ago 
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, 
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie 
In Flanders' fields. 

Take up our quarrel with the foe. 
To you, from failing hands, we throw 
The torch; be yours to hold it high. 
If you break faith with us who die 
We shall not sleep though poppies grow 
In Flanders' fields. 


Private Jack Dougan. 


44. private 3acfc Dougan. 

1Ro\?al scots. 

1915 — October 10. 

JACK DOUGAN was a native of Glasgow, who had worked much in 
Peebles with Messrs Clyde, builders, where he was popular with his 
mates. He was one of those heroic soldiers who did, not their bit, 
but their all, unostentatiously and thoroughly, not much seen of men, 
but to whom nevertheless the Empire is indebted for their services, 
for their sacrifices, for their sufferings, and for their lives, and, in the 
end, for their results. 

Jack does not appear to have had many relatives, although he had 
friends in plenty; hence the scantiness of any account of his exploits 
and gallant death in the field. But to him was granted the military 
honour of hoisting the British flag upon a captured tower in France ; 
hence it is clear that Jack must have well earned this distinction. In 
the moment of glory, as has happened before, the Germans hurled a 
shell with deadly effect: when the smoke cleared away, the heroic 
soldier was gone, and with him the flag. He could not have desired 
more — to pass out with the flag in the supreme moment of victory! 
His age was 34. 

Some may perchance, with strange surprise, 

Have blundered into Paradise, 

In rusty dusk of life abroad. . . . 

Death dawned; Heaven lay in prospect wide — 

Lo ! they were standing by His side ! 


Lance-Corporal Robert Elder. 

1914 STAR. 


45. XancoCorpcral iRobcrt Elfcer. 

1Rov»al Scots. 

1915 — October 19. 

FOLLOWING the outbreak of the war, ROBERT ELDER, eldest son of 
William Elder, St Ronan's Cottage, March Street, Peebles, who 
was employed by Lowe, Donald & Co., enlisted in the 8th Royal Scots 
in September, and left Haddington for France in November. He was 
very much liked in Peebles, and no little of his popularity arose from 
his association with local football, as he was for long a prominent 
player in the Peebles Athletic and later in the Peebles Rovers. He 
was only 24 years of age, and a large circle of acquaintances experienced 
keen regret at his loss. 

The circumstances of Lance-Corporal Elder's death are narrated in 
the following letters to his parents: — 

" It is with the deepest regret that I have to inform you that 
your son was killed on Tuesday night, 19th October 1915, about 
nine o'clock. He was working with his comrades when a rifle 
grenade fell among them. Your son was killed instantaneously, 
while another was also killed and two wounded. It will be some 
little comfort, perhaps, for you to know that he suffered no pain. 
I know this news will be a terrible blow to you, but he died, as so 
many have already done, doing his duty. With us your son has 
always been what a true soldier should be — cheerful, willing, and 
brave. Once again allow me to offer you my most sincere sympathy." 

"I am very much grieved to let you know that Bob met his death 
last night. I am sorry to say I was not out when the accident 
happened, having been out during the day with the other half-company. 
He was working along with four others (two of whom were wounded 
and one killed), making a dug-out, when a rifle grenade fired from 
the German lines, and coming unusually far over, fell among them. 
His Platoon Sergeant tells me that he died almost instantly, and 
suffered no pain, which is some small consolation for your great loss. 
Mrs Elder and the family have my very deepest sympathy at this 
time. I have lost another true friend ; he was always so cheery and 

It appears that the other soldier who was killed at the same time, 
as stated in the foregoing letters, was Private Dalgleish, Traquair, 
Innerleithen, and both were buried in the same grave. 

On the forenoon of Sabbath, 24th October 191 5, at the close of his 
sermon, from I. Samuel xii., 24 — "Consider what great things the Lord 


hath done for you," the Rev. D. Y. Currie, West United Free Church, 
made the following reference to Lance-Corporal Elder: — "Death has 
come very near us during the past few days. Two families, living next 
door to each other, have been suddenly thrown into mourning. One 
has lost a father, the other has lost a son. The one has paid the 
debt we must all pay to Nature; the other has laid down his 
life a sacrifice for his country. Bob Elder! so young, so frank, 
so guileless, one of the very best of our boys. He won all our 
hearts by his winsome manner. To know him was to love him. 
Twelve months ago next Sabbath he sat with us at the Communion 
Table. On the Tuesday following he left for Haddington. On a 
cold drizzly night in November he went to France. All these months 
he has done his part in the war, and last Tuesday he met a soldier's 
death, and sleeps in a soldier's grave, far from home and kindred. 
Let us lay a tribute on his grave this morning — a loving tribute — for 
he has paid, not a debt to Nature — he gave his life for what is higher 
than Nature — a Cause! — the noblest cause for which a man can live, 
the highest for which a man can die. The true glory of any life lies 
in its moral quality, and the moral quality of the deed by which he 
laid down his life for his country is the same in kind, though less in 
degree, as that of the Christ who died for the world." 

Who is the happy warrior? Who is he 

That every man in arms should wish to be ? 

It is the generous spirit, who, when brought 

Among the tasks of real life, hath wrought 

Upon the plan that pleased his childish thought; 

Whose high endeavours are an inward light 

That makes the path before him always bright; 

Who, doomed to go in company with pain, 

And fear, and bloodshed, miserable train! 

Turns his necessity to glorious gain; 

But who, if called upon to face 

Some awful moment to which heaven hath joined 

Great issues, good or bad for human kind, 

Is happy as a lover; and attired 

With sudden brightness, like a man inspired ; 

And, while the mortal mist is gathering, draws 

His breath in confidence of Heaven's applause ; 

This is the Happy Warrior; this is he 

Whom every man in arms should wish to be. 



YOU boasted The Day, and you toasted The Day, 

And now The Day has come. 
Blasphemer, braggart, and coward all, 
Little you reck of the numbing ball, 
The blasting shell, or the "white arm's" fall, 

As they speed poor humans home. 

You spied for The Day, you lied for The Day, 

And woke The Day's red spleen. 
Monster, who asked God's aid Divine, 
Then strewed His seas with the ghastly mine, 
Not all the waters of all the Rhine 

Can wash thy foul hands clean. 

You dreamed for The Day, you schemed for The Day — 

Watch how The Day will go. 
Slayer of age and youth and prime 
(Defenceless slain for never a crime), 
Thou art steeped in blood as a hog in slime, 

False friend and cowardly foe. 

You have sown for The Day, you have grown for The Day, 

Yours is the harvest red; 
Can you hear the groans and the awful cries? 
Can you see the heap of slain that lies, 
And sightless, turned to the flame-split skies 

The glassy eyes of the dead? 

You have wronged for The Day, you have longed for The Day 

That lit the awful flame. 
'Tis nothing to you that hill and plain 
Yield sheaves of dead men amid the grain, 
That widows mourn for their loved ones slain, 

And mothers curse thy name. 

But after The Day there's a price to pay 

For the sleepers under the sod; 
And Him you have mocked for many a day, 
Listen and hear what He has to say — 
"Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," 

What can you say to God? 


Frivate David C. Ferguson. 


46. private Ba\rifc Coofe jfcrouson. 

Brggll an? Sutherland Ibigblanbers. 

1915 — October 28. 
Private David Cook Ferguson, son of William Ferguson, 80 High 

Street, Peebles, was killed in action in France. Private Ferguson was 
only 20 years of age, and in civil life followed the occupation of a 
gardener. His last situation was under the Dowager Duchess of 
Argyll at Campbeltown, and he had only left there for Clovenfords 
when the war broke out. 

In September 1914 he enlisted at Galashiels, in the I2th Argyll and 
Sutherland Highlanders, and it was in September 1915 that he left 
Britain for active service in France. 

With his mother and father he kept up unfailingly regular 
correspondence, and his last letter was dated 24th October. They 
replied to this, but to their great anxiety the letter was returned. 
Their anxiety was increased when it came to their knowledge that 
another Peebles lad had written to his parents stating that a Private 
D. Ferguson, belonging to the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, had 
been killed, and he suspected that it was the son of William 
Ferguson, 80 High Street, Peebles. Private Ferguson had a brother, 
James, in the 8th Royal Scots. 

Official intimation of Private Ferguson's death was afterwards 
received by his parents. In addition to the War Office intimation 
Mrs Ferguson received the following letter, dated 1st November 19 r 5 : 
■" It is with the deepest regret I am writing to you of the death of 
your son, who unfortunately lost his life on Thursday last. One of 
the quietest of my men, one of our best shots, and a man I could rely 
upon for anything, and one of the men I regret losing more than I 
can say, was your son ! The great consolation which must, in this 
hour of trial, be yours, is that he fell at his post defending the honour 
of our women and of his country and of his King. Believe me, we all 
miss him, and I voice the sentiments not only of his comrades, but 
also of the officers and N.C.O.'s of my company, in asking you to 
accept our deepest sympathy. We buried your son beside another of 
my poor men, and have erected a small cross on his grave. Everything 
possible was done to save him, but the wound in his head, from a 
German sniper, was a fatal one, and despite our efforts he succumbed. 
Please let me add to those of my brother officers, my own personal 
sympathies, and trust that you will bear up, as so many other mothers, 
wives, and others, have so bravely clone already, and put your trust in 
the great God whose will it was." 


I see them muster in a gleaming row, 
With ever-youthful brows that nobler show; 
We find in our dull road their shining track, 

They come transfigured back, 
Secure from change in their high-hearted ways, 
Beautiful evermore, and with the rays 
Of morn on their white shields of Expectation. 



MINE eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord; 
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored; 
He hath loosed the fatal lightning of His terrible swift sword — 
His truth is marching on! 

I have seen Him in the watch fires of a hundred circling camps; 
They have builded Him an altar in the ev'ning dews and damps; 
I read His righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps — 
His day is marching on! 

I have read a fiery gospel, writ in burnished rows of steel, 
"As ye deal with My contemners, so with you My grace shall deal;" 
Let the Hero, born of woman, crush the serpent with His heel, 
Since God is marching on! 

He hath sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat; 
He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment seat; 
Oh, be swift, my soul, to answer Him! be jubilant my feet — 
Our God is marching on! 

In the beauty of the lilies, Christ was born across the sea, 
With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me; 
As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free, 
While God is marching on! 

He is coming like the glory of the morning on the wave; 
He is wisdom to the mighty, He is succour to the brave; 
So the world shall be His footstool, and the soul of Time His slave — 
Our God is marching on! 



1914 STAR. 

Private John Foster. 


47 . private 3obn foster. 

1Rov?al Scots. 

TQ15 — December 2. 

ON Saturday, 4th December 1915, the remains of Private JOHN FOSTER, 
3 8th Royal Scots, who died of pneumonia in Morelands Red Cross 
Hospital, Peebles, after a week's illness, were interred in Peebles 
Cemetery with military honours. The cortege, as it wended its way 
from the hospital at Tweed Green to the cemetery through the streets, 
preceded by a firing party and the Pipe Band and Silver Band of the 
3 8th Royal Scots, attracted much attention, and made a most 
impressive and solemn spectacle. The coffin, wrapped in a large 
Union Jack, was borne on a hearse, which was followed by 
relatives and a large number of the public and B Company of the 
3 8th, to which company the deceased was attached. At the cemetery 
a short service was conducted by the Rev. J. H. Watt, M.A., S. Peter's 
Episcopal Church, and the Rev. Dr Martin, Peebles Parish Church, the 
latter of whom was Chaplain to the troops at Peebles. The service 
was concluded by the firing-party firing three volleys over the open 
grave and the bugle sounding the "Last Post," 

Private Foster, who was 34 years of age, was a mason to trade. 
He was called-up as a Territorial at the beginning of the war, and 
went to France with the I 8th Royal Scots on 2nd November 1914. 
Shortly thereafter he was invalided home suffering from rheumatism. 
Sometime later he was attached to the 2/'8th Royal Scots, then to the 
3, 8th Royal Scots. Private Foster, who resided at 41 Northgate, 
Peebles, was survived by his widow and young family of four boys 
and one girl, whose ages ranged from 2 years to 14 years. He was the 
second eldest son of Arthur Foster, 59 Northgate, Peebles, a mason 
with the North British Railway Company. Deceased was one of four 
brothers who were members of the Royal Scots -- Tom and Nicholas 
(both privates) in the I /8th, and Arthur, a Corporal, in the 2/8th. 

I never stand above a beir and see 

The seal of death set on some well-loved face 
But that I think " One more to welcome me 

When I shall cross the intervening space 
Between this land and that one over there, 
One more to make the strange 'Beyond' seem fair." 


Lieutenant JOHN DAVIDSON. 


48. lieutenant 3obn Bavifcson. 

Ibigblanb Xigbt 3-nfantcg. 

19 1 5 — December 19. 

At Richmond Camp, Yorks, on the 19th December 1915, Lieutenant 
and Quartermaster JOHN DAVIDSON, 13th Battalion Highland Light 
Infantry, late of the 1st Royal Scots, succumbed to an attack of 

Lieutenant Davidson had, just a month before his death, received 
a presentation, to mark the forty-fourth anniversary of his entry into 
the Army, from the Colonel and officers of the 13th Highland Light 
Infantry. He had been practically all his life in the Army, having 
enlisted as a lad in the First Regiment of Foot — the 1st Royal Scots — 
on the 18th November 1871. He served with his regiment in various 
stations at home and abroad, and rose through the various non-com- 
missioned ranks to be Colour-Sergeant of his company. Holding that 
rank, he went through the Bechuanaland Expedition of 1884-5. His 
devotion to duty and his honest worth were justly recognised at all 
stages of his career by his superiors, and their testimony was ample 
enough to secure for him, on the termination of his service with the 
Colours, various important posts on the administrative side of the War 
Office. There he gained an intimate acquaintance with departmental 
work. He served as Quartermaster-Sergeant in the Royal Scots 
Reserve during the South African War, and he was also closely 
identified in Peebles with the Volunteer movement, having acted very 
acceptably as drill instructor for over four years. 

When the war broke out he was in the employment of Lowe, 
Donald & Co. Placing himself and his experience at the service of 
his King and country, the offer was gladly accepted, and he was 
appointed to the 13th Highland Light Infantry as Quartermaster. 
Lieutenant Davidson's worth and capabilities very soon manifested 
themselves to his Colonel and brother officers, by all of whom he was 
held in the highest esteem. Just a fortnight before his death 

Lieutenant Davidson spent a pleasant furlough in Peebles, and left 
for Richmond Camp, in Yorkshire, apparently well and happy, and it 
was consequently with considerable grief that his wide circle of 
friends and acquaintances received the news of his death, he having 
succumbed, as above stated, to pleurisy, contracted shortly after 
arriving at camp. . He was survived by his wife, his home address 
being St Elmo, Kirkland Street, Peebles. 

His remains were brought to Peebles, and rested in St Peter's 


Episcopal Church, from which a military funeral conveyed his body to 
Peebles Cemetery. The coffin was enveloped in the folds of the 
Union Jack. The pipers played, as a slow march, "Scots Wha Hae," 
and the Silver Band the "Dead March" in "Saul." Representa- 
tives of his regiment followed the hearse, and also acted as pall- 
bearers. Three volleys were fired over the grave, " Lochaber no 
More" was wailed upon the pipes, and the "Last Post" was sounded. 

Beside the fire at night, some far December, 

We shall remember 
And tell men unbegotten as yet the story 

Of your sad glory, 
Of your plain strength, your truth of heart, your splendid 

Coolness — all ended. 



THE curtain's falling, and the lights burn low, 
So, with God's help, I'm ready now to go. 
I've seen life's melodrama, paid the price, 
Have known its loves and losses, hopes and fears, 

The laughter and the tears, 
And now, God knows, I would not see it twice. 

I've crossed life's ocean, faced its blinding foam, 
But now Heaven whispers I am nearing home, 
And though a storm-tossed hull I reach the shore, 
A thing of tattered sheets and broken spars, 

Naked against the stars, 
I soon shall be at peace for evermore. 

For if again I pass these waters through, 
I know the kingdom I am sailing to. 
What boots it where I lie ? — beneath the sod, 
Or down the dark impenetrable deep, 

Where way-worn seamen sleep ? 
All gates are good through which we pass to God. 



Trooper William Murray. 


49. trooper William fll>uiTa\>. 

Xanatftsbire Jgeomanrg. 

191 5 — December 27. 

KILLED in action while on service with the Mediterranean 
Expeditionary Force, on 27th December 1915, Trooper WILLIAM 
MURRAY, Lanarkshire Yeomanry, aged 25 years, second son of Mrs 
James Murray, 36 Rosetta Road, Peebles. 

The Lieutenant in command of Trooper Murray's squadron wrote 
as follows to Mrs Murray: — "Doubtless you will now have been 
informed by the authorities of the sad news of the death of your son, 
Trooper William Murray. I take the liberty of writing to inform you 
of the manner of his death. He was killed by a shell, which also 
killed Major Monteith and seven others, on the 27th December 1915. 
The shell burst in the trench during the bombardment, and while 
Major Monteith was removing the troops to a place of greater safety. 
He was killed instantaneously, and had no suffering. He was buried 
in a grave that was dug just behind the firing line, and a service was 
held over him by a Chaplain of the Church of Scotland. His personal 
effects will be forwarded to you in due course. He was a most 
efficient soldier, most willing and cheerful, and we miss him very 

Trooper Murray was 25 years of age, and was called up as a 
member of the Lanarkshire Yeomanry. In civil life he was employed 
in the hiring establishment at Ellerslie, Peebles. His elder brother, 
Sapper James Murray, was attached to the Royal Engineers, while a 
younger brother, Driver Harry Murray, served in the Royal Field 

"Yet this, O mothers, take for comforting: 
We suffer and not they; the glorious Dead 
Are now at peace from Hate and Fear," I said ; 
" That day they died they vanquished suffering. 

"Therefore rejoice with them; for not in vain 
They gave the virgin glory of their youth, 
That evil should not overcome, that truth 
Might not be trampled for a tyrant's gain." 



Lance-Corporal Walter Baillie. 


49a. Xance^Corporal Wlaltcr Baillie, 

TRoval Engineers. 

1916 — January 15. 

BEFORE enlisting in the Royal Engineers in September 1914, 
Lance-Corporal WALTER BAILLIE was employed as a carder in 
Tweedside Mill, and was the youngest son of William Baillie, the 
manager. He was invalided home, and died on the 15th January 1916. 

As a football player, Walter Baillie was favourably known, he 
being a prominent member of the pre-war Peebles clubs. The 
Border district was looked upon by many as a recognised nursing 
ground for the production of footballers, and most of the prominent 
Scottish clubs included in their lists representatives from Tweedside. 
Peebles enthusiasts especially are proud of the position their ancient 
and royal burgh holds as a producing centre, and it is their boast 
that they had put on the football field a native "five" that was 
better than most and equal to the best. That five — which was as 
follows: — Baillie (Peebles Athletic), Bain (Hamilton Academicals), 
Buchan (Queen's Park), Reid (Airdrieonians), and Cairncross (Third 
Lanark) — was invited to take part in several five-a-side tournaments, 
and during one particular season they all but " scooped the pool." 
At the Marine Gardens, Portobello, on one occasion they were 
successful in disposing of the Hibernians and Falkirk, but fell to the 
Airdrieonians in the final. 

Lance-Corporal Baillie was also well known as a keen cricketer, 
being identified with the Peebles County Club. He was a principal 
solo singer in the choir of Peebles Parish Church. He was unmarried, 
and was 23 years of age. His brother, Sergeant James Hogg Baillie, 
fell on the 18th May 1918. 

And now tears are not mine. I have release 
From all the former and the later pain; 
Like the mid sea, I rock in boundless peace, 
Soothed by the charity of the deep-sea rain. . . . 
Calm rain! Calm sea! Calm found, long sought in vain! 

O bronzen pines, evening of gold and blue, 
Steep, mellow slope, brimmed twilit pools below, 
Hushed trees, still vale dissolving in the dew, 
Farewell. Farewell. There is no more to do. 
We have been happy. Happy now I go. 



1914 STAR. 


50. iprivatc ftbomas Bucban. 

IRovjal Scots. 

1916 — March 5. 

MRS ANDREW BUCHAN, Briggate, Peebles, received word of the death 
at the front of her son, Private THOMAS BUCHAN, 2nd Royal Scots, 
attached Royal Scots Fusiliers. 

At the very early age of 17 years this young soldier made the 
supreme sacrifice for his country, as he would not have reached his 
18th birthday until the following June. In one of the recruiting- 
movements immediately before the outbreak of war, Private Buchan 
enlisted, and in October 1914 he was sent out to France. Suffering 
from frost-bite in the feet, he came home on sick furlough in February 
1915, but returned to the front again in July. His vocation in Peebles 
was that of carter. Much sympathy was felt for his parents in their 
bereavement. His father was Private Andrew Buchan, of the 8th 
Battalion of The Royal Scots. 

It appears that Private Thomas Buchan was killed in the 
trenches on Sunday, 5th March, and the information came through the 
medium of the following letter to his mother from the Chaplain of the 
2nd Royal Scots — " I greatly regret to have sad news to convey to 
you. The battalion was in the trenches on Sunday, and Private 
Buchan was hit. The wound was, I am sorry to say, a fatal one. 
Well, what is there to say in comfort, but just this — He has given his 
all, and Christ says no man hath greater love than this. Surely he 
has already heard the ' Well done, good and faithful servant,' of his 
Saviour. For you there is the memory of one who did his duty 
fearlessly and cheerfully, and I pray that you and those who sorrow 
with you may find comfort and rest in our Lord's words, ' Lo, I am 
with you alway.'" 

God be with you, and us who go our way 
And leave you dead upon the ground you won. 
For you at last the long fatigue is done, 
The hard march ended; you have rest to-day. 

For you no medals such as others wear — 

A cross of bronze for those approved brave — 

To you is given, above a shallow grave, 

The wooden cross that marks you resting there. 





51. lprivatc James flOascm. 

Seafortb 1bigblan&ers. 

1916— March 6. 

DIED of wounds at Connaught Hospital, Aldershot, on the 6th March 
1916, Private JAMES MASON, 8th Seaforth Highlanders, eldest son of 
James Mason, Peebles. 

This young, gallant, and handsome soldier, of only 21 years of 
age, had been wounded and removed to hospital in France; he was 
later transferred to the Connaught Hospital, Aldershot, where he 
passed away from meningitis. He was visited by his parents in the 
previous week, and when they left to return home he appeared to be 
making satisfactory progress. Unfavourable symptoms supervened, 
however. Private Mason had seen a good deal of fighting ere he was 
wounded. He was a butcher with James M'Kenna, Eastgate, Peebles. 
His remains were interred in Peebles Cemetery, with full military 
honours, on Saturday, 11th March. 

The Lieutenant of the 8th Seaforths wrote — "Allow me to express 
my sincerest sympathy with you at the death of your son. He was in 
the IOth Battalion when I joined it, and was under me in France 
when I joined the 8th Battalion. One of the smartest soldiers in the 
company, always neat and tidy on parade, and obeying orders 
willingly and cheerfully, he was a man in whom I knew I could 
always place the utmost reliance. Had he survived a little longer he 
was certain of promotion. He has given his all in his duty, and you 
have every reason to be proud of him. It was the example and hard 
fighting of such as he that made a name for the 8th Seaforths at 
Loos which will never be forgotten; and having been spared through 
that awful fight it is particularly sad that he has been spared for so 
short a time." 

Private Mason was an adherent of the Leckie Memorial United 
Free Church, and at the close of the forenoon service on Sunday, 1 2th 
March, the Rev. Oliver Russell, M.A., minister of the congregation, 
made the following reference to Private Mason's death: — "The horror 
and cruelty of war have been brought very close to us by the death 
from wounds, on 6th March, at the age of twenty-one years, of 
Private James Mason, 8th Seaforth Highlanders. He was one of our 
own boys, and it is but two months since we saw him in church here, 
sitting in the place which he regularly occupied before he left to join 
the Army. He was home then on short leave, and in the little time 
at his disposal he had much to do and many friends to see. We are 


glad to remember that he found time to visit his minister and his 
church. For a while he was an office-bearer in the Bible Class, and 
one looked forward to his taking larger and more important 
responsibilities in the future, for what he undertook he did well. To 
see him was to admire him, but to know him was to love him. He 
was a splendidly made lad, tall and broad, carrying himself straight 
as a sapling pine. His clear, honest eyes looked one straight in the 
face— manly, yet modest. And the fine form was fitting frame for the 
man himself. He had been very happy in his home, and in his 
work, and in his friends. Life had been good to him, and he gave to 
life its full nobility. Any parents would rejoice in such a son; any 
woman might have been proud and glad of him. He had an 
extraordinary wealth of happy-heartedness. A friend some time ago 
told me that as he went early to his work, he would be cheered every 
morning as he passed the stable door by the sound of Jim Mason 
singing at his work. For such a one high hopes were entertained of 
future happiness and service. But when the call of his country came 
he sprang to help her, and so has laid the world away. For honour 
and righteousness he has poured out the red, sweet wine of youth, 
and given up the years-to-be of work and joy and love. The cheery 
voice we knew is silent now, and the brave heart lies mute and 
motionless for ever. Oh, the tragedy of it all! Our hearts go out in 
silent sympathy to his sorrowing father and mother, to his brothers 
and sister and friends, and to all those who knew him and who 
mourn his loss. May the God of all mercies bless and comfort them 

And on that day he went to die 
His spirit soared on rainbow wings; 
Gladly he went, with head held high, 
And singing as a lover sings 
To greet the dusky night, that brings 
His hour of happiness more nigh. 

Ah, surely when his life was sped 
That spirit hastened to your side. 
Would you but raise your weeping head 
You'd hear him whisper in the tide, 
Or on the winds of Heaven ride 
Forever with the Mighty Dead. 


The Struggle for the Ypres Salient. 

AT the end of March 1916 the British again attacked. The Ypres 
salient now represented a shallow semi-circle, beginning in the north 
at Boesinghe, on the Ypres-Dixmude Canal, and ending in the south 
at St Eloi. At the latter point a small German salient encroached on 
our line to the depth of 100 yards on a front of 600. It was resolved 
to get rid of this. On the 27th March we exploded six large mines 
with a colossal shock. Immediately thereafter the Northumberland 
Fusiliers and the Royal Fusiliers were racing across the open to the 
German trenches. By the 3rd April we had gained the whole of our 
objective. Then followed several weeks of confused and difficult 
fighting. Between 19th and 21st April the Germans delivered many 
of their fiercest assaults. On Good Friday, 21st April, we won back 
all that we had lost. On 27th April the Germans resumed great 
activity with various forms of poison gas. Under protection of this, 
they penetrated small parts of our lines, but were soon expelled. Two 
days later the attack was repeated at Hulluch, but it proved a wild 
fiasco. The wind veered, and the gas was driven back upon the 
invading Germans. This was on the 29th April. On the following 
days the Germans continued their assaults under cover of their gas; 
but all without result to themselves, except severe losses. 





52. private 3osepb flraser. jfusilicrs. 

1916 — May 2. 
AUTHENTIC word came to Joseph Fraser, March Street, Peebles, that 
his son, Private JOSEPH FRASER, of the Royal Fusiliers, had died on 
Tuesday, 2nd May, from wounds received in the trenches at Bully- 
Grenay, France, on 30th April. He was so severely wounded by the 
explosion of a shrapnel shell that he could not be removed to the 
base hospital, but died in the schoolhouse at Petit-Sains. 

When the war broke out between Britain and Turkey, Private 
Fraser was employed as a traveller and buyer with W. D. & H. O. 
Wills & Co., tobacco manufacturers, at one of their business places 
about twelve miles from Trebizond. After war had been declared he 
was interned in Trebizond, but through the good offices of the 
American Consul he was at length liberated, and then endured a 
series of great hardships in getting through Bulgaria and on to 
Athens. He arrived in London in December, with the intention of 
coming home, but he changed his mind, and enlisted in the Royal 
Fusiliers, leaving for the front at the end of March. He was only 28 
years of age, and was a native of Tillicoultry, coming to Peebles in 
1905 to take up the duties of bookkeeper and cashier with the Peebles 
Co-Operative Society. He continued in that position until he left in 
1913 to enter the employment of Messrs Wills at Bristol, later on (in 
January 1914); proceeding to Turkey, where, as stated, he was 
employed as traveller and buyer for the same firm. Much sympathy 
was felt for Mr and Mrs Fraser and their family in their sad loss, Joe, 
as he was familiarly known, being a universal favourite, and much 
esteemed by all with whom he came in contact. 

Mr and Mrs Fraser's other son, Private Tom Fraser, was in the 
Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. 

The following are the letters received by Mr and Mrs Fraser 
intimating the death of their son: — 

The Lieutenant in command of B Company when Private Fraser 
was killed, wrote, under date 3rd May 1916 — " It is with great regret 
I have to inform you that your son died at 8 P.M. yesterday, from 
the wounds received two days previously. He was with us only 
a short time, but during that time he proved himself to be an 
excellent soldier, earning the respect of his comrades and the 
confidence of his officers. In this hour of trial to you I would ask 
you to bear with fortitude your great loss, knowing that your son 
gave his life so nobly in his country's cause. He was buried this 


afternoon in a British Cemetery, the whole of his company and officers 

A Captain in the Royal Army Medical Corps wrote — "By the time 
this reaches yon, yon will have got the very sad news of the death of 
your son, and as he was my patient in this field ambulance from the 
time he was wounded until the end, I feel I must tell you how very 
sorry we all were to lose him. He was badly wounded in the right 
shoulder, and had also nasty wounds in both legs. The cause of his 
death, however, was an injury to the right lung, caused by the same 
piece of shell as hit the shoulder. I can tell you with all truthfulness, 
and not merely to comfort you, that he suffered very little pain. 
That is one of the most wonderful features of many of the wounds 
one sees out here. From the first I was convinced that your son 
could not pull through, but I can assure you that everything possible 
was done for him. He had a room all to himself, and an orderly 
with him night and clay. He never grumbled, always said he felt 
splendid, and was as fine a patient as any doctor could wish or ever 
expect to meet. He was conscious right up to the end, and half an 
hour before his death asked for a smoke. I must tell you that I did 
not think it my duty to tell him he was dying. He never realised 
he was so ill, and passed away suddenly from heart failure, quite 
comfortably, and without pain. I can only tell you now, Mrs Fraser, 
how very deeply I sympathise with you, and some day, perhaps, if I 
am spared, I may call and see you and let you know anything more 
that I can. Being born in Innerleithen, which is not so very far from 
Peebles, I was specially interested in your son, and hoped against 
hope that he might pull through." 

A Sergeant in the Royal Army Medical Corps wrote — "By special 
request of your son, Joseph Fraser, I sent you a field service post card 
two days ago, informing you that he had been seriously wounded. 
Now I consider it only a part of my duty towards you, as one who 
helped to attend to his needs during his helplessness, to give you a 
little information about his death, which, to my great sorrow, took 
place last night, Tuesday, 2nd May 1916, at 8 P.M. On Sunday, 30th 
April, he was seriously wounded, whilst in the trenches, in the right 
shoulder and in both legs by a shell. The same day he was admitted 
to our field ambulance, where, I can honestly say, everything" possible 
was done for him. He complained of no pains whatever, and perhaps 
it will be some relief to mention that he expressed his thankfulness 
for the attention that was being paid to him. It was his wish that I 
should write to you. I was with him when he passed peacefully 
away, as a soldier fighting for home, King, and country, for a just 
cause, out of the world of strife into another of perfect peace and rest. 
Kindly accept the deepest sympathy from my comrades and myself." 


Surely the bitterness of death is past, 
Drained to the dregs the waters of despair. 
Yea, pride in our beloved shall outlast 
All poor desiring for the things that were. 

The men we wedded, and the sons we bare, 
Died valiantly, and for the right stood fast; 
Yet "twas our blood that made them strong to dare, 
Our hearts that in the battle-scale were cast. 


The Fighting in May. 

THREE Peebles soldiers fell together on the night of Sunday, the 21 st 
of May 1916. They were Private Alexander B. Mitchell, Private 
Ernest J. Cook, and Private Joseph Bennett — all of the Royal Scots. 
Privates Mitchell and Bennett were bedmates, and lie buried together. 
Privates Mitchell and Cook, while in Peebles, dwelt very near to one 
another. In their death, all three gallant fellows were united. 

In the middle of May, the Vimy Ridge, which had been quiet for 
some months, became again the centre of interest. On the 15th of 
May we blew up several mines on the ridge, and the craters were for 
some days hotly contested. Early on the morning of the 2lst of May 
the fire rose to hurricane pitch, and that evening the German infantry 
attacked the north end of the ridge and carried our first line on a 
front of 1500 yards. Our trenches were completely wiped out, and it 
was calculated that the enemy had concentrated on this small section 
one hundred batteries. It was on this day the three Peebles soldiers 
fell, among many others. The fighting died down about the 25th of 



Canada: An expeditionary force of more than twenty thousand men. The 
cruisers Niobe and Rainbow for Admiralty use. A hospital ship from 
women of the Dominion. Ninety-eight million pounds of flour. 

AUSTRALIA: An expeditionary force of twenty thousand men. Australian 
Navy placed under the control of the Admiralty. 

New Zealand: A force of eight thousand men, to be kept up to full 
strength during the war. The Dominion's Naval force at the disposition 
of the Admiralty. 

Truly ye come of The Blood; slower to bless than to ban; 

Little used to lie down at the bidding of any man. 

Flesh of the flesh that I bred, bone of the bone that I bare ; 

Stark as your sons shall be — stern as your fathers were. 

Deeper than speech our love, stronger than life our tether, 

But we do not fall on the neck nor kiss when we come together. 

My arm is nothing weak, my strength is not gone by ; 

Sons, I have borne many sons, but my dugs are not dry. 

Look, I have made ye a place and opened wide the doors, 

That ye may walk together, your Barons and Councillors — 

Wards of the Outer March, Lords of the Lower Seas, 

Aye, talk to your Grey Mother that bore ye on her knees ! — 

That ye may talk together, brother to brothers face — 

Thus for the good of your peoples — thus for the Pride of the Race. 

Also, we will make promise. So long as The Blood endures, 

I shall know that your good is mine ; ye shall feel that my strength is yours ; 

In the day of Armageddon, at the last great fight of all, 

That Our House stand together and the pillars do not fall. 

Draw now the threefold knot firm on the ninefold bands, 

And the Law that ye make shall be law after the rule of your lands. 

This for the waxen Heath, and that for the Wattle-bloom, 

This for the Maple Leaf, and that for the southern Broom. 

The Law that ye make shall be law and I do not press my will, 

Because ye are Sons of The Blood and call me Mother still. 

Now must ye speak to your kinsmen and they must speak to you, 

After the use of the British, in straight-flung words and few. 

Go to your work and be strong, halting not in your ways, 

Baulking the end half-won for an instant dole of praise. 

Stand to your work and be wise — certain of sword and pen, 

Who are neither children nor gods, but men in a world of men! 


Private Alex. B. Mitchell. 


53. lprivate Hlejranber Bain fHMtcbell. 

IRoval Scots. 

1916 — May 21. 

KILLED in action in France, at Maroeuil, on the 2lst May 1916, Private 
ALEXANDER B. MITCHELL, Royal Scots, son of James Mitchell, 
Northgate, Peebles, aged 18 years. 

Mr and Mrs James Mitchell, 45 Northgate, Peebles, received the 
painful news of the death of their son. Private Alexander B. Mitchell, 
a lad who was just closing his eighteenth year. Later on this 
was followed by a letter from Regimental Headquarters, intimating 
that the young soldier had died as a result of shell fire on the 
night of Sunday, 2lst May; that he had not suffered; and that 
he had been interred in a British soldiers' cemetery. Official 
notice reached Peebles also. 

Private Mitchell, before enlisting in the Royal Scots, was engaged 
as an apprentice baker and confectioner with J. H. Goodburn & 
Sons, bakers, High Street and Northgate. He joined the army in 
March 1915, and went out to France on the 7th March 1916. He 
was one of the three Peebles victims of the shell that, exploding 
on a billet of the Royal Scots a few miles behind the firing line, 
killed Privates Ernest J. Cook and Joseph Bennett, and wounded 
several other soldiers, one of whom was Private Thomas Foster, 
son of Arthur Foster, Northgate, Peebles. Mr and Mrs Mitchell 
first received the news through a letter written by a brother-in-law to 
his wife, in the course of which he said — "I am very sorry to say that 
I have the very worst news, as Sandy Mitchell was killed yesterday 
morning by a shell bursting on his billet. It's very hard lines just to 
be newly out, and some of us to be out all the time and be lucky 
enough to escape. Poor lad ! He did not live long after he was 
hit. He was got out of the building, but just breathed and no more 
after he was got. He died, poor lad, doing his bit for his country." 

Our little hour: how swift it flies, 
When poppies flare and lilies smile; 
How soon the fleeting minute dies, 
Leaving us but a little while 
To dream our dream, to sing our song, 
To pick the fruit, to pluck the flower, 
The gods, they do not give us long — 
One little hour. 



Private ERNEST J. COOK. 


54. private Ernest 3. <Zooh. 

IRogal Scots. 

1916 — May 21. 

MRS ERNEST J. COOK, Usher's Wynd, Peebles, received a letter from 
Regimental Headquarters, dated 23rd May 1916, conveying to her 
the intelligence of the death of her husband, Private ERNEST J. 
COOK, by shell fire, on the night of Sunday, 2lst May. It offered the 
consolation to the bereaved wife that death was instantaneous ; that 
the gallant soldier had died absolutely without any suffering; and 
that his remains had been interred on the following day in a British 
soldiers' cemetery. This was followed by official intimation of the 
sad event. 

Private Cook, of the Royal Scots, was a native of Dundee, but his 
parents were Galashiels folk. He was 36 years of age, and was 
engaged at his trade as a painter in March Street Mills when he 
enlisted after the outbreak of war in 1914. He had been just over a 
year out in France when he was killed, and in his last letter to his 
wife had spoken of the near approach of his first furlough, which 
he was fated never to enjoy. Mrs Cook was left with four children, 
the eldest 9 years and the youngest 2 years of age. Private Cook's 
death was the result of a stray shell exploding on the billet a few 
miles behind the firing line. 

Our little hour: how short a time 
To wage our wars, to fan our hates, 
To take -our fill of armoured crime, 
To troop our banners, storm the gates. 
Blood on the sword, our eyes blood-red, 
Blind in our puny reign of power, 
Do we forget how soon is sped 
Our little hour? 



Private Joseph Bennett. 


55. private Josepb Bennett. 

IRoval Scots. 

1916 — May 21. 

ON Sunday night, the 2 1st of May 1916, Private JOSEPH BENNETT, 
of the I 8th Battalion The Royal Scots, was killed instantaneously by 
the bursting of a shell. He suffered no pain. His body was buried 
in the military cemetery, Marceuil, Pas de Calais. The village in 
which Private Bennett was located was being subjected to a heavy 
bombardment by the enemy. He was in a house along with other 
fourteen men, and was preparing to leave for a safer place, when a 
shell came through the roof, with the result that eight of the men 
were killed and six were wounded. 

Private Bennett was 24 years of age, and was a native of 
Galashiels, but had resided in Peebles for some years before war broke 
out. He was latterly employed in March Street Mills, and enlisted in 
the Royal Scots. He was fully two months at the front ere he fell. 
His bedmate was Private Alexander B. Mitchell, from Peebles, who 
met his fate at the same time. 

Our little hour — how soon it dies; 
How short a time to tell our beads, 
To chant our feeble litanies, 
To think sweet thoughts, to do good deeds. 
The altar lights grow pale and dim, 
The bells hang silent in the tower — 
So passes with the dying hymn 
Our little hour. 



Mesopotamia and Peebles. 

WHICH of all the Peebles lads, in their wildest moments, ever dreamed 
that it would be their lot to fight in the Garden of Eden? Yet this 
event happened to many ; and death came to not a few. Private 
John Amos Wilson, a handsome lad, of brave disposition and bright, 
fearless eye, was the first to fall. 

General Townshend, the British commander, had found sanctuary 
in Kut for the remnant of the Bagdad Expeditionary Force, with the 
enemy closing around him. This was on the 3rd December 1 9 1 5 . 
He had 10,000 men with him, having lost 4567 in fighting around 
Ctesiphon, and in the subsequent retirement. By the 5th December 
the siege of Kut by the Turkish Army had begun in earnest. The 
bombardment was heaviest on the 10th and Ilth. After that there 
came a lull. But on the 23rd December a new Division, the 52nd, 
arrived from Gallipoli, and the Turkish General made a furious 
attempt to carry the place by assault. He failed. Henceforth his plan 
was blockade. He drew in his lines, invested Kut, and barred the 
road against relief. The relieving force was under General Aylmer, 
V.C. Among its troops were British Territorial battalions that had 
been brought from India. Fierce battles raged daily from the 4th 
January to the 13th. On the 2lst January General Aylmer attacked, 
but failed. Thereafter there was complete stagnation for a month. 
On the 23rd February he pushed out a column, and on the 7th March 
he embarked on his boldest venture. This was to turn the main 
Turkish position at Es Sinn. The place of assembly was at the 
Pools of Siloam, on the evening of the 7th March, on the right bank 
of the Tigris. On the 8th March we attacked all day and failed. 
The Turks had their defence ready. We had no water. Another 
month of inaction followed. Sir G. P. Gorringe was the next 
commander. He had with him the 13th Division, which had done 
glorious things at Gallipoli. Sixteen miles of sap-work were 
constructed. The attack took place in the early morning of 5th April. 
Brilliant successes followed, and all the lines were taken by assault, 
until only the lines of Sanna-i-yat and Es Sinn remained. But Nature 
intervened on behalf of the enemy. The snows melted on the moun- 
tains, and brought down in flood the Tigris, which flooded the plains 
and labyrinths of trenches. From the 9th April to the I2th, and from 
the 1 2th to the 17th, we struggled through deep water to repeated 
attacks. On the 17th and 1 8th April occurred the heaviest counter 
attacks of the Turks, led by German officers. They failed. There 
remained only the Sanna-i-yat line. We carried its first and second 



trenches on the 23rd April, but after that we succeeded no further: 
Nature and weather were too much. On the 24th April an attempt 
at relief by steamer failed. On the 29th April Kut fell. Hunger and 
disease, thunder, floods, and waterspouts had all assisted the enemy. 

Private JOHN A. WILSON. 


Private JOHN A. WILSON. 


56. private 3obn Hmos Milson. 

Scots ©revs (attacbeo to Seafortbs). 

1916 — May 23. 

ON this day, 23rd May 1916, there passed away at Freeman-Thomas 
Hospital, Bombay, as the result of wounds received in action in 
Mesopotamia during April, Private JOHN AMOS WILSON, eldest son of 
George and Mrs Wilson, Eastgate, Peebles, aged 23 years. 

Private John Wilson enlisted in September 1914 in the Scots Greys. 
He was keen to go; nothing would stay him. He enlisted in the 
Regular Army, and with cheerful perseverance underwent all the 
discouragements and hardships of the riding-school, ever with the 
great end in view; but after all his cavalry training, which lasted until 
May 1915, he was transferred to the Seaforth Highlanders, with which 
regiment he proceeded to France on the 13th July 1915. In November 
of the same year he proceeded to Mesopotamia. He was then only 
21 years of age. 

With the other members of his regiment, Private Wilson experienced 
all the terrible fighting of the campaign in a dry and thirsty land. 
The transport had been horribly bungled; medical arrangements were 
so bad as to constitute criminal stupidity. Disease, thirst, starvation, 
sun, mosquitoes, wounds, disappointment, and repulse were all borne by 
John Wilson and his heroic comrades with unwavering cheerfulness. 
Although at that time the campaign was not directly successful, yet 
its record remains with us who continued at home as one prolonged 
epic of silent, uncomplaining, heroic courage and endurance, battling 
in vain against bureaucratic ineptitude and callous stupidity. 

John Wilson's life was a beautiful one in Tweeddale, in the hopes 
and glens of which he was well known and ever popular. At home 
in the family circle it was the same: a good brother, and a loving son 
to his parents. In the regiment there was no one more esteemed and 
respected both by men and officers. He was friendly and kindly and 
unselfish with all. He left behind him in Tweeddale and its county 
town the memory of a handsome lad, of open nature, reliable 
disposition, and kindly heart, and of great and abounding patriotism. 
His was a fine example. 

Somewhere abroad he lies, 

The lad with the laughing eyes, 
And I bade him good-bye but yesterday ! 
He clasped my hand in a manly grip ; 
I can see him now with a smiling lip, 
And his chin held high in the old, proud way. 


Salt of our Scottish earth, 

A lad of promise and worth, 
Straight and true as the blade at his side, 
Instant to answer his country's call 
He leapt to the fray to fight and fall ; 
And there, in his youth's full blood, he died. 

Victor yet in his grave, 

All that he had he gave ; 
Nor may we weep for the might-have-been, 
For the quenchless flame of a heart aglow 
Burns clear that the soul yet blind may know 
The vision splendid his eyes have seen! 

Weep for the wasted life 
Of him who shrinks from the strife, 
Shunning the path that the brave have trod ; 
Not for the friend whose task is done, 
Who strove, with his face to the morning sun, 
Up and up to his God! 



A BOY went off to the Dardanelles, 

It wasn't so much for a boy to do ; 
Youth learns to laugh at the screaming shells, 

Laughs, though its body is cut in two; 
In the place of danger and day of need 
The boys will gather — for that's their breed — 
With one to follow, and one to lead — 
And what does it mean to you ? 

A boy in a boat at the Dardanelles, 

His young lips firm and his young eyes grave ; 
Be sure that the heart within him swells 

When the searchlight falls on the quiet wave. 
There's a crash of noise in the silent air, 
A flame-burst here, and a flash-light there, 
And the whisper of bullets everywhere : 

Do you think that the boy is brave? 

A boy lies prone at the Dardanelles, 

Lies with a white face pinched and thin; 

Out of his wound the red blood wells, 
And Death that night has a prize to win. 

Death sits grim at his shoulder-blade, 

But the boy looks at him unafraid, 

Shutting his teeth till the dawn brings aid — 
And here is where you come in ! 

A boy came back from the Dardanelles, 

And the flesh is torn from his bleeding side: 

Round him, all in their separate hells, 
The rest who were stricken and have not died. 

Now for the sake of that bandage red, 

His badge of glory on side or head, 

With something to leave him comforted, 
Show him your love and pride! 


Private JOHN G. LiDDLE. 

1914 STAR. 


57. private 3ohn 6ncvc XifcMe. 

IRogal Scots. 

1916 — June 22. 

ONE of the Peebles Territorials, Private JOHN GRIEVE LlDDLE went 
out to France in November 1914, with the 1 '8th Royal Scots, the first 
Scottish Territorial battalion to arrive in France. While in the 
trenches there he contracted rheumatic fever. He was discharged in 
August 191 5, and returned home, but never threw off the disease. 
After being confined to bed for several weeks he passed away on the 
22nd June 1916. Private Liddle was the youngest son of Andrew H. 
Liddle, Sheriffhall, Wemyss Place, Peebles, and was 23 years of age. 
The young soldier was employed as a clerk in the office of March 
Street Mills when war broke out. 

Wherever is an empty chair, 

Lord, be Thou there ! 
And fill it — like an answered prayer — 
With grace of fragrant thought, and rare 
Sweet memories of him whose place 
Thou takest for a little space! 

With thoughts of that heroical 
Great heart that sprang to Duty's call; 
With thought of all the best in him, 
That Time shall have no power to dim; 
With thoughts of Duty nobly done, 
And high eternal welfare won. 


The Month of June on the Western Front. 

THIS month witnessed the fall on the battlefield of four Canadian 
men who had a Tweeddale connection — Robert Scott, on the 3rd June; 
John Kavanagh, on the 6th June ; Bertram Tucker, on the 13th June ; 
and Archibald Veitch, on the 22nd June. 

The British front was again on the Ypres salient, that section of 
it from Hooge to the Ypres-Comines railway. It was being held at 
the time by the Third Canadian Division, under Major-General Mercer. 
Just north of the Ypres-Menin railway was the mound destined to 
become known as Hill 60. On the morning of the 2nd June a 
bombardment by the Germans began upon our front trenches. At 
midday an infantry attack took place by ten battalions of the enemy. 
They were met by our men, tired and wounded, who replied with 
broken rifle butts, entrenching tools, and their fists. Princess Patricia's 
Light Infantry lay in Sanctuary Wood, and the Canadian Mounted Rifles 
in front of Zillebeke. By evening the Germans had the whole of our 
first line pushed back. But the gallant Canadians carpeted the whole 
ground with German slain. On the 3rd June the Canadians counter 
attacked, and won back much of the lost ground. But it could not be 
retained. On the 6th June the German guns opened again, 

concentrating south and north of Hooge. Their infantry penetrated 
our first line trenches. For a week thereafter the battle declined to 
an intermittent bombardment. Then at 1. 30 on the morning of the 
13th June, a fresh Canadian Division, under Major-General Currie, 
attacked on a front of 500 yards, and regained a great deal of their 
lost ground. The fighting continued for some days later, and the 
Canadians steadily maintained and even extended their gains. 



I KNEW you'd not forgotten Me entirely, 
Though few among you trusted Me entirely, 
And some had well-nigh lost the love they had. 
I knew you'd seek Me out in time of sorrow, 
For am not I indeed the " Man of Sorrow " ? 
Nor cease to be while human hearts are sad. 

I sympathised with all your lawful pleasures, 
And ever sought to magnify your pleasures — 
To glorify and gild them with My love : 
To make your every working day a Sunday — 
A blessed, joyous, veritable Sun-day — 
Bathed in the light that cometh from above. 

Ah, yes! I walked beside you in the city, 

And on the country side, and in the city, 

Mourned o'er the many ills that need not be. 

I walked among you, yet you did not know Me — 

(Alas! that there should be so few to know Me) — 

Your eyes were holden that you could not see. 

But now that you have left your native country — 
(How fair and sweet seems now your native country, 
That "precious stone set in the silver sea") — 
Remember! though you're far away from Scotland — 
Though you have left your home and friends in Scotland- 
You never can be far away from Me. 

You call, and call Me rightly, "Man of Sorrow'' 

(Was ever sorrow like unto My sorrow?); 

Yet is it I who give you heart to jest 

Because I share with you the weary waiting 

(How well I know the strain and stress of waiting). 

You " do your bit," and calmly leave the rest. 

I knew you'd think of Me in hours of weakness — 
It was for you I suffered pain and weakness — 
How else had been fulfilled the Father's Word 
"Perfect through suff'ring," "Captain of Salvation"? 
Thus each tried soul works out his own salvation — 
The servant is not greater than his Lord. 

Aye, rest assured that I shall not forget you — 

My kinsmen, how could ever I forget you- 

For whom I took upon Me flesh and blood ? 

But pardon, strengthen, succour, aye, and guide you — 

Your Captain, Christ, will never cease to guide you — 

Until He leads you safely home to God. 

1 64 




AiMIitavv flOeial. 


58. Corporal IRobcrt Scott 

niMUtavv flOebal. 

Canadian Ei'pebitionarg jforce. 

1916 — June 3. 

KILLED in action on the 3rd June 1916, in France, Corporal ROBERT 
SCOTT, Canadian Expeditionary Force, aged 22 years. He was a son 
of Mrs Robert Scott, Nelson Place, Stirling, and a brother of Mrs 
Alexander Finlayson, Ardlui, Kirkland Street, Peebles. 

It was with great regret that those of his acquaintances, not 
already at the front, learned of the death of Corporal Robert Scott, of 
the Canadian Contingent, who was shot through the head while 
gallantly leading a machine gun company to the attack on the 3rd 
June 1916. Jt was touching" and strange that this should have 
happened on the very day when he was decorated with the Military 
Medal for conspicuous bravery on the battlefield. Although a native 
of Stirling, Corporal Scott had frequent and intimate intercourse with 
Peebles, through the residence in that town of his sister, Mrs Alex. 
Finlayson, for whom much sympathy was felt at the loss of a beloved 
brother, despite the fact that several years had elapsed since he left 
Scotland for Toronto. 

Light of our eyes for all the years to be, 
Fruit of our dreams, our dearest selves fulfilled, 
These have we laid as gifts on Freedom's altar, 
With blinding tears, yet all ungrudgingly. 
Henceforth our high hearts shall not fail nor falter, 
Though in them gladness is forever stilled. 



Sergeant John Kavanagh. 


59. Sergeant Jobn ikavanaob. 

Cana&ian Snfantre. 

191 6 — June 6. 

WORD was received that Sergeant JOHN KAVANAGH, Canadian 
Infantry, who was reported missing, had been officially reported as 
having been killed at Ypres. 

Sergeant Kavanagh was for three years a member of the Midlothian 
Police Force at Dalkeith, before going to Canada. He was 33 years 
of age, the second son of Stephen Kavanagh, Old Town, Peebles, and 
a son-in-law of John Scott, bookseller, Dalkeith. The Lieutenant of 
his company in a letter said that he was " a splendid soldier, and a 
prince of good fellows." A brother, Tom, was thrice wounded, and 
another brother, Patrick, was in the Royal Scots. 

On going out to Canada, Sergeant Kavanagh was attached to the 
96th Lake Superior Regiment, and rose to the position of Colour- 
Sergeant, and acted as drill instructor. With a view to getting 
quickly to the front, he enlisted as a private in the Canadian Infantry, 
and was soon promoted to the rank of Sergeant. He leaves a widow 
and three sons. 

All ye who kneel at home beside a bed, 
Redeemed 'mud safe because of countless dead, 
Pray for those dead. 

Pray for the dead: they may not need our prayers — 
Indeed, I think we have more need of theirs: 
Yet lift your souls for them to One who knows 
The curtained door through which the Spirit goes: 
Pray for the dead. 

It well may be prayers fall upon their road, 
And blossom it up all their way to God: 
Or it may be that at their journeys' ends 
Our prayers shall find them — messages from friends — 
Pray for our dead. 

Perchance by prayers we touch their garments' hem, 
And thus receive new virtue out from them: 
Howe'er it be, of this I am assured, 
'Tis well to pray for Spirits which endured — 
Pray for the dead. 

All ye who kneel at home beside a bed, 
Redeemed and safe because of countless dead, 
Pray for those dead. 


Signaller Bertram J. TUCKER. 


60. Signaller Bertram 3. Cucfcer. 

Canadian JBiiga&e. 

1916 — June 13. 
DIED of wounds in France, on 13th June 1916, Signaller BERTRAM J. 
TUCKER, Canadian Brigade, beloved eldest brother of Mrs James 
Auchinvole, Maybank, Peebles, aged 23 years. 

Signaller B. J. Tucker was among the first men to enlist in Canada 
at the call for volunteers for overseas in August 1914. After a few 
weeks' training as a driver with the 1st Brigade Ammunition Column, 
he came with the 1st Canadian Contingent to England, and endured 
all the mud and discomfort of that first winter of the war on Salisbury 
Plain. In February 1915 he crossed to France with the 1st Canadian 
Artillery Brigade, and proceeded to the Ypres front, and was present 
at the second battle of Ypres, in April 1915, when the Germans for 
the first time used gas, and broke through our lines at St Julien. The 
steadiness of the Canadians in that battle prevented the Hun from 
following up his temporary success. Early in 1916 Driver Tucker 
came home on leave, and on his return to Belgium was sent to a 
signal school. Passing out at the head of his section, he was sent as 
signaller to the Headquarters Staff of the 1st Brigade Canadian Field 
Artillery. At the end of May 1916 the Germans heavily attacked 
and drove back the Canadian lines before Ypres, but after several 
days of stubborn defence, in a magnificent counter attack the 
Canadians won back nearly all the lost ground. A chum of Signaller 
Tucker's stated that throughout all the fighting he continued his 
dangerous work unharmed, seeming to bear a charmed life, but on the 
I2th June 1916, the last clay of this battle, after four times repairing 
his signal wires under an intense barrage, he was mortally wounded 
at the fifth attempt, and died the next day in a Canadian Casualty 
Clearing Station, leaving to those who loved him an example of noble 
patriotism and unswerving devotion to duty. 

What was it you fought for, whose profit that you died ? 
Here is Ypres burning and twenty towns beside; 
Where is the gain in all our pain when he we loved but now 
Is lying still on Sixty Hill, a bullet through his brow? 

"He died one thing regarding that is better worth 

Than the golden cities of all the kings on earth, 

Were right and wrong to choose among, he had seen the right, 

Had found the thing appointed, and clone it with his might." 


Private Archibald F. Veitch. 


61. private Hrcbibalfc) jflcmincj IDeitcb. 


1916 — June 22. 

ANOTHER lad connected with Peebles laid down his life for King 
and country— Private ARCHIBALD FLEMING VEITCH, who died of 
wounds in Flanders on the 22nd June. Private Veitch was a son of 
James Veitch, who served his apprenticeship as a cabinetmaker with 
J. & M. Smith, Dovecot Works, Peebles, and at that time lived at 74 
Old Town, Peebles, with his sisters. Mr Veitch went out to Canada 
a good many years ago, and his son there joined the Colours and 
came over with one of the Canadian Contingents. Mr Veitch's eldest 
son also served at the front. 

He died for love of race, because the blood 
Of northern freemen swelled his veins; arose 
True to tradition that like mountain stood 
Impregnable, crowned with its pathless snows. 
He fell, but yielded not his Scottish soul, 
That lives out there beneath the battle's roll. 


July 1916. 

SEVEN lads and men connected with Peebles fell on 1st and 2nd July. 
Their names were — Robert Colin Stewart, James Rennie, Hamish 
Robertson, William Oldham, David Harkness, William S. Hunter, and 
John Chalmers. 

This was the beginning of the battle of the Somme. In the week 
preceding the attack, that is, from 24th June to 1st July, we discharged 
gas at more than forty places upon a frontage of over fifteen miles; 
and seventy raids were undertaken between Gommecourt and our 
extreme left, north of Ypres. On Saturday, 24th June, the 
bombardment became intense. German trenches were obliterated at 
Ypres and Arras, as well as at Beaumont Hamel and Fricourt. Men 
felt that the great offensive had come, achieved on a grand scale. 
On the 30th June the order went out: the attack was to be delivered 
next morning, three hours after dawn. At 7.15 on the morning of the 
1st July, the bombardment rose to a hurricane pitch of fury. At 7.30 
the fire had become a barrage; for on a twenty-five mile front the 
Allied infantry had gone over the parapets. 

The first stage continued until the close of 13th July. Places 
round which the battle raged and fell to our forces were — Beaumont 
Hamel, Fricourt, Mametz, Montauban, La Boiselle, Ovilliers, Contal- 
maison, Trones, Belloy, Estrees, and Biaches. 



I, WHO stayed behind. 
No recompense shall find, 
No glimpse of glory, 
No triumphant song! 

O brave young hearts! O you who heard the voice, 
And self unheeding, made the hero's choice, 
To you my homage ! 

What though your simple courage scorned to weigh 
The subtle reasons why you could not stay — 
As sure as sun compels the willing flower, 
Brave hearts turn full to face the fateful hour; 
Nor ask not why ! 

Days, months, and years are but the tick of time, 
Marking the measure of man's upward climb. 
Life is the sum of aspirations caught 
In God's great web; and joy is only bought 
With sacrifice. 

Across my sky I see God's hand indite 

In living letters laved in lambent light, 
Your honoured names, 
But I, who stayed behind, 
No recompense shall find! 




62. Captain IRobert Colin Stewart 

lj)ork an? Lancaster iRegiment. 

19 1 6— July I. 

ON the 1st July 1916, at Ovilliers, Albert, France, Captain ROBERT 
COLIN STEWART, of the York and Lancaster Regiment, was killed in 

The Major of the York and Lancaster Regiment wrote as follows 
to Captain Stewart's father: — "It is my painful duty to confirm the 
news you will by now have received from the War Office that your 
son was posted as missing on the 1st July 1916. He was in the 
attack near Ovilliers, Albert, and after leading his company with the 
utmost coolness and gallantry under a terrific fire was seen to fall 
apparently mortally wounded. One man who had been wounded said 
that Captain Stewart had died at once, and I think he must have been 
correct. I made enquiries in every possible direction for reliable news 
of your son, but our casualties were so heavy, and we had so few 
left, that it was almost impossible to obtain authentic news. We had 
eighteen officers killed and five wounded. Both CO. and Adjutant 
were killed, and we only had a handful of men left, but the battalion 
made a name for itself that will never be forgotten. I have known 
your son from the day he joined the battalion, and I can truly say 
that no officer was better respected as a soldier or more loved as a 
fellow officer. His men, too, thought the world of him. He was 
looked upon as having exceptional ability, and "Bobby," as we used 
to name him, was one of the best of fellows in the regiment. I 
cannot say how much I personally feel his loss. Under such 
circumstances sympathy does not count for much, but so far as it does 
count I offer mine whole-heartedly, as do the three other officers left, 
for although we do not, like you, mourn the loss of a son, we keenly 
feel the loss of one who had become part of our life. If I can 
eventually obtain any other details I will certainly forward them to 
you." In a postscript the writer added — "There were rumours that 
your son had been wounded and had been seen still alive, but I feel 
sure you would have heard before now had he been alive. We go 
into action again to-night, I expect, and I may not get through it." 
(The Major fell in the action referred to.) 

Extract from letter from the General— "I formed a very high 
opinion of Captain Stewart as an officer and as a man, and we all 
liked him personally very much. On the 1st July he led his company 


in the attack near Authuille Wood, and he was killed near the German 
wire. He led his men in the most gallant way, and died taking part 
in the biggest battle we have had. He was about the best company 
commander in the brigade, and that is saying a good deal. I always 
felt that he could be depended on, and he inspired confidence in his 

Captain Stewart was at Uppingham, in Constable's House, from 
September 1906 to December 1910. It is no exaggeration to say that 
no public school boy could ever have been more generally liked — if 
not to say loved — by his contemporaries. His bright, sunny, genial 
disposition, his invariable cheerfulness, his good nature, his open- 
heartedness, and hi? strong sense of humour, were the most noticeable 
characteristics of a wonderfully attractive personality. But a boy at 
school must be much more than a "good sort" to be held in such 
esteem as he was by masters as well as boys, and he possessed certain 
qualities which boys are quick to recognise and appreciate. As they 
would put it, he always "played the game" -thoroughly loyal, 
unselfish, and absolutely straight — and did not hesitate to express his 
opinion, even though it ran counter to what was generally accepted. 
In his last year at school, when he was in a position of authority and was 
in command of a dormitory, he showed a strong sense of responsibility, 
and proved himself an admirable disciplinarian ; his word was law. 
Though he did not get into the School XL or XV., he played for his 
house in both cricket and football. 

At the outbreak of war Captain Stewart enlisted in the ranks. A 
few months later he obtained a commission in the York and Lancaster 
Regiment, and was gazetted Captain before going to the front in 
August 1915. The younger son of John Stewart, Thornleigh, 
Huddersfield, he was 24 years of age, and was educated at Mr Roscoe's 
School, Harrogate, and at Uppingham. He shot at Bisley for his 
school in 1908 and 1909. His elder brother, Captain Ian Stewart, was 
in the West Riding Regiment. John Stewart, father of Captain 
Stewart, was a partner in the firm of James Dalziel & Co., 
manufacturers, Walkerburn. For many years he was resident in 
Peebles, occupying Woodlee, Innerleithen Road, where both his sons 
were born, and in his loss he had many sincere sympathisers in the 

We don't forget, while even in dark December 

We sit in schoolrooms that you knew so well, 
And hear the sounds you could so well remember — 

The clock, the hurrying feet, the chapel bell ; 
Others are sitting in the seats you sat in ; 

There's nothing else seems altered here, and yet 
Through all of it, the same old Greek and Latin, 
You know we don't forget. 


We don't forget you : in the wintry weather 

You manned the trench and tramped the fallen snow ; 

We play the games we used to play together 
In days of peace that seem so long ago ; 

But through it all, the shouting and the cheering, 
Those other hosts in graver conflict met, 

Those other sadder sounds your ears were hearing, 
Be sure we don't forget. 

And you, our brothers, who for all our praying, 

To this dear school of ours come back no more, 
Who lie, our country's debt of honour paying — 

And not in vain — upon the Belgian shore ; 
Till that great day when at the Throne in Heaven 

The Books are opened and the judgment set, 
Your lives, for honour and for Britain given, 
The school will not forget. 


"Lance-Corporal James Rennie. 


63. Xance^Cocporal Barnes IRennie. 

1Rcv>al Scots. 

IQI6 — July I. 

LANCE-CORPORAL JAMES RENNIE was killed on the battlefield on 1st 
July 1 9 1 6. He was the youngest son of the late John Rennie, 
Gibson Place, Peebles. 

Lance-Corporal Rennie, who was in his 20th year, previous to 
enlisting in "Macrae's" Battalion in Edinburgh, in November 1914, was 
employed as a clerk in the office of the sheriff clerk, Peebles, and 
went out to France in April 1916. The deceased had other two 
brothers serving, both in the Canadian Contingent — Walter, in the 
Transport, and John, in the Machine Gun Section. 

Soldier, rest! thy warfare o'er, 

Sleep the rest that knows no breaking ; 
Dream of battlefields no more, 

Days of danger, nights of waking. 

Ruder sounds shall none be near, 

Guards nor warders challenge here, 
Here's no war-steed neigh nor champing, 

Shouting clans, or squadron's stamping. 


Private Hamish ROBERTSON. 


64. private Ifoamisb "Robertson. 

1Ro\?a[ Scot*. 

I Ql6 — July I. 

FIRST reported missing, then officially presumed to have been 
killed on 1st July 1916, Private JAMES ALEXANDER ROBERTSON 
(HAMISH), Royal Scots, aged 18 years, only son of the late James E. 
Robertson, Peebles, and Mrs Robertson, 21 Leopold Place, Edinburgh. 
Private Robertson was a native of Peebles, and resided at Tweed 
Villa, Tweed Green, with his parents. After his father's death, the 
family removed to Broxburn, and young Robertson was engaged as a 
mining engineer. He joined the 15th Royal Scots in January 
1915, and went to France one year later. His battalion made an 
attack on the morning" of the 1st July, the first day of the great 
offensive on' the Somme front, between La Boiselle and Fricourt, east 
of Albert. They gained their objective, but few of the battalion 
returned. Hamish was reported missing, and later was officially 
reported to have been killed on the above date. He was educated 
at Peebles Burgh and County High School, and his end was mourned 
by many of his old school companions, and the friends of the family 
in Peebles deeply sympathised with them in the loss of an only son 
and brother. 

Because of you we will be glad and gay, 
Remembering you, we will be brave and strong ; 
And hail the advent of each dangerous da} r , 
And meet the last adventure with a song. 

And as you proudly gave your jewelled gift, 
We'll give our lesser offerings with a smile, 
Nor falter on that path, where, all too swift, 
You led the way and leapt the golden stile. 

Whether new paths, new heights to climb you find. 
Or gallop through the unfooted asphodel. 
We know you know we will not lag behind, 
Nor halt to waste a moment on a fear ; 
And you will speed us onward with a cheer, 
And wave bevond the stars that all is well. 


Lance-Corporal William Oldham. 


65. XancoCorporal Militant ©Ifcbam. 

TRogal Score. 

1916— July I. 

KILLED in action on the 1st July 1916, Lance-Corporal WILLIAM 
OLDHAM, Royal Scots, aged 20 years, grandson of the late William 
Oldham, baker, and of Mrs Oldham, 48A Old Town, Peebles. 

Lance-Corporal Oldham was employed before the outbreak of war 
in the warehouse of Lowe, Donald & Co. He had, however, made 
arrangements to emigrate to the United States, and his passage had 
been taken when war broke out, but young Oldham felt, like many 
another leal-hearted Scot, that he must enrol himself amongst those 
who were preparing to arm in defence of their country, and he 
accordingly joined a battalion of the Royal Scots. He paid the price, 
and gave up his life for King and country. He was of a bright, 
sunny disposition, and was much esteemed by his friends and 

Mrs Oldham received the following letter from the Captain of 
Private Oldham's company:— "I regret very much to have to inform 
you that your grandson was killed in action on Saturday morning- 
last, 1st July. We were engaged in an attack on the German trenches, 
which we captured and held. We remained on for two days till 
relieved. It was on the afternoon of the day we were relieved that 
the Germans made a bombing attack on our position. Your grandson 
was at our bombing post next the enemy, and stuck very gamely to 
it. He stood up regardless of risk, and fired at them, keeping them 
off till he was shot through the head. It was a heroic end. He 
suffered no pain, as death was instantaneous. I was present with 
him at the time, and later in the afternoon he was buried in an 
opening at the side of the trench. I myself read the burial service. 
We miss him, and deplore his loss very much." 

It's a great thing to die tor Scotland, 

Brave young Scottish boy! 
These are the tidings that you bring us — 

Tidings of great joy. 
Lift up your hearts, then, O ye mourners, 

Follow where he goes ; 
Weave his words in your crown of laurel 

With the blush red rose. 


Private David Harkness. 


66. (private 2>a\rifc Ibarkness. 

IRoval Scots. 

19 1 6 — July I. 

MRS HARKNESS, 13 Haliburton Place, Galashiels, received word that 
her second son. Private DAVID HARKNESS, Royal Scots, had been 
missing since 1st July. His officer subsequently wrote as follows 
to a sister of Private Harkness : — ''Private D. Harkness was killed 
in action on the 1st July. He had been missing since that date, 
but I have delayed writing you in the hope that I would have 
better news to send you. I desire to give you my very sincere 
sympathy in your loss. I regret that I cannot give you any 

details of how he died. Your brother only joined my company 
on the 8th of June, and this makes your loss all the harder. I 
was away from the battalion when he came to us, and as I only got 
back a few days ago, and as all the officers who went over with 
the company became casualties on the 1st, I am unable to tell you 
how far each man went before he fell. Your brother has given his 
life for his country's cause, and I trust the thought of this may bring- 
much consolation to you in your sorrow." 

Private Harkness, who was 21 years of age, was a gardener 
before joining the Army in January 1915, and had been in France since 
May. A younger brother was in the Argyll and Sutherland 
Highlanders. The Harkness family, who used to reside in the 
Northgate, Peebles, removed to Galashiels a few years ago. 

Nothing is here for tears, nothing to wail 
Or knock the breast, no weakness, no contempt, 
Dispraise or blame, nothing but well and fair, 
And what may quiet us in a death so noble. 



flDilitaro ZTOe&al. 


67. Sergeant William 5. Ibimtcr. 

/lMitavv /Ifie&al. 

3Borber "Regiment. 

1916 — July I. 

OFFICIAL intimation was received from the Record Office, Preston, by 
George Hunter, Oak Cottage, Old Town, Peebles, that his eldest son, 
Sergeant WILLIAM S. HUNTER, of the Border Regiment, had been killed 
in action on the 1st July 1916. Mr Hunter also received a letter from 
the Chaplain of his son's battalion, in which he stated that Sergeant 
Hunter's body had been found five months after the action in which 
he went amissing. The body was found in No Man's Land, quite 
close to the German line of trenches. 

Sergeant Hunter was a native of Peebles, and was in South Africa 
throughout the Boer War, serving with the troops there as a dispenser. 
For his South African services he received two medals. When 
war broke out in 1914 he was working in Carlisle, and there he 
enlisted in the Border Regiment. Sergeant Hunter received a letter 
from the Major-General commanding the 32nd Division, commending 
him for his gallant conduct and devotion to duty on the field on the 
5th June 1916. The Military Medal awarded to Sergeant Hunter, 
" For bravery in the field," was subsequently forwarded to his father. 
He came through the action of the 5th June without a scratch, but 
only four weeks later he was reported as missing, and after an 
interval of seven months the intelligence came to hand that he had 
been killed in the engagement on 1st July. 

Mr Hunter had another son, Nicholas, serving with the Colours, 
in the East Lancashire Artillery. He went through the Dardanelles 
campaign, but was fated to fall on 21st June [918. 

It's a great thing to die for freedom, 

As the Scots can die ; 
To lead your comrades into battle 

When dread dawn is nigh ; 
To fear not death, nor to regard it, 

But confront the foe, 
With a word that men's hearts hold fast to 

All the way they go. 
It's a great thing — and great forever 

Shall your young fame be, 
Your words be graven on the rock walls 

Of our Scottish sea. 


The Battle of the Somme First Stage. 

IT was on the 1st day of July 1916 that the great British offensive 
began, at half-past seven in the morning. This was north of the 
river Somme, and in conjunction with the French. The British troops 
broke into the German forward system of defences on a front of 16 
miles. On the remainder of the British front, raiding parties 
succeeded in penetrating the defences of the enemy at many points, 
inflicting losses on the enemy and taking prisoners. The fighting 
continued all day between the rivers Somme and Ancre, and north of 
them to Gommecourt. Our captures included the German labyrinth 
of trenches on a front of seven miles to a depth of 1000 yards, 
and also the strongly fortified villages of Montauban and Mamettes. 
Over 2000 prisoners were taken, and the large number of German dead 
indicated that the casualties of the enemy were very severe, especially 
in the vicinity of Fricourt. Our total of prisoners for this day and 
the next amounted to 3500. 



Sweetheart, I thought to stand to you so nearly — 

Had we not planned to live and love right nearly — 

And see the golden years pass one by one, 

In joy and pain, so that we were together — 

We minded nothing, just to be together — 

Then war was heard — you went to meet the Hun! 

The wide world read you died a hero — bravely — 
I hold the Cross that shows you acted bravely — 
'Tis thickly gemmed with tears of bitter pain! 
Yet am I glad to know I shared your giving — 
That by no word, no look, I marred your giving, 
Since sacrifice can never be in vain! 

It is not strange to think of you in Heaven — 
You always lived so close to God and Heaven — 
And Christ — White Comrade — links both you and me, 
Until the day He gives us each to other — 
Great consummating joy of each to other — 
In life and love of ages yet to be! 


Lieutenant JOHN R. T. CHALMERS. 


68. Second Xieutenant 3obn 1R. Z. Cbalmers, 

Somerset Xigbt JJnfantrg. 

1 916— July 2. 

ON the 2nd July 1916, Second Lieutenant JOHN R. T. CHALMERS, 
Somerset Light Infantry, only son of Peter Chalmers and the late Mrs 
Chalmers, Alburne, Bearsden, Glasgow, was killed in action. 

Lieutenant Chalmers' parents formerly lived at Venbrae, Peebles, 
and he was educated at Peebles High School. When at home he took 
a keen interest in hockey, and was a prominent member of the Western 
Hockey Club, besides being well known in golfing circles in Bearsden. 
He also took a special interest in the Foundry Boys' Mission which 
was carried on at the Round Toll, Glasgow. He was travelling" in India 
and the East at the time of the declaration of war, and came home to 
join the Colours. Shortly afterwards he obtained a commission in 
the Somerset Light Infantry, and was sent to the front. 

The following are extracts from letters received by Mr and Mrs 
Chalmers : — 

From the Lieutenant-Colonel — 'Your son was a great favourite here, 
and his strong sense of duty and his excellent work made him a 
special favourite of mine. Most of the men he trained in his platoon 
were killed on the same clay with the 1st Battalion. He taught them 
their work, and he knew his own thoroughly. You can well imagine 
what a pleasure it is for a commanding officer to have such a one as 
your son in his battalion, and our country is poorer for his loss." 

From the Major — "Your son was killed instantaneously, gallantly 
leading his men in the assault, which commenced on 1st July. He 
was popular with both officers and men. His company commander, 
who was unfortunately killed on the same day, held a very high 
opinion of him. You will have the consolation of knowing that he 
did his duty and right well too." 

From Brother Officers — "He had only just got over the top and 
turned round talking to his men (who would have followed him 
anywhere), helping them over and forming them up, when the ground 
was swept by machine gun fire and he was hit in the back in two or 
three places, but, undaunted, he still issued orders until forced into 
our trench again by some of his own men, where he died some half 
hour later." " Britain has lost a fine officer, looked up to and 
respected by his men. You have lost your son, and I have lost my 
best friend." 

From a United Free Church Probationer, since killed in action. — "John 
fell a little to the south of our position. We all understood John 


thoroughly, loved him well, and shall miss him sorely from the circde 
of friendship, and from the ranks of the common cause. But we 
thank God for every remembrance of his life as we knew it, for it has 
' left a sweet odour behind it,' and made the world a fitter dwelling- 
place. As for the life itself, its sequel is well epitomised for us in the 
alluring promise, 'His servants shall serve Him, and they shall see 
His face.'" 

Is there aught that you need that my hands withhold, 
Rich gifts of raiment, or grain or gold? 
Lo! I have flung to the East and West 
Priceless treasures torn from my breast, 
And yielded the sons of my stricken womb 
To the drum-beats of duty, the sabres of doom. 
Gathered like pearls in their alien graves, 
Silent they sleep by the Persian waves, 
Scattered like shells on Egyptian sands 
They lie with pale brows, and brave broken hands; 
They are strewn like blossoms mown down by chance 
On the blood-brown meadows of Flanders and France — 
The gift of India. 


The Battle of the Som me— Second Stage. 

AT dawn on Friday, the 14th July, began the second stage of the 
battle of the Somme. Five men connected with Peebles fell between 
the 14th and 22nd. They were William Stewart, W. J. Dunn, John 
French, Adam Neil Malcolm, and Frederick T. Gillett. 

From Bazentin-Le-Grand to Longueval, there was a long advance, 
in some places almost a mile. The wood of Trones was on the 
extreme right. The front chosen for attack was from a point south- 
east of Pozieres to Longueval and Delville Wood, a space of four 
miles. Our guns began in the early morning, and at 3. 20 A.M. the 
final hurricane came. At 3.25 the infantry attacked. The attack 
failed nowhere. By the evening we had the whole second line from 
Bazentin-Le-Petit to Longueval, and front of over three miles, and 
over 2000 prisoners. In the late afternoon the great event of the day 
occurred — an advance by mounted men. They were the Dragoon 
Guards and the Deccan Horse. On Saturday, 15th July, we 
consolidated the ground won. The struggle which began on that 
Saturday lasted for thirteen days, and proved one of the costliest 
episodes of the whole battle. From 15th to 20th July terrible fighting 
took place in and around Delville Wood. All parts of the Empire 
were represented, and won fame in those days; and not least was the 
glory of the South African Contingent. Ovilliers was taken on 
Sunday, the 16th. On the 19th July came the first attempt on 
Guillemont from Trones Wood. On Sunday, the 23rd, came the next 
great infantry attack. By Tuesday, the 25th, most of Pozieres was in 
our hands; and on the 26th the whole village was ours. On the 27th 
July all Delville Wood had been cleared except its eastern side. On 
Friday, the 28th, the last outpost of the enemy in Longueval village 
was captured. On Sunday, the 30th, the Australians attacked at 
Pozieres, and advanced their front considerably. The final attack on 
Pozieres came on the 4th August. By Sunday, 6th August, we had 
pushed far past the village to the north and west. On Tuesday, 8th 
August, the British, in conjunction with the French, closed in on 
Guillemont. By the second week of August, all the German positions 
south of the Somme had been carried. 



Company Sergeant-Major WILLIAM STEWART. 


69. Company 5crocant>flDajor William Stewart 

IRovjal Scots. 

1916— July 14. 

MRS STEWART, residing at 54 Rosetta Road, Peebles, received 
official intimation from the Record Office, Hamilton, that her 
husband, Company Sergeant-Major WILLIAM STEWART, Royal Scots, 
had been killed in action in France on the 14th July 1916. He was 
previously reported missing on that date. This gallant soldier, it was 
ascertained, fell when he reached the German trenches as he led his 
company on to the attack at Longueval. 

When the war broke out, Sergeant-Major Stewart had one year of 
his seven to serve as a regular soldier in the Royal Scots. He was 
then given the post of drill instructor at Aldershot and at other places. 
He saw latterly a great deal of fighting in France, after he went out 
with Kitchener's Army. He was only twenty-five, and a native of 
Edinburgh, but his wife, for whom much sympathy was felt, was a 
Peebles woman, her parents being Mr and Mrs Maule, 54 Rosetta 
Road. There was one child. 

Surely they sleep content, our valiant dead, 
Fallen untimely in the savage strife : 
They have but followed whither duty led, 
To find a fuller life. 

Who, then, are we to grudge the bitter price 
Of this our land inviolate through the years, 
Or mar the splendour of their sacrifice 
That is too high for tears. 

God grant we fail not at the test — that when 
We take, mayhap, our places in the fray, 
Come life, come death, we quit ourselves like men, 
The peers of such as they ! 



1914 STAR. 

Corporal ROBERT F. Aitchison. 


70. Corporal lRobcrt Jfairlc\> Hitcbison. 

IbigblanD OLicibt Jnfantrg. 

1 916— July 15. 
FIRST reported wounded and missing, then officially presumed 
killed on 16th July 1 916, Corporal ROBERT FAIRLEY AlTCHISON, 
Highland Light Infantry, aged 22 years, was the only son of the late 
William and Mrs Aitchison, Govanhill, Glasgow, and grandson of the 
late William Aitchison, Peebles. 

Corporal Aitchison joined the 9th Highland Light Infantry 
(Territorials), in 191 3. He was mobilised on 5th August 1914, and 
proceeded to Dunfermline, where the battalion were stationed from 8th 
August until 29th September 1914, at Balbae Farm. From there they 
moved to Linlithgow, and stayed until the end of October. On the 
2nd November the battalion left Linlithgow for Dunfermline. While 
waiting at Dunfermline Station after arrival, an order came round — 
"Pack up what you require; you're going south at 7.30." Dunfermline 
was left that night and Southampton reached next day, and the night 
was spent at Common Camp. The following day the boys embarked 
on S.S. Novian, for Havre, reaching there on the 5th November 1914. 

Two days later the battalion found themselves at St Omer, and 
the same night were again on the march to Wardrecques, where they 
camped until the 17th November. On 19th November Bailleul was 
reached, and there they were posted to the 2nd Division, 5th Brigade. 

A week later they had their baptism of fire, and held their line 
for four days. This was at Kemmel. Corporal Aitchison, along with 
Corporal Smellie and Private Henderson, had the honour of bringing 
in the battalion's first three prisoners (supposed spies). Afterwards 
they had three weeks' rest at Bailleul, and on 23rd December left for 
Lacon, and on the 25th December (Christmas Day) they went into the 
trenches at Richebourg, relieving the Coldstream Guards. 

The first real engagement was on 25th January 1915, at Givenchy, 
when the Germans tried to break through. Up to 10th March was 
spent in Indian Village, Brewery Post, Festubert, Givenchy, and 
Quinchy, but at the same time they were in reserve for Neuve Chapelle 
battle, which started on the 10th March. Corporal Aitchison was also 
in the battle of Richebourg (15th May), and although under intense 
shelling for three days, came out without a scratch. On 9th July he 
was present at a burial service, and in the middle of it the Germans 
shelled them: the casualties were four killed and thirty wounded, 
including the Padre and the Sergeant-Major. On 25th September, at 


the battle of Loos, he was in Quinchy, and there they had a sore 

His battalion attacked Hohenzollern Redoubt on the 13th October, 
along with 47 division bombers. December was spent in raiding at 
the brickfield. 

On 1st February till 29th May 1916 they were on lines of 
communication. 30th May saw them attached to the 33rd Division and 
back to their old haunts, where the bombers had finished up with a 
glorious raid. Corporal Aitchison's company bore the brunt of the 
fire, and returned with 56 prisoners, 2 officers, 2 machine guns, and 
had blown up two mine shafts. Their casualties were only two 
wounded. This was on the 27th June. 

On the 13th July they moved into reserve between Mametz and 
High Wood, and on 14th July went into position. Corporal 

Aitchison had been transferred to No. 1 Company, and this, along 
with No. 2 Company, formed the attacking party, Nos. 3 and 4 being 
in reserve. During the night the Germans bombarded heavily, and 
Corporal Aitchison was badly wounded and carried to the rear in the 
early morning. 

He was last seen by Sergeant Smellie on a stretcher. The order 
was given to attack on 15th July at 9 o'clock, and the Sergeant, being 
himself hit, could not ascertain Corporal Aitchison's whereabouts. 
The shelling continued all day, and it is conjectured that the 
Corporal must have been again hit. He was posted missing, and as 
the ground till eighteen months afterwards was not lost the only 
conclusion to be come to was that he had been killed. He was a 
fearless soldier, and a better bomber never was in the Glasgow 
Highlanders. So said his platoon Sergeant. 

If Britain calls to-day — 
The last long call of all, 
Valhalla's trumpet-calls; 
Then may I live until 
The goal shines past the hill, 
And in the last grand rally 
Hear echoed God*s reveille 
In the Home Camp. 

If Britain calls this day — 
If in the great, grim fight 
I fall — with eyes all bright 
With sacrificial flame, 
Whispering her great name ; 
Let these weak verses show 
To all the friends I know — 
I gladly died. 



Ah! far frae their mountain-girt homes they are sleeping: 
They died for their country, our brave gallant men; 

But women and children at home are a-weeping 
For husbands and fathers they'll ne'er see again. 

Oh, the swing o' the kilt, how it sets the tears starting, 
There's a glamour about it that makes the heart swell. 

But there's many a braw lad that wore the gay tartan 
Lies asleep in his cauld bed at dark Neuve Chapelle. 

Oh, wild hills o' Scotland, when Spring charms enfold ye, 
And moors growing green 'neath Spring's magical spell, 

There's many an eye that was wont to behold ye 
Is closed now for ever at dark Neuve Chapelle. 

There's many a voice that would sound o'er the heather, 
When its purple waves rolled o'er hill and o'er fell, 

Will sound there no more, for, now silent for ever, 
Our brave lads lie sleeping at dark Neuve Chapelle. 

On the green graves at home the Spring flow'rs are creeping, 
For kind hearts that love them have tended them well, 

But no tender hearts will be watching and keeping 
The graves of our brave men at dark Neuve Chapelle. 

Oh, lads of the tartan! no more you'll be turning 
To the land where your true eyes turned as you fell; 

But there's many a heart in Scotland is mourning 
The lads who are lying at dark Neuve Chapelle. 


Second Lieutenant William J. Dunn. 


71. Second Xieutenant Milliam 3obn Dunn. 

■King's Own Scottish .iGoroci-ers. 

1916— July 17. 

THERE falls to be added to the list of gallant young officers who have 
given their lives for their country, the name of Second Lieutenant W. 
J. DUNN, King's Own Scottish Borderers, who was killed on 17th July 
1916. He was the only son of Captain P. Dunn, Laurieknowe 
School, Maxwelltown, and Mrs Dunn, 3 Ulster Place, Dumfries, and a 
grandson of the late Thomas Ormiston, Kingsmeadows Road, Peebles. 
His untimely death, coming as it did at the outset of a promising 
career, was mourned by all who knew him. 

Only twenty years of age, Lieutenant Dunn was a pupil of 
Laurieknowe School, Maxwelltown, Dumfries, and at the close of his 
primary school course took second place in the Hannahfield Bursary 
competition. He then passed on to Dumfries Academy. While a 
pupil of the Academy he took a great interest in the Boy Scout 
movement, and was Chief Patrol Leader of the school troop. Always 
smart at his studies, he secured the Armstrong Bursary in 191 3, and 
proceeded to Edinburgh University to take up the study of medicine. 
He joined the Officers' Training Corps of the University, and soon was 
promoted Sergeant, and immediately before the outbreak of war he 
was in training at the camp at Stobs. When war had become a grim 
reality, he set about fulfilling what he conceived to be his duty to his 
country, and in March 1915 he obtained a commission in the 9th 
King's Own Scottish Borderers. He joined his battalion at Dorchester^ 
and was in training there and subsequently at Stobs and at Richmond. 
In March 1916 he was transferred to the 6th Battalion, and went out 
to France, having had his final leave about the New Year. 

Lieutenant Dunn had a lion's share of the enthusiasm of youth, 
an enthusiasm which characterised all his work, whether in connection 
with his studies or in recreation, which went far to gain for him that 
large measure of popularity and regard which he enjoyed. In his 
work at the University he attained marked success, and among his 
fellow-students the news of his passing was received with the 
sincerest regret. 

His father, Captain P. Dunn, was serving with the 1st Garrison 
Battalion Royal Scots at Cyprus. Much sympathy was expressed with 
him and with his wife and daughter in their bereavement. 



This is the word that year by year, 
While in her place the school is set, 
Every one of her sons must hear, 
And none that hears it dare forget. 

This they all with a joyful mind 
Bear through life like a torch in flame, 
And falling, fling to the host behind — 
"Play up! Play up! and play the game!" 



The pipes in the street were playing bravely, 

The marching lads went by, 
With merry hearts and voices singing 

My friends marched out to die; 
But I was hearing a lonely pibroch 

Out of an older war, 
"Farewell, farewell, farewell, MacCrimmon, 

MacCrimmon comes no more." 

And every lad in his heart was dreaming 

Of honour and wealth to come, 
And honour and noble pride were calling 

To the tune of the pipes and drum ; 
But I was hearing a woman singing 

On dark Dunvegan shore, 
"In battle or peace, with wealth or honour, 

MacCrimmon comes no more." 

And there in front of the men were marching, 

With feet that made no mark, 
The grey old ghosts of the ancient fighters 

Come back again from the dark; 
And in front of them all MacCrimmon piping 

A weary tune and sore, 
" On the gathering day, for ever and ever, 

MacCrimmon comes no more." 


Sergeant John FRENCH. 


72. Serjeant 3obn frencb. 

Soutb African Scottisb. 

19 1 6— July 17. 

Mr and Mrs William French, residing at Glencraig, Neidpath 
Road, Peebles, received intimation that their second eldest son, 
Sergeant JOHN FRENCH, South African Scottish, had been killed in 
action in France, on 17th July 1916. 

The following is a copy of the letter from his Captain which 
conveyed the sad tidings: — 

"I wish to tender you my deep sympathy in the loss of your son, 
Sergeant John French, of my company, South African Scottish, who 
was killed in action on the 17th July. He died as any brave man 
would prefer, in a fierce fight with his face to the foe. You have lost 
a son any one would be proud of, and the Empire one of her best and 

Sergeant French, who was over fort}^ years of age, and unmarried, 
had been in South Africa for a number of years, during which his 
parents heard no word of him until he arrived in this country in 
December 1915 with a contingent of the South African Scottish. 
He then spent a few days in Peebles, previous to his again leaving 
the country on active service. 

In his young days the deceased was employed in the tweed 
warehouse of Damdale Mill, Peebles, thereafter going to Glasgow. 
In South Africa he was in business as an accountant. Sergeant 
French had had a varied military experience. First, he was a 
member of the old 6th Volunteer Battalion The Royal Scots, then a 
member of the Glasgow Highlanders, then in the Lanarkshire 
Yeomanry, then was picked for the South African War — going out 
with the City of London Yeomanry (Sharpshooters). At the outbreak 
of the Great War, in South Africa he joined the Border Mounted 
Rifles. He was also in the Senussi expedition, Egypt, being 
transferred to France a few months later. 

On the 17th July, the day when Sergeant French fell, the British 
still further widened the gap in the German second line by capturing 
the strongly-defended position of Waterlot Farm. Ovilliers was now 
cleared of the enemy, and the total number of our prisoners reached 
almost 11,000. In the taking of Ovilliers, the British captured two 
officers and 124 Guardsmen, who formed the remnants of the garrison. 


The soldier speaks — 

Us they trusted, we the task inherit, 

The unfinished task for which their lives were spent; 

But leaving us a portion of their spirit, 

They gave their witness and they died content. 

Full well they knew they could not build without us 
That better country, faint and far descried, 
God"s own true country; but they did not doubt us. 
And in that faith we died. 


How Delville Wood was Held. 

THE writer of the following was on the Headquarters Staff, and 
visited Delville Wood to obtain what information he could as to his 
son, reported " wounded and missing." The letter was dated from 
France, 8th August IQl6, and gives a very vivid account of the great 
three days' fight for Delville Wood (July 15th — 18th) and the splendid 
heroism displayed by the South Africans: — 

The dead lying in Delville Wood were still unburied when I was 
there (because burial was impossible under the fire going on). Men 
lie in layers. The South African heroes lie underneath. 

I wonder whether history will do them justice. Will it tell how, 
ordered to take and hold the wood at all costs, they took it — and 
then began one of the most heroic defences known in the history of 
war? For three days they were subjected to continuous bombardment 
by guns of all calibres. They held on with very little food or water. 
Over and over again they were attacked by overwhelming enemy 
forces. The gallant fellows fell fast under the terrific bombardment 
and attacks, but not a man wavered. 

Finding them immovable, the Germans, at last, on the 18th, 
concentrated a terrible bombardment for seven hours on what was 
left of these splendid men, and then, about 5 or 6 P.M., launched an 
attack by three regiments on the survivors. The front trench was 
attacked in front and on each flank. My son's trench was attacked 
from back and front. 

Our gallant, splendid men, reduced to a mere skeleton of what 
they were, beat back the Brandenburgers. It was during this awful 
time that my dear boy fell. They died, our noble South Africans— 
but they held the wood! Thank God, they held the wood! And 
thank God they kept up the traditions of our race! And my 
splendid boy helped. He took no inconsiderable part either. 

I want our South Africans to get the credit they deserve. If you 
have any friends who can spread the news of what they did, let it 
be told. I resign my dear son, who was very, very dear to me, into 
the safe keeping of my Maker, Who gave him to me. It is very 
hard to part with him, but I glory in his glorious end, my splendid, 
chivalrous boy; and if his example inspires others he will not have 
died in vain. 

Use this letter as you like in order to let the world know what 
the South Africans did. I want these heroes to have some (they can 
never have all) of the honour due to their glorious memories. What 
a theme for some painter's brush or some poet's inspiration! 



Corporal Adam N. Malcolm. 


73. Corporal Hoam IRcil flDalcolm, 

Soutb Hfrican Scottish. 

1 91 6 — July 18. 
MRS ARCHIBALD, 25 Crossland Crescent, Peebles, received intimation 
of the death of her brother, Corporal ADAM NEIL MALCOLM, South 
African Scottish, who was killed in the fighting at Delville Wood, 
France, on 18th July 1916. Corporal Malcolm, who was 43 years of age, 
and a son of the late Thomas Malcolm, joiner, Peebles, went to South 
Africa in 1898. During the Boer War he was a member of the South 
African Mounted Police, and came through that campaign without 
injury. He was among the besieged in Kimberley. On the outbreak 
of the Great War he arrived in this country with a contingent of the 
South African Scottish, and previous to again leaving for Egypt he 
paid a visit to his native town. While in Egypt he took part in 
the Senussi expedition, after which he was transferred to France. 
Corporal Malcolm, who is survived by a widow and three children, 
was employed as a tailor in Peebles previous to his leaving for South 
Africa. He was a very handsome man, and a brave soldier. 

Sergeant John French, who fell on the 17th July, and Corporal 
Adam Neil Malcolm, who fell on the 1 8th, were two mighty men of 
the Scottish Army. In the county town of Tweeddale, their relatives 
were neighbours in the Old Town. In Old Testament history, and 
in mediaeval Scottish history, they would have been celebrated and 
sung as men of valour. Both of these heroes fought for the Empire 
in the South African War, and both fell in its defence in the same 
battle in France. They both came from rugged Border stock, 
representative of the old-time Border mosstroopers. A brother of 
Corporal Malcolm had already fallen in the battle of heroes, Loos, 
and their sister, Mrs Archibald, had three gallant boys in the field, 
one of whom was taken prisoner, one was wounded, and one fell, while 
another nephew, Malcolm Knox, was wounded and disabled for 
life. What a fine record for one Scots family! 

From this vast altar-pile the souls of men 
Speed up to God in countless multitudes; 
On tliis grim cratered ridge they gave their all, 

And, giving, won 
The peace of Heaven and immortality. 
Our hearts go out to them in boundless gratitude, 
If ours, then God's, for His vast charity 
All-sees, all-knows, all-comprehends — save bounds. 
He has repaid their sacrifice, and we? 
God help us if we fail to pay our debt 
In fullest full and all unstintingly ! 



Second Lieutenant FREDERICK T. GlLLETT. 


74. Seconfc Xieutenant Jfrefcericfc Sremlow Gillctt. 

IRogal lUcst IRent IRegiment, 

I9l6 — July 22. 

INFORMATION was received in Peebles that Second Lieutenant 
FREDERICK T. GlLLETT, Royal West Kent Regiment, son of Councillor 
Gillett, Bromley, Kent, had been killed in action. 

He was engaged in the warehouse of Lowe, Donald & Co., when 
war broke out. Within a few days after the commencement of hostilities, 
Eric, as he was known by his companions in Peebles, joined the 5th 
Dragoon Guards, at Dunbar. He was in training at Aldershot for 
some months, and was sent to the front with a draft in May 1915. 
Two months later he was offered a commission, and was eventually 
gazetted, at his own request, to the West Kents. He served a year 
with his regiment. Even when on leave he was always anxious 
to return in case his battalion was called into action. He was a 
senior subaltern at the time of his death, which occurred as he was 
leading his men to an attack in a wood. He was shot through the 
head, death being instantaneous. He would have been 21 on the 14th 
of August. He was a bright, cheery lad, much liked by his 
companions; and his death was sincerely mourned by those who had 
come in contact with him during his residence in Peebles. His love 
for Scotland was great. 

The following are extracts from letters received by Lieutenant 
Gillett's mother — 

" I expect you will have heard from someone else before this, 
telling you of the anxiety we are all in about your son. He was 
known to be wounded in an attack the night before last and is 
missing. I was Chaplain for a long time to his Brigade, and was very 
fond of him indeed, so felt I must write to you in your great anxiety. 
Of course there is a chance that he was taken in by the Germans, and 
is not too badly wounded to recover, but it would not be fair to you 
to encourage you to build on this at all, though one cannot help going 
on hoping as long as there is uncertainty. Personally, I cannot help 
feeling that he has been taken to a higher service. I had a great 
admiration for him, and I can realise something of what his loss would 
mean to you." 

"You certainly have the consolation of knowing that your son 
died doing his duty. He was the most conscientious officer in the 
battalion. He had no thought of self, but his first and last thoughts 
were of his men. We had a very bad time the night previous to the 


attack, and our company commander remarked to me what a splendid 
fellow Eric was. He held the highest ideals, and would never permit 
any blasphemous conversation in his presence. He and I were as 
brothers for three months, and I never remember seeing him go to bed 
without saying his prayers. If he hadn't attempted to help another 
officer to save a comrade who was wounded, I feel certain he would 
be with us now. Whilst you are mourning the loss of a splendid 
son, I mourn the loss of a splendid friend." 

The war is like the Judgment Day — 
All sham, all pretext torn away; 
And swift the searching hours reveal 
Hearts good as gold, souls true as steel, 
Blest saints and martyrs in disguise, 
Concealed erewhile from holden eyes. 

And now we feel that all around 

Have angels walked the well-known ground; 

Not winged and strange beyond our ken, 

But in the form of common men. 

God's messengers from Heaven's own sphere — 

Unrecognised because so near. 



On Vimy Ridge four months ago 
We lived and fought, my friends and I, 
And watched the kindly dawn come slow, 
Peace bringing from the Eastern sky. 
Now I sit in a quiet town 
Remembering how I used to go 
Among the dug-outs up and down, 
On Vimy Ridge four months ago. 

And often sitting here I've seen, 
As then I saw them every night, 
The friendly faces tired and keen 
Across the flickering candle-light, 
And heard their laughter gay and clear, 
And watched the fires of courage glow 
Above the scattered ash of fear, 
On Vimy Ridge four months ago. 

Oh, friends of mine, where are you now ? 
Somewhere beneath the troubled sky, 
With earth above the quiet brow, 
My comrades leal for ever lie. 
But dead or living, out or here, 
I see the friends I used to know, 
And hear the laughter gay and clear, 
On Vimy Ridge four months ago. 




75. private 3obn Coltbart, 

IRoval Scots. 

1916 — August 4. 
PRIVATE JOHN COLTHART joined up in September 191 5. He had 
been a clerk in an Edinburgh law office (Davidson & Syme), having 
been educated at Heriot's. He fell at the battle of the Sorame. His 
grandfather, John Colthart, was a veteran employee of the Caledonian 
Railway Company, at Peebles. His father was at one time an 
official in Peebles Post Office. 

"Tis just a little wooden cross 

In lonely grandeur there, 
That smiles upon a rugged mound 
Of weedy, unattended ground, 

For he was no man's care. 

Unknown? Ah, no! Thy name still lives, 

For One had seen thee fall, 
And marked the sacrifice thus made, 
The debt of love so nobly paid, 

Faithful to Freedom's call. 

2T6 the book of remembrance for tweeddale. 

Private Andrew H. Mow at. 


76. private Hnbrew lb. fIDowat 

1Rov?al Scots. 

1916— August 16. 

THE week ending 19th August 1916 showed a tale of slow progress to 
the rim of the plateau around Pozieres, High Wood, and Guillemont. 
Each day saw something gained by hard fighting. On Sunday, the 
16th of August, it was a section of trench north-west of Pozieres, and 
another between Bazentin-le-Petit, and Martinpuich. On Tuesday, the 
15th, it was ground close to Mouquet Farm. On Wednesday, the 16th, 
it was the west and south-west environs of Guillemont, and a three 
hundred yards' advance at High Wood. On Thursday, the 17th, there 
was progress between Martinpuich and between Ginchy and 
Guillemont. On Friday, 1 8th August, came a great combined attack. 
Three Peebles men fell during those operations — Private Andrew 
Mowat, on 16th August ; Private Win. Blaikie and Private Lewis 
Bottomley, on 1 8th August. 

Mrs Mowat, 8 Eastgate, Peebles, received information that her 
husband, Private ANDREW H. MOWAT, who was reported wounded on 
16th August, was officially reported killed at the battle of the Sorame. 
He left a widow and two little boys, the younger of whom was only 
three years of age at the date of his father's death. He was buried 
by the men of the Rifle Brigade. 

Private Mowat, previous to enlistment in the Royal Scots shortly 
after the outbreak of war, was employed in March Street Mills. He 
went to France in March 1916. 

The moon did wane, dawn stole over the hill, 

The lark in Heaven poured forth his ecstasy; 

The orchard bloomed, the winds were hushed and still, 

And there, amid the moon's serenity, 

Firm-lipped and proud, with victory on his face, 

A soldier lay — " He died for love of race." 



Private William Blaikie. 


77 . private MMiam Blaifcie, 

Australian Jmperfal jforce. 

1916 — August 18. 

ON the 18th August 1916, Private WILLIAM BLAIKIE fell fighting at 
Pozieres. For a long time he was reported as missing, and great 
anxiety was felt on his account by his sisters, who reside at 
Fernside, Kingsmeadows Road, Peebles. Finally, after much delay, 
the Australian Offices in London intimated to them that their brother 
had fallen on the above date. He was in the Scout Platoon of the 
Australian Imperial Force. 

Private Blaikie was celebrated at the athletic games in the 
Borderland as a long distance runner, and was very popular. As a 
playing member of Peebles Athletic Football Club, he was also well 
known in Border football circles. He had been in Australia for four 
years, and was one of those patriotic Australian Scots who came 
home at once and rallied around the Mother Country in her hour of 

Men and boys of the Empire, sons of all her seas, 
What call was ever clearer in darkest days like these? 
Not for lust of conquest she calls you to the fray: 
'Tis honour, faith, and friendship bid you fight to-day. 

Up, then, and fight! and glory be your crown: 

Draw the sword and sheath it not until the foe be down. 

As of old our fathers did, ye to-day will do: 

Britain and the Empire leaves her fate to you. 


Private Lewis Bottomley. 


78. private Xewis Bottom lc\>. 

Cameron Ibigblanoers. 

1 916— August 18. 

PRIVATE LEWIS BOTTOMLEY, aged 30 years, was killed in action on 
the 18th August 1916. He was employed at the Hydropathic, Peebles, 
as a gardener, previous to enlisting in May 1915. Within a month 
after joining up he was in France. 

He was a bright boy at home in Huddersfield, of which town he 
was a native, and clever at school. In the football field he was 
always prominent, and was liked by all his companions. He was 
home on furlough from France in May 1916, and was quite bright 
and full of life, in spite of all the grim horrors of war he had 
passed through, and went back to the front in high spirits and in 
the expectation that he would return before long. Instead of 
returning he, like many another brave lad, laid down his life for 
King and country. 

There in the van he fought through many a dawn, 

Stood by the forlorn hope, knew victory; 

Proud, scorning death, fought with a purpose drawn, 

Sword-edged, defiant, grand for liberty. 

He fell: but yielded not his gallant soul — 

That lives out there beneath the battle's roll. 


Chief Stoker ANDREW R. COLLIER. 


79. Cbicf Stoker Hnbrew 1R. Collier. 

IRc^al IRavB. 

1916 — August 19. 

ON the 19th August 1916, His Majesty's ships Falmouth and Nottingham 
were attacked by German submarines in the North Sea, and both 
were sunk. Thirteen of the Falmouth's crew were lost, amongst 
them being Chief Stoker ANDREW R. COLLIER. The Engineer- 
Lieutenant (who was saved) stated afterwards that Chief Stoker 
Collier met his death while bravely sticking to his post of duty in 
the engine-room, a tribute which speaks for itself. 

Andrew Collier came to Peebles in early boyhood with his father, 
who was a rolling stock inspector on the Peebles Railway. He 
served his apprenticeship with Thos. Wallace, Bridgegate Iron Works, 
Peebles, as an engineer, afterwards joining the Navy, and having 
over twenty years of service to his credit. He saw service in most 
parts of the world, and took part in the Benin expedition against the 
notorious King Prempeh. He was serving on H.M.S. Theseus at the 
time, and received and wore the medal given for this expedition. He 
left a widow. 

Not yours to know delight 

In the keen, hard-fought fight, 
The shock of battle and the battle's thunder; 

But suddenly to feel, 

Deep, deep beneath the keel, 
The vital blow that rives the ship asunder. 

Well might a soul more staid 

Than yours have been afraid, 
In whom th' encroaching sea no fear could waken; 

So to your end you passed, 

Steadfast unto the last, 
Bearing your boyhood's courage still unshaken. 

But ere the icy breath 

Of that grim spectre, Death, 
Had any power to affright or pain you, 

Hovered around your head 

Shades of our Greater Dead — 
I like to think — to welcome and sustain you. 


The Fighting in September 1916. 

BETWEEN the 3rd and 17th September 1916, eight gallant soldiers of 
Tweeddale fell. They were — William B. B. Duncan, Charles T. Ker, 
William C. Fraser, Isaac Maddison, Charles R. Murray, Harry Lawson, 
Robert Callan, and J. Kane. 

On Sunday, 3rd September, at 12 noon, the whole Allied 
front pressed forward. Australian and British troops attacked on the 
extreme left near Mouquet Farm, and towards Thiepval, and against 
the enemy position north of the Ancre. On Monday, 4th September, 
all enemy counter attacks were beaten off, and further ground won 
by the British near Falfont Farm. By Tuesday evening, 5th 
September, the whole of Leuze Wood was taken, and Falfont Farm, 
and the British were less that a thousand yards from the town of 
Combles. From Wednesday, the 6th, to the night of Friday, 8th 
September, the Germans strove in vain to win back what they had lost. 
On Saturday, 9th September, Irish regiments carried Ginchy. By the 
10th September, the British had made good the old German second 
position, and had won the crest of the uplands. On Tuesday, I2th 
September, a comprehensive bombardment began all along the British 
front from Thiepval to Ginchy. On Friday morning, 15th September, 
the British bombardment rose to the fury of a hurricane fire. The 
British tanks entered the battle for the first time now, and along with 
them our infantry crossed the parapets and advanced upon the enemy. 
The Canadians carried Courcelette in the afternoon. The Scots had 
Martinpuich in their hands by five in the afternoon. On the same 
afternoon, London Territorials swept the remainder of High Wood 
clear of the enemy. Beyond them the New Zealanders took Flers 
without much trouble. On Monday, the 18th, the Quadrilateral was 



Here in the narrow broken way 

Where silently we go, 
Steadfast above their valiant clay 

Forgotten crosses show. 
Our whispers call to many a ghost 

Across the flare-light pale, 
And from their graves the Breton host 

Stand up beside the Gael. 

Year upon year of ancient sleep 

Have rusted on our swords, 
But once again our place we keep 

Against the Saxon hordes. 
Since Arthur ruled in Brittany, 

And all the world was new, 
The fires that burned our history, 

Burn in our spirits too. 

One speech beyond their memory 

Binds us together still, 
One dream of home wherein we see 

River and sea and hill. 
When in the night-time Fingal's peers 

Fight their old wars again, 
The blood of twice two thousand years 

Leaps high in every vein. 

Old songs that waked King Arthur's knights 

Stir in our memory yet, 
Old tales of olden heroes' fights 

That we cannot forget, 
To die as Fingal's warriors died 

The great men long ago, 
Breton and Gael stand side by side 

Against the ancient foe. 




Sy A^-s 

Lieutenant WILLIAM B. B. DUNCAN. 


80. lieutenant Militant Balfour Betfoune Duncan. 

ffilacft TKHatcb. 

1916 — September 3. 

MANY in Peebles learned with sincere regret that another young life, 
well known in the town, had been sacrificed on the field of 
battle. This was Lieutenant WILLIAM BALFOUR BETHUNE DUNCAN, 
Black Watch, aged 20, only surviving son of Andrew and Margaret 
Balfour Bethune Duncan, Graycraig, Dundee, and grandson of Dr 
Junor, a former medical practitioner in Peebles. He was killed in 
action on the 3rd September 1916. 

He was educated at the High School, Dundee, and thereafter at 
Glenalmond. Although but seventeen years old when war broke out, 
he at once left college and answered the call of his country, joining 
the Black Watch. 

On the day that Lieutenant Duncan fell, heavy fighting was 
taking place around Thiepval. Guillemont was taken, Ginchy and 
High Wood were taken and partly lost, but on the following day the 
British captured more ground at Guillemont. 

It appears that Lieutenant Duncan and a brother officer, also 
belonging to Dundee, were in a dug-out when a shell hit it, and both 
were killed outright. 

The Commanding Officer wrote — "It is a very sad letter that I write 
to you to tell you how your boy laid down his gallant life for his 
country. His death was absolutely instantaneous, and it was all the 
more sad, as he and Robertson were sitting in a dug out where I 
had hoped they would be safe. His loss cannot be replaced, either 
professionally or personally. A really good platoon commander, who 
could be relied on to do anything he was told to the very best of his 
ability, he had an extremely quiet but very taking and effective way 
with his men, who, I think, adored him. He was a little bit shy with 
me, but he had a very taking character, and I always hoped and 
believed he looked on me as his friend as well as his Commanding 
Officer. I had only the privilege of knowing him for ten months, 
and I only wish it had been longer. Certainly his regiment could not 
spare him, and his memory will always be very dear to me." 

How should we bear our life 
Without the friendship of the happy dead? 

They see 
The steadfast purpose of eternity. 


Their care is all for us; they whisper low 

Of the great heritage 

To which we go. 
As one may tell a child of tender age 

Of manhood and its joys, 

They, from our toys, 
Call us to contemplation of the light. 

We, all unknowing, wage 

Our endless fight, 

By ghostly banners led, 
By arms invisible helped in the strife. 
Without the friendship of the happy dead 

How should we bear our life? 



I'VE heard the liltin' at our ewe-milkin' — 

Lasses a-liltin' before dawn o' day; 
Now there's a moanin' on ilka green loanin' — 

The Flowers of the Forest are a' wede away. 

At buchts in the mornin', nae blythe lads are scornin'; 

Lasses are lanely, and dowie, and wae; 
Nae daffin', nae gabbin' — but sighin' and sabbin', 

Ilk ane lifts her leglin and hies her away. 

In hairst. at the shearin', nae youths now are jeerin' — 
The bandsters are runkled, and lyart, and grey: 

At fair or at preachin', nae wooin', nae fleechin' — 
The Flowers of the Forest are a' wede away. 

At e'en, in the gloamin', nae swankies are roamin' 
'Bout stacks, 'mang the lassies at bogle to play ; 

But ilk ane sits dreary, lamentin' her dearie — 
The Flowers of the Forest are a' wede away. 

We'll hear nae mair liltin' at our ewe-milkin'; 

Women and bairns are dowie and wae; 
Sighin' and moanin' on ilka green loanin' — 

The Flowers of the Forest are a' wede away. 



Corporal Charles T. Ker. 


81. Corporal Cbarlcs Goo Iker. 

IRoval Scots (attacbec- Ibigblanfc %igbt JnfanttB). 

1916 — September 15. 

TOWARDS the end of September 1916 rumours reached Peebles that 
Corporal CHARLES TOD KER, of the Royal Scots (attached to the 
Highland Light Infantry), had been killed in action on the 15th 
September. There was considerable difficulty at first in obtaining 
reliable intelligence as to whether the vague reports were true, but 
ultimately the letters from other Peebles lads who had borne their 
part in the same action left no room for doubt as to the accuracy of 
the original information. 

Corporal Ker was the eldest son of the late William C. Ker and 
of Airs Ker, Priorsford, Peebles, and at the time of his death was 
just within a month of entering his 2lst year. He was a Territorial, 
and was mobilised on the outbreak of war, but was not sent to the 
front till two years later. He took great interest in the Territorial 
force, and, like his father and his grand-uncle, the late Corporal C. T. 
Ker, of the 1st Peeblesshire Rifle Volunteers, was a keen shot, worthily 
upholding the honour of the family name at the targets. He was 
employed in March Street Mills. 

After undergoing training, Corporal Ker and a number of other 
Peebles lads were drafted from Chelmsford to France, and so well had 
they taken advantage of their training opportunities, and were so fit, 
that when they landed in France they were at once sent up to the 
fighting line. On the 15th September a great British attack was made 
on the German lines in the neighbourhood of Martinpuich, in which 
the Highland Light Infantry took part, and it was almost immediately 
after going over the top that Corporal Ker was struck down. 

Our game was his but yester-year; 
We wished him back; we could not know 
The self-same hour we missed him here 
He led the line and broke the foe. 

" To-morrow well may bring,"' we said, 
"As fair a fight, as clear a sun." 
Dear lad, before the word was sped, 
For evermore thy goal was won. 




82. private William Cbc\mc Jfrascr. 

IRoval Scots. 

1916— September 15. 

Private William Cheyne Fraser enlisted in the 2/8th Royal Scots 
on IOth November 1915, and trained for a time with them in Peebles. 
He proceeded to France along with a draft which left Chelmsford at 
the end of August 1916, and was killed on the morning of the 15th 
September of that year. Unofficial word was received through a 
comrade, who merely stated that Private Fraser had been killed. He 
was officially reported missing for nine months, and thereafter was 
assumed killed on the above date. 

Previous to leaving Peebles with the rest of his family in 1909, he 
was employed with Lowe, Donald & Co., and before enlisting was a 
tailor in the employment of John Shipley, clothier, Elgin. 

The British had taken strong positions near Thiepval on the 14th 
September. On the 15th a great British attack opened: tanks came 
into action for the first time. Courcelette, Flers, and Martinpuich 
were taken, and great gains made. 

Rest you content; more honourable far 

Than all the Orders is the Cross of Wood, 

The symbol of self-sacrifice that stood 
Bearing the God whose brother you are. 



Private ISAAC Maddison. 


83. private Jsaac fIDabbieon. 

IRogal Scots. 

191 6 — September 15. 

AFTER the battle of the Somme in the autumn of 1916, Private ISAAC 
MADDISON was reported as missing. Later it was officially reported 
that he had been killed on the 15th September 1916. Private 
Maddison, who was 24 years of age, was the youngest surviving son 
of the late Isaac Maddison, 3 Tennant Street, Leith, and Mrs Maddison, 
Kirkland Street, Peebles. He took part in the landing at the 
Dardanelles on the 25th April 191 5, where he was wounded. After 
the evacuation of Gallipoli his battalion was sent to France, where 
he was killed as stated. 

The unimaginable hour 

That folds away our joys and pain 

Holds not the spirit in its power. 

Therefore I shall come home again 

Wherever my poor body lies, 

To whisper in the summer trees 

Upon a lazy fall and rise 

Of wind : and in day's red decline 

Walk with the sun those roads of mine, 

Then rosy with my memories. 

Though you may see me not, yet hear 
My laughter in the laughing streams, 
My footsteps in the running rain . . . 
For sake of all I counted dear, 
And visit still within my dreams, 
I shall at last come home again. 


Second Lieutenant CHARLES R. MURRAY. 


84. Seconfc Xieutenant Charles 1R. flDurra\>. 

■Ring's Own Scottish .iSevDerers. 
1916 — September 16. 

Second Lieutenant Charles R. Murray, King's Own Scottish 

Borderers, who fell at Martinpuich, on the Somme, on the 16th 
September 1916, was the youngest son of the late William Murray 
and of Mrs Murray, Ringford, Kirkcudbright. He was 33 years of 

Lieutenant Murray was for some years science master in Juniper 
Green Higher Grade School, and he took up duty in Kingsland 
School, Peebles, as first assistant-master, in September 1912. After 
the outbreak of war he joined the 6th Royal Scots as a private. He 
trained in Glasgow, and, after receiving his commission, he was 
attached to the King's Own Scottish Borderers, and left for France in 
August 1916. 

As a teacher he was very well liked by both his fellow teachers 
and the scholars of Kingsland School, for he had an attractive manner 
and an amiable disposition. He took a great interest in the games 
of the youth of the place, and was particularly interested in the boys' 
cricket league. 

" On all occasions he showed a very high spiritual tone. I was 
more than ever drawn to Charles by his fine religious spirit and 

The teachers and scholars of Kingsland School subscribed towards 
a brass tablet in memory of Lieutenant Murray, who gave up his 
position as teacher on the staff to fight for his country. With the 
sanction of the School Board, this tablet was inserted in the wall of 
the school hall, and on Friday, 23rd February 1917, the ceremony of 
unveiling it was carried through by the Rev. Dr Martin, a member of 
the School Board, in presence of all the scholars, teachers, and a 
considerable gathering of sympathisers. Among those present were 
the Rev. D. C. Mitchell, Mr G. U. Macdonald, member of the School 
Board, and Mr Wm. Lyon, clerk of the School Board. A letter was 
read from Sir Henry Ballantyne, chairman of the Board, regretting 
his unavoidable absence. 

The headmaster of the school, Mr Wm. Scott, spoke in a touching 
strain to the children, and introduced Dr Martin, who expressed regret 
that the chairman of the Board had been unable to perform the 
ceremony that now fell to himself. Continuing, Dr Martin said they 
were drawn together that afternoon by very loving and tender regrets, 


anil though there must needs be in their hearts unavoidable sadness, 
yet there should by no means be any gloom. There was nothing 
here for tears, and nothing about which to wail and beat the breast, 
for all was beautiful. Their remembrances of their departed friend 
were such as the very thought of him would always awaken in them 
admiration, gratitude, and love. Mr Murray had come to them in 
1912, and, although he was here for only two short years, he (Dr 
Martin) had reason to believe that he had grown into the affection of 
scholars, teachers, and all who knew him, in a wonderful way. He 
had a rich personality, and he could best describe him, perhaps, in the 
words used by Mr Scott in his letter to him, which said that "he 
had a quiet, sunny personality, with strength behind the quietness; 
well liked by teachers and by scholars." He was sure that the teachers 
present in that briefly-sketched portrait recognised their absent friend. 
He had been interested in the boys and girls not only in school but 
outside of it, for he had a manly interest in their sports and games. 
Altogether he was a man of rich reserve of power and of affection, 
just such a man as you might have been sure would respond to his 
country's call. And his country did call, and he responded without 
hesitation — bravely. His brief history as a soldier was known to 
most of them. He joined the Army in December 1914 ; served about 
a year as a private soldier; and then gained his commission in the 
King's Own Scottish Borderers. And he had proved a splendid soldier 
and a gallant officer. In August 1916 he went to France. In 
September of the same year he was killed. His body now lay in a 
soldier's grave. Well, death had taken him from them, but death 
had also given him back to them in a very real and vivid and 
sacred way. It brought to mind the poet's words — "Death strikes, 
and absence perisheth; indifference is no more!" The manner of 
his dying had made him immortal to them. They could never be 
indifferent to him; he could never be absent from their minds. God 
had given him back to them through his noble death. After life's 
fitful fever he slept well. It was a beautiful idea of his fellow- 
teachers and scholars to combine to erect a tablet in memory of their 
friend. The children of this generation and the children of the 
generations yet unborn would look upon this tablet here, and they 
would recall these awful years of war, and with them the proud 
memory of those brave, noble, and best of men who had fought and 
died in these awful times, and that one of whom was Mr Murray, 
whom they now mourned, and whose spirit would haunt this place for 
all time. To the boys and girls this tablet would point the way to 
be true, brave, and faithful; and never to be mean or cowardly, false 
or unclean. Dr Martin then unveiled the tablet and read: — "In 
Memoriam. Second Lieutenant Charles R. Murray, King's Own 


Scottish Borderers. Killed in action in France, 16th September 1916." 
Addressing the teachers, Dr Martin asked permission to say that in 
name of the School Board they accepted from them this tablet, which 
they would ever cherish as something sacred upon the walls of this 
school. They had thus done honour to themselves; they had done 
honour to the memory of their friend; done honour to the general 
spirit of admiration for heroes and true men ; and they now thanked 
them for this tribute, and prayed that its presence there might ever 
continue to be an influence for good throughout the school. Prayer 
followed, and, when the children had sung a hymn, the assemblage 
joined in the National Anthem, which brought the proceedings to a 

. . . . O glad condition and sublime 

Of our undying dead, to fight and foil 

The ancient foe, continually to climb 

Through God's high Order of His saints, to meet 

Some soul whose star-like name lit all their course, 

And commune with him, to discern and greet 

Old kindred, love, and friendship, hound and horse; 

To see God face to face, and still to see 

And labour for the loves that grope on earth, 

To wait serenely till all souls shall be 

One in God's aristocracy of worth. 


Private Harry Lawson. 


85. [private 1barr\> Xawson. 

IRoval Scots (attacbeo "Ibigblanb Xigbt Jnfantvv). 

1916 — September 17. 

Ox the 17th September 1916, Private HARRY LAWSON, who was only 
in his 18th year, was killed in action at Martinpuich, during the battle 
of the Somme. He lies in a soldier's grave in Villa Wood Cemetery, 
Contalmaison. Private Lawson was the youngest son of John and 
Mrs Lawson, Cross Road, Peebles, and was a joiner to trade, being in 
the employment of Thomas Murray. He volunteered for service in 
191 5, joining the Royal Scots, but was afterwards attached to the 
Highland Light Infantry. An elder brother, John, was fated to fall 

At the close of his sermon, preaching from John xv., II — "These 
things have I spoken unto you that My joy might remain in you, 
and that My joy might be full," the Rev. D. Y. Currie, in the West 
United Free Church, on 8th October 1916, made the following touching 
reference to the death of Private Lawson: — "The subject on which 
we have been meditating this morning seems somewhat inopportune. 
Since I had planned it, the news, reported ten days ago, has been 
confirmed, that Harry Lawson, of the Royal Scots, recently transferred 
to the Highland Light Infantry, has been killed in action on the 17th 
of September. The news has cast a deep gloom over one of our 
homes, and we of the congregation suffer with them in sympathy. 
It seems so short a time since those boys, who are doing a bigger 
job than we have been called to in life, were but in their 
childhood. Harry was so young, not having reached the age of 19 
years, yet he has played his part in the biggest tragedy of world- 
history. Only a month ago or so he was here, worshipping in 
this church with the family of which he was the youngest member. 
That night I called to bid him good-bye. One has a strange 
feeling in bidding farewell to those who are going to meet 
the chances of war. There is a long, wistful look into those 
eyes you know may soon be closed in death. You seem to be 
looking into the Eternal. So it has proved in his case. Harry, on 
whose infant face I sprinkled the waters of baptism, who until a few 
years ago was in the Sunday School, has done the biggest thing a 
man can do. He has laid down his life for us. He is one of 
thousands, each of whom will be remembered in his own little circle, 
and his memory will linger here amongst us, who loved him in his 
life, and admire him in his death. To the family, so sorely stricken, 



we extend our deepest sympathy. It may be hard for them to see the 
joy of which we have been speaking, but our text was spoken by One 
who knew the deepest sorrow, and yet tasted the joy that is the largest 
factor of our life. What we want is a deepening sense of immortality, 
to strike our roots into the larger life for which we are made. 
Suffering is on the surface. Those separations are superficial. The 
fuller life means union and triumph over the ravages of death. 
Whatever therefore befall, let us live reverently, and gladly receiving 
from the hand of our Heavenly Father the gift of our days — whether 
they be sunlit or shadowed — pledging ourselves to take them in 
humility and in faith, and to live them out in the love of God, and in 
the service of our generation, if so be that in some small degree the 
joy of Jesus may be in us and remain, that our joy may be full." 

Lest Heaven be thronged with grey-beards hoary, 

God, who made boys for His delight, 
Stoops in a day of grief and glory, 

And calls them in, in from the night. 
When they come trooping from the war 

Our skies have many a new gold star. 



WHEN" soldiers of the Cross waged Holy War, 

With courage high, and hearts that did not quail 

Before the foe, in olden times they saw 

The blessed vision of the Holy Grail. 

Tho' Christ was gone, His pledge was with them yet, 

For, borne on wings of angels, from the skies, 

They saw the chalice that once held the wine 

As emblem of the Saviour's sacrifice 

For men, and knew that still the Master met 

With his own friends in fellowship divine. 

Christ has His soldiers now. Though years have rolled 

Away, the warriors of the Cross are strong 

To fight His battles, as the saints of old, 

Against oppression, tyranny, and wrong. 

And still amid the conflict they can trace 

The Saviour's influence. Not the Holy Grail, 

Which once as His remembrance was adored, 

But Christ Himself is with them. For a veil 

Is lifted from their eyes, and, face to face, 

They meet the presence of the risen Lord. 

Oh, blessed vision! After all the years, 

Christ's with us yet. To-day, as heretofore 

Men see Thee still and they cast off their fears, 

And take fresh courage to press on once more. 

The soldiers, bearing from the desperate fight 

A wounded brother, meet Thee in the way, 

And know Thee, Friend and Saviour, in the strife, 

For once again Thy loved ones hear Thee say 

(Oh, Christ ! White Comrade, in their stand for right ! )- 

" Lo, I am with you alway, Lord of Life." 

(See Illustration on following page). 



The White Comrade. 


86. private 3- Ikane, 

1Rov?al Dublin ffusiliers. 

1916 — September. 

In one of the official casualty lists there appeared the name of Private 
J. KANE (25687), Peebles, a member of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers, who 
was reported missing, but was afterwards stated to have died of 

This man was a hawker sojourning for a few days in Peebles. 
His wife was seeing him off at Peebles Station when she fell between 
the platform and the footboard of a carriage and was killed. 

Your Donah at the station said, "So-long!" 

And falling, died upon the rail ; 
You sped your way, and joined the khaki throng, 

Though but a tramp, and faced the German hail. 
In some celestial doss-house you've now met her, 

You tramp together the Elysian fields, 
You've left this countryside for one far better — 

The hedgerows of Tweedside for heavenly bields! 


Private Robert L. Callan. 


87. lpnvatc IRobert Xaurteton (Lallan. 

Canadian Contingent. 

1916 — September 17. 

INTIMATION was received by Mr and Mrs William Callan, Eshiels, from 
the Canadian Record Office, that their second son, Private ROBERT 
LAURISTON CALLAN, of the Canadians, had been posted as missing 
since the 17th September 1916. 

The Chaplain of the Battalion, in a letter to Mrs Callan, said — "I 
regret having to confirm the intelligence, doubtless already sent to you, 
that your son, Private R. L. Callan, has been posted as missing. He 
took part in a raid of the German trenches on the Somme in the early 
morning of Sunday, 17th September, and it is not known how it fared 
with him — whether he was taken prisoner by the Germans or fell in 
action. After the raid was over a careful search was made for him 
and several of his comrades in 'No Man's Land.' LInder most 
dangerous conditions the search was continued for other two days 
and nights, but without avail. It is not impossible that he was taken 
prisoner, but there is no evidence either way. I trust most sincerely 
that his life has been spared, and that you will yet hear from him, 
but in this fearful tragedy we must be prepared for the worst. I 
knew him very well when I got near to him last winter when he was 
in the hospital at Barshott, and found him to be always the same — a 
cheerful, fearless companion and soldier, intent on doing his best for 
the triumph of truth, liberty, and righteousness. He was well liked 
by his comrades and officers, being of a cheerful and most agreeable 
nature, always making the best of the worst conditions. I hope the 
day will come when you will hear from him. In the meantime, allow 
me to express my own personal sympathy with you in the clays of 
tension still before you, and I pray God to sustain you all." 

Private Callan's section commander wrote Mrs Callan as follows: — 
"I should like to tell you how grieved both my section and myself 
are at losing your son from our ranks. Private Callan was an 
excellent soldier, and was popular with all ranks, and was next for 
promotion in the section. He took part in a raid on the German 
trenches on the 16th September, and I am afraid that he has not 
survived. There is a very slight possibility, however, of his having 
been wounded and taken prisoner. The sympathies of every officer 
and man in the Battalion are with you in your misfortune." 


In our heart of hearts believing 

Victory crowns the just, 

And that braggarts must 

Surely bite the dust, 
March we to the field ungrieving. 
In our heart of hearts believing 

Victory crowns the just! 


The Winning of the Flers Line. 

BETWEEN 8th and 16th October 1916 there fell three men with a 
Tweecldale connection, and at the same time Peebles shared some of 
the reflected glory of the Victoria Cross, for this, the proudest honour 
in the British Army, came to a lad whose father once lived in the 
town and was occupied in business there, while his relatives — 
David Mitchell, his wife; and Alexandra Richardson, sister of the 
V.C., their niece — are highly respected citizens of the burgh. Piper 
James C. Richardson, V.C., fell on 8th October; James S. Buddie on 
the 9th; and David Weir on the 13th. 

The last days of September and the first of October were 
occupied in winning the remainder of what might be called the 
Flers Line. On the 1st of October we advanced on a front of 300 
yards, taking the Flers Line north of Destremont, while London 
Territorials occupied the buildings of the old Abbey of Eaucourt. On 
the 2nd October the enemy regained a footing in the Abbey ; but on 
the 4th we finally cleared the place ; and on the 6th the Londoners 
won the mill to the north-west of it. On the 7th October we captured 
Le Sars, and our line was advanced considerably. From that date for 
a month we struggled up the slopes, gaining ground, but never winning 
crests. We wrestled for odd lengths of fantastically named trenches, 
which were often three feet deep in water. 




Piper James C. Richardson. 
Victoria Cross. 




piper 3amcs C. IRicbarfcson. 

Victoria Cross. 

Seafortb "IbigblanDers (.iGritisb Columbia). 

1916— October 8. 
NEARLY two years after having been reported " wounded and missing," 
and later still " presumed to be dead," Chief-Constable David 
Richardson, of Chillewack, British Columbia, received official word that 
his gallant son, Piper JAMES C. RICHARDSON, had been posthumously 
awarded the highest military honour in the gift of the British Empire. 

Since the battle of the Somme, on 8th October 1916, Piper 
Richardson's relatives hoped against hope that the heroic soldier might 
have escaped. That hope was dissipated by the War Office, which 
officially posted him as dead. 

The young soldier was attached to the 16th Battalion (Scottish), 
and was barely 18 when he enlisted with the 72nd Seaforth 
Highlanders in Vancouver. On the 27th November 1916 Mr Richardson 
received a personal letter from Colonel C. W. Peck (then Major Peck), 
giving an account of Piper Richardson's death, and holding out the 
hope that he had been taken prisoner. 

With three other pipers, Richardson played his men over the top 
at the beginning of the battle of the Somme, and continued playing as 
the troops advanced in the face of a murderous enemy fire. He came 
back safely, but suddenly discovered that his beloved pipes were 
missing. Despite warnings, he returned to search for them, and was 
never seen again. He was known in Vancouver as a piper of great 
promise, having frequently been heard at Caledonian games in that 

Piper Richardson, who was 20 years of age at the time of his 
death, was a nephew of Mr and Mrs David Mitchell, Rosedale, High 
Street, Peebles. 

Over the top and awa', awa', 
Come, Piper, gi'e us a blaw, a blaw; 
The Piper played as he forward strode 
A merry old tune for a rough old road. 

He played the lads through the mud and fire ; 
When the men were held by the ugly wire. 
He played and strutted up and down 
As if on parade in his old home town. 

The day was won and the men were proud: 
"Where is the piper?" called the crowd; 
The wounded he tended back to light, 
But he has gone into the night. 

The pipes are lost and the Piper's gone, 
The men are forlorn without his song ; 
But forever floats his brave old tune 
Where seas are murmuring to the moon. 

Where the crowds are jostling in the street, 
Where brave men march with rhythmic beat; 
At set o' sun you can hear his note 
Like a far song from a wee bird's throat. 

Tune up your pipes! for the way is long; 
Tune up! for we cannot spare your song, 
Over the top and awa', awa', 
Tune up! Tune up! for a blaw, a blaw. 



Private James S. Buddie. 


89. private James Spencer Buckie. 

(BorDon Ibigblan&ers. 

1916 — October 9. 

ON the 9th October 1916, Private JAMES SPENCER BUDDIE, Machine 
Gun Section, Gordon Highlanders, only surviving son of the late 
James Buddie, I Briggate, Peebles, and formerly of Edinburgh, was 
killed in action in France. He joined Kitchener's Army in 1914, and 
saw much fighting. He was wounded twice — once at Loos — and had 
many narrow escapes. In civil life he was engaged in the motoring 
industry. He left a widow and four young children. 

Give him a cheer for his high emprise, 
Who has fought and conquered both life and death, 
As he stands with the light of his God in his eyes, 
And his sword in its sheath. 


Private David Weir. 


90. private HJavifc Mcir. 

TRogal Scots. 

1916 — October 13. 

AT the General Hospital, Rouen, France, on the 13th October 1916, 
Private DAVID WEIR, Royal Scots, died from wounds received in 
action. He was the youngest son of John Weir, 16 Biggiesknowe, 
Peebles, and was aged 29 years. Previous to enlisting, Private Weir 
was employed as a lorryman in Peebles. He went to France in 
August 1915, and within a week he received the wounds which later 
proved mortal. He was never able to leave the hospital. 

Know there's a place where the warrior goes, 
Sheathing his sword as a man, unafraid, 
Who has forced the gate and conquered the foes, 
And received on his shoulder the accolade. 


The Battle of the Somme -Fourth Stage. 

ON the 5th November I Ql6 it almost seemed as if "The Butte" had 
been won. We were indeed over it, and were holding positions on 
its eastern side, but at night we were forced to fall back. On this 
day fell Joseph M'Leman. There was some improvement in the 
weather on the 9th November, but the roads were deeply submerged 
in liquid mud and water. The stubborn front before Beaumont Hamel 
and Serre remained untried by us. Its defenders believed it to be 
impregnable. It was tunnelled out so as to form a subterranean city, 
within which whole battalions could be assembled. On Sunday the 
I2th November, Gough's Fifth Army held the area from Gommecourt, 
in the north, to the Albert-Bapaume Road. The British bombardment 
began on the morning of Saturday, 1 1 th November. At a quarter to 
six on the dark, raw, foggy morning of Monday, 13th November, the 
British rushed over the parapets. We carried all the German lines, 
and by the evening were holding the Hansa Line. The Highland 
Territorials had before them the village of Beaumont-Hamel. By the 
evening the whole of this village had been occupied, and posts were 
out as far as Munich trench. Those Highlanders had stormed by 
hand-to-hand fighting one of the strongest German forts on the 
western front. Sergeant James Duncan Todd fell here, on the 13th 
November. On the following day, 14th November, a general advance 
began, and it was then that there fell a gallant young doctor of 
Peebles, Captain J. D. Forrester, R.A.M.C. His father, the popular 
War Provost of the burgh, had not hesitated to give up his all for 
the Empire. His only two sons were in the front lines. The elder 
son fell: the younger won through. 

Between the 15th and 18th November we pushed on through the 
Beaucourt area, taking prisoners by the thousand. The Canadians 
pushed their centre down the slope to the western skirts of Grandcourt. 
It was the last attack, which concluded the fourth stage of the battle 
of the Somme. It has received the name of the battle of the Ancre. 
It was on the 20th November that Private James Horsburgh fell. " On 
the Somme fell the very flower of our race, the straightest of limb, 
the keenest of brain, the most eager of spirit." 



Was it a sigh of yesterday, or an echo of long ago? 

The dream of an idle moment, or a real thing pictured so ? 

I thought that I was somewhere in the heart of that elder world 

Where stubborn men were gathered with their battle flags unfurled. 

I could see their pennons floating on moor, and moss, and glen, 
And I saw the legions mustered that ne'er returned again. 
They came from lonely moorlands and far sequestered towers, 
And every hill and valley yielded its fairest flowers. 

From Liddell, and Esk, and Yarrow, from Teviot, Tweed, and Jed, 
From Carter Fell and Cheviot to lone St Mary's Lake, 
They failed not of their summons who knew the black mistake, 
And they rode away to the eastward, and the land was still as night. 
And never a man that faltered, and never a thought of flight. 

Then I seemed to lie in the silence — in the grip of an anguish throb, 
Not a cry, nor a sound of wailing, but one deep-drawn, stifled sob; 
And the sun went down in crimson, till it made the streams run red: 
/ knew I had strayed from Flodden, and I wished that I were dead. 



Private JOSEPH A. F. M'Leman. 


91. private 3osepb H. jf. flD'Xeman. 

IRogal Scots (attacbe& Scottish IRiflcs). 

1916 — November 6. 

OUT of five sons, the late William M'Leman and Mrs M'Leman, Dean 
Park, Peebles, had three in the Army. The youngest of these, Private 
JOSEPH A. F. M'LEMAN, Royal Scots (attached to the Scottish Rifles), 
was reported missing on 5th November 1916. Later, official intimation 
reached Mr M'Leman that his son had been killed on the date 

Private M'Leman was 21 years of age, and in June 1915 he 
enlisted in the 6th Royal Scots, going out to France in the first week 
of July 1916. Before enlisting he was employed in Tweedsicle Mill. 
He was an excellent cornet player. Of his two soldier brothers, one 
was with the Canadians in France, the other being in Egypt. 

The Corporal of Private M'Leman's platoon wrote — "Just a few 
lines in answer to your letter to me regarding your son Joe. He 
went up to the front on the morning of 5th November, at Le 
Transloy. It was about one o'clock in the morning. By mistake we 
entered the German trenches, having lost our way. We could not 
get our bayonets fixed, so we had to make a hand-to-hand fight to 
try and get out. We managed out between the lines, but the machine 
gun fire from the Germans compelled us to lie down. Being Corporal 
of Joe's platoon, I was anxious to get as many of the lads as 
possible out safely. Your son Joe was lying on my right, when I 
heard him give a shout that he was hit. Then he half raised himself 
up and fell on his back. I crept over to him a little closer to ask 
him where he had got hit, but I received no answer. Poor lad ! 
Just shortly after, the Germans rushed us, and we had to retire and 
leave our wounded behind. If there had been any possible chance of 
us getting them in we would have done so, but the fire was too deadly. 
The way I knew he was your Joe, was because he was the only Joe 
M'Leman in our Battalion. He belonged to the Royal Scots, and was 
attached to the Scottish Rifles. He used to play a cornet in the 
Royal Scots Band. Well, Mrs M'Leman, that is all the information I 
can give you regarding Joe, and believe me, he was a gallant, brave 
young man, and a soldier to the end." 

I can't forget the night 
When the moon was at its height, 
And the bullets fell about us thick as rain, 


When Joe "copped" one in the head, 
And he lay beside me dead, 
And I knew I'd never hear his voice again. 

I can't forget the dawn, 

When the harvest moon had gone, 

And God's lamps were burning dimly in the sky, 
When we lowered your son to rest 
With the bravest and the best, 

Who had died the noblest death that man can die. 

I'm glad I was his friend, 

By his side right to the end, 
And I'm glad he didn't feel death's piercing sting 

When he passed beyond the pale, 

And we laid him down the vale, 
Till he stood within the presence of the King. 

I like to think he's waiting 
Just behind the golden grating, 

With all the other fellows that I knew; 

And when the last trumpet sounds, 
And the CO. makes his rounds, 

He'll be standing at attention 'longside you. 



Through days and nights that soak and drench, 

His cheery songs the hours beguile ; 
He charges on the blazing trench 

And faces Hades with a smile. 
Though some who know his courage high 

Have pictured him tight-lipped and stern, 
He cocks, in truth, a jovial eye 

Upon the whole concern. 

If things at times are rather rough, 

'Tis not a picnic but a war ; 
He finds his troubles quite enough 

Without inventing any more. 
And, though within his heart he knows 

'Tis his to conquer or to fall, 
He doesn't strike the hero's pose 

Where men are heroes all. 

The Teuton foeman, dour and grim, 

No longer finds it well to scoff, 
But rather dimly envies him 

The cheery smile that won't come off. 
By no mean fear of death opprest, 

In danger still he finds a joy 
And keeps within a soldier's breast 

The clean heart of a boy! 




Jg/V ^ 


Wfaf" I ■ 

\ l^te^M^' " 


Sergeant JAMES D. TODD. 


92. Xancc*5ei*ocant 3amcs Duncan £ot>&. 

3Black "UBIatcb. 

1916 — November 13. 

JAMES DUNCAN TODD was born in 1887. After the ordinary Board 
School education he started work in the coal mines of Fifeshire. In 
191 1 he emigrated to the United States of America, where he had 
many ups and downs, such as usually fall to the lot of a stranger in a 
strange land. At the end of three years (1914) he returned to 
Fifeshire and again started work in the coal mines there. After the 
outbreak of hostilities he enlisted in the 17th Black Watch, in the 
month of September 1914. 

After training at Kinghorn for some months, he was drafted to 
France in April 191 5. He was in France one year when he got leave 
of absence. Before returning to active service he married Isabella 
Hunter, whom he met while in the U.S.A., but who, like himself, 
hailed from Fifeshire. They were married before the Sheriff in 
Edinburgh, and two days later, his leave being up, he again started 
for France. Mrs Todd lives at 26 High Street, Peebles, with her 
sister, Mrs George Mathieson. 

In the meantime he had been raised to the rank of Corporal, which 
he held until shortly before the first battle of the Somme. He was 
then raised to the rank of Lance-Sergeant, which rank he held until 
he was killed on 13th November 1916. 

The following is an extract from a letter from one of Sergeant 
Todd's comrades, relative to his death: — "On Monday morning, 13th 
November, at 6 P.M., our Battalion went over the parapet near Beaumont 
Hamel — to be exact, at the Y-Ravine. Jim, I'm sure, would be with 
his platoon, and, as far as my information goes, he was going across 
the open ground between the second and third lines of the captured 
trenches when he was struck by a bullet from a machine-gun and 
killed instantaneously." 

Extract from a letter from Captain A. K. Watson - " When 
Lieutenant Beatson wanted a sergeant it was Todd he chose, and when 
he asked him if he would go over the top with him, without any 
hesitation and with a smile, Todd answered — "Yes, sir." A first rate 
fellow. It seems always the way. The good chaps go." 

It might be interesting and worthy of note that the church he 
attended while in America had a gold star embossed on the pulpit to 
his memory, Sergeant Todd being the first who was known personally 
to the members to fall in action in the Great War. 


O Wife, who heard across the wintry sea 
Death's trumpet shrill for him who goes no more 
Riding at dawn with that brave company 
Whose fellowship no morning shall restore — 
In its dark heart your bitterest hour shall bring 
Sweets from the scattered petals of the Spring. 

O Maid, with wondering eyes, untouched of grief, 
War's dreadful shadow spares your innocent years: 
Yet shall you deem the ways of sunshine brief, 
Paying, long hence, your toll of hidden tears 
For love which perished ere the web was spun, 
And children who shall never see the sun. 



No more old Scotland will they see — 
Those men who've died for you and me. 
So lone and cold they lie ; but we, 
We still have life, are able still 
To climb the turf of Cademuir Hill, 
To see the placid sheep go by, 
To hear the sheep-dog's eager cry, 
To feel the sun, to taste the rain, 
To smell the autumn scents again 
Beneath the brown and gold and red 
Which old October's brush has spread. 

So young they were, so strong and well, 

Until the bitter summons fell — 

Too young to die. 

Yet there on foreign soil they lie, 

So pitiful, with glassy eye 

And limbs all tumbled anyhow: 

Quite finished now. 

On every heart, lest we forget, 
Secure at home — engrave this debt ! 

So young, and fit, and lithe, and fair, 

The very flower of us were they, 

The very flower, but yesterday! 

Yet now so pitiful they lie 

Where love of country bade them hie 

To fight this fierce Caprice — and die. 

All mangled now, where shells have burst 

And lead and steel have done their worst : 

The tender tissues ploughed away, 

The year's slow processes effaced: 

The Mother of us all disgraced. 

And some leave wives behind — young wives; 

Already some have launched new lives: 

A little daughter, a little son; 

For thus this blundering world goes on. 

But never more will any see 

The old secure felicity, 

The kindnesses that made us glad 

Before the world went mad. 

They'll never hear another bird, 

Another gay or loving word — 

Those men who lie so cold and lone, 

Far, in a country not their own; 

Those men who died for you and me 

That Britain still might sheltered be, 

And all our lives go on the same 

(Although to live is almost shame). 





93. Captain James 2>, jforrester. 

1Rov>al Strug /llbcDical Corps. 

1 916 —November 14. 

THE sad intelligence reached Peebles from the Secretary of War that 
a well-known young townsman, Captain JAMES D. FORRESTER, of the 
Royal Army Medical Corps, eldest son of Provost Forrester, had been 
killed in action, on the 14th November 1916, in France. The news 
was received by his wife. Mrs J. D. Forrester, who had resided with 
her father-in-law since her husband went to France in August 1915- 
and very soon the news spread throughout the community, creating 
profound sympathy. 

Captain Forrester was born in Kirkcaldy in 1888, and came to 
Peebles as a young lad with his parents in 1 898, when his father 
took over the Temperance Hotel business established by the late 
Provost Lossock. He received his education at Peebles Burgh and 
County High School and George Watson's Boys' College, Edinburgh. 
He matriculated for the medical course of Edinburgh University 
thereafter, and having passed the qualifying examinations, he obtained 
the degree of M.B., Ch.B., in 1912. After a voyage to India as a ship 
surgeon, he was appointed house surgeon in Rochdale Infirmary, and 
subsequently at the Royal Infirmary, Halifax. Upon the outbreak of 
war he offered his services to the War Office, and sometime after he 
obtained a commission in the Royal Army Medical Corps. Proceeding 
to Aldershot for training, the call came in August 1915 to proceed to 
the front. 

For some months it had been known that Captain Forrester's 
duties led him into the danger zone. He had been selected to take 
charge of the advanced dressing station connected with the field 
ambulance which was with the Royal Naval Division, to which he 
was attached, and the duty of this party was to pick up the wounded 
from the trenches and get them sent back to the casualty clearing 
station and on to the base hospitals. The situation was one of the 
most dangerous, " In fact, the guns were all around, and when they 
all opened fire together the din was really ear-splitting — guns of both 
sides going off all the time." Writing home in these circumstances, 
the terrible realities of war compelled Captain Forrester to say— " / 
never expected to be called upon in my lifetime to do such work, but I am 
determined to do my duty for the sake of my home, my country, my King, 
and my God. The enemy won't have time to brush his hair t/iis winter if 
we can help it. ' ' 


The Royal Naval Division, to which Captain Forrester's ambulance 
was attached, was specially mentioned as taking a most prominent 
part in the great operations which culminated in the taking of 
Beaumont Hamel. 

Life in such a shell-swept region became hazardous in the 
extreme. Only a few weeks before his death, Captain Forrester, 
impressed with the discomforts of the wounded emerging from the 
trenches, made an appeal for socks so that he might be able to send 
the brave fellows down to the base in greater comfort. This appeal 
was partly responded to, and young Mrs Forrester had sent out several 
parcels, and others were being got ready. Perhaps this little incident, 
occurring as it did when his career was nearing its close, revealed one 
of the most characteristic traits in the Doctor's life — consideration for 

Mrs J. D. Forrester received the following telegram — "The King 
and Queen deeply regret the loss which you and the country have 
sustained by the death of your husband, and send you their deepest 

Captain Forrester was a member of the Leckie Memorial United 
Free Church, and the following is a letter from his minister, the Rev. 
Oliver Russell, M.A., now of the Middle U.F. Church, Paisley, to 
•Captain Forrester's parents—" MY DEAR MR AND MRS FORRESTER — 
We were deeply grieved to see in to-day's Scots/nan that James 
had been killed in action, and we are with you all in affectionate 
sympathy. May God help and comfort you parents and the wife and 
Robin in this bitter time. What mystery and sadness there is in 
the quenching upon the threshold of life of so much youth and 
courage! I sit, pen in hand, not knowing what to say or how to say 
it. As I sit, I see James in so many different spheres where I have 
known him — in Edinburgh University Union, in our camps, in his seat 
in church, beside my study fire, in your own hospitable home. It 
took time to know him, but to know him was to love him. He was 
a splendid man, of solid, persevering nature, and with a heart of gold. 
I don't know if he ever told you of some conversations we had; but 
he was absolutely straight and a man through and through. When 
he joined the Church he did so not as a convention but as a believer 
in and a follower of our Saviour. We looked for a long, prosperous, 
and useful life for him, encouraged by his bright and loving wife, to 
whom he was devotedly attached. It was not to be. For him the 
hero's end has come, not with twilight and evening bell, but with the 
sunrise and the morning star. A big lump is in my throat as I 
remember him, and think of you and young Mrs Forrester. If I write 
to you in a poor and inadequate way it is not because of lack of 
feeling, but because my emotion overpowers me. My prayers are with 
you all. Yet surely 'It is well with the lad.'" 


When in Edinburgh and Peebles, Captain Forrester played hockey 
with the Northern Hockey Club and Peebles High School Club, and 
he was instrumental in starting Peebles Municipal Tennis Club, of 
which he was captain for some time. 

Captain Forrester was married in May 1915 to Miss Elizabeth 
Steel, eldest daughter of William Steel, formerly agent at Peebles 
Caledonian Station, and now agent at Lockerbie Junction. A daughter 
was born in March 1916, and it is a pathetic circumstance that Captain 
Forrester was taken away without ever having seen his little girl, his 
last furlough having expired just a week before she was born. Much 
sympathy was expressed for the young widow in her sore bereavement, 
and for Provost Forrester and his invalid wife and their only surviving 
son, Lieutenant R. Cairns Forrester, who joined the colours at the 
early age of 17, and afterwards saw service in France as an officer of 
the Royal Scots, being wounded in April 1917 and May 191 8. 

Surgeon Gow, who was attached to the Royal Naval Division, 
wrote — "It is with deep sympathy that I write of the death of the late 
Captain J. D. Forrester. He and I were working together at an 
advanced dressing station. On the morning of Tuesday, 14th 
November — not the 13th as you state in your letter — he left about 5.30 
A.M. to take a party of stretcher bearers up the line. He conducted 
them there, and returned to the village of Hamel, where we had 
another post. Shortly after 7 A.M., he, with two other officers and 
five men, was leaving the post, and when walking through what was 
once the front garden of a house all were partially buried by the 
bursting of a shell. Captain Forrester was the only one of the party 
to be extricated alive. He was quickly carried clown the short distance 
to the dressing station, but he was so severely wounded that he never 
regained consciousness, and died peacefully within half-an-hour. His 
friends have what consolation there is in knowing that from the 
moment of the explosion he was too ill to suffer. He did not speak ; 
and undoubtedly knew nothing about it. The funeral took place on 
the following morning, in the British Military Cemetery adjoining the 
village of Hamel, a Chaplain of the Royal Naval Division conducting 
the service. His grave is in Row C. I saw that it was marked plainly 
with his name. He was a general favourite in our mess, and the 
surviving officers wish to join with me in an expression of sincere 

A special meeting of Peebles Town Council was held on Monday 
evening, 22nd November 1916, in the Council Chambers, for the purpose 
of sending Provost Forrester an expression of sympathy on the loss 
of his eldest son. Bailie Phillips (who presided as Senior Bailie), said 
he had not come to the meeting that night prepared with any lengthy 
remarks on the sad subject that had brought them together. It was 
fitting, however, that reference should be made to the sad bereavement 


that had befallen Provost Forrester. They all knew it was one that 
Provost Forrester must feel very acutely. His son, Dr Forrester, had 
been an exemplary man. In fact, in his (Bailie Phillips') opinion, he 
was just made for a doctor. In all his experience of him — and he 
had known him since he was a lad — he seemed not to take up himself 
with aught that did not pertain to his profession. He had gained 
distinction in his classes, and had passed through every one of them 
with high honours. He was sure they were all sorry that Provost 
Forrester should lose his eldest son, and such a son. As for Provost 
Forrester himself, he must certainly know that in this trial he had the 
greatest sympathy of all of them. This was a great blow that had 
fallen upon him, and it was bound to have its own effect, but he felt 
the courage that night to say that if he knew Provost Forrester aright 
he would rise to the occasion and be as good a servant to the burgh 
as ever he had been. Captain Forrester's mother would feel the loss 
of her dear son most acutely, and in the bereaved circle their hearts 
went out to the sorrowing young widow, whose loss was irreparable, 
and the younger brother. He moved that the Town Council send 
Provost Forrester their deepest sympathy in his present great 
bereavement. Bailie Wilkie supported this proposal. It was a right 
and fitting thing to do, for all their feelings prompted them thereto. 
It was sad news to them when they heard of the death of the eldest 
son of their Provost. He was sure every one of them felt extremely 
sorry that such a calamity had come to him, and he was also sure 
that their sympathies went out most sincerely to their Provost and to 
Mrs Forrester, and also to the widow, in the great loss they had all 
sustained. They could hardly find words to express what one felt, 
but he was sure that what the Bailie had proposed would meet with 
their hearty acceptance. Captain Forrester had done his bit well, 
and he had laid clown his life for his country, as so many more had 
done. Through the exertions of such as he and others, they had 
been saved from invasion, and had been enabled to live in 
comparative comfort and safety. They honoured all such who had 
gone forth as he, and especially they revered the memory of those 
who had laid down their lives that they at home might have peace, 
comparative comfort, and safety. True it was that " Greater love hath 
no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." He 
was sure of this, that they all felt very deeply with their bereaved 
friends and neighbours. It was a great loss to them, and he was 
sure that the community they represented also deeply sympathised 
with them. He expressed the hope, in which he was sure they all 
that night concurred, that Almighty God, their Heavenly Father, would 
give them His peace and comfort, and be their sustainer in this time 
of sore bereavement and trouble. He rose to support the motion, and 


he was sure that it was the feeling of every heart there that their 
sympathy should go out to those who were so sadly bereaved. The 
motion was unanimously agreed to. 

Lavish of love, the service by him given 
Can oft-times only be appraised by Heaven. 
No dole gives he from store of hoarded pelf; 
No! When the Doctor gives, he gives himself. 

And what reward reaps he for duty done ? 
What honour his for victory nobly won ? 
A victory mayhap, wrested in the strife 
At cost of victor's health or very life. 

But naught the soldier doctor can disturb, 
Nor his devotion, loyal-hearted, curb ; 
Such life and work empedestal him higher, 
Than greatest honour to which men aspire. 

For him no title proud, nor gilded rank; 
Not his the piled-up wealth of scrip or bank; 
His not the clamour and the loud acclaim 
Of great achievement and of world-wide fame. 

But his the enshrinement in the human heart, 

As one who bravely, nobly, bore his part ; 

His guerdon-crown, at setting of the sun — 

The Great Physician's welcome word — ''Well DONE!" 





94. private James 1boi*sbur<$b. 

1Rov>al Scots. 

1916 — November 20. 

A YOUNG lady showed to Mrs Horsburgh, mother of Private JAMES 
HORSBURGH, a letter of which she was in receipt. It came from a 
soldier friend, and part of its contents referred to the falling" of his 
chum, James Horsburgh, on the 20th November. The writer of the 
letter promised further details when more composed, and undertook to 
send along the few belongings of Private Horsburgh. 

The deceased's father, the late William Horsburgh, was shepherd 
at Horsburgh Hope for fifteen years, and died in 1911. Private 
Horsburgh was also a shepherd, at Chapelhill, and was aged 22. He 
was a fine strapping likeable young fellow. He enlisted with the 
Royal Scots on 15th May IQ [ 5, and went to the front on 28th August 
1916, with the draft of the Royal Scots which experienced so many 
casualties. He had another brother fighting in France. 

" Oh, shepherd, shepherd, you must know 

The Son of God himself was born 

In a poor stable long ago 

On such another winter's morn!" 

My boy and I in other years 

Together watched our hillside fold, 

But he was young, and I am old. . . . 

To-day God sees a mother's tears, 

Who knew a Father's pride and loss 

Between that stable and the Cross. 



Nurse Bessie Stevenson. 


95. IRursc Elisabeth Isabella Stevenson. 

1916 — November 28. 

NURSE BESSIE STEVENSON died of typhoid fever at Oshawa Hospital, 
Ontario, Canada, on Tuesday, 28th November 1916. 

She belonged to Peebles, being a daughter of Mr and Mrs Robert 
Stevenson, 22 George Place, Peebles. Her death, so far away from 
home and relatives, was under the saddest circumstances. These, 
however, were relieved by the kindness of the Board of Governors, 
who ordered that everything that could be clone to save her life, or 
to make her last days as comfortable as possible, should be done. 
Although specialists from Toronto were twice called in, and although 
she had the services of two trained nurses, the young nurse passed 
away as stated above. The Board provided generously for her 
funeral, and though her acquaintance was not extended, the flower 
offerings proved that she had many warm friends in Oshawa. 

"We are all feeling very badly, as Bessie proved herself a most 
capable nurse, and was doing so well. She was considered by all 
the surgeons to be a most thorough surgical nurse, and we are simply 
broken-hearted to see her so ill." " You have lost a good faithful 
daughter, one you had every reason to be proud of. We loved her 
dearly, she had such a bright cheerful disposition, and she was such 
a capable nurse. She had completed her surgical training with flying 
colours, and gave promise of carrying off the honours at her 
graduation." " Miss Stevenson won my heart at once. Our little one 
showed the true nurse in her anxiety to give comfort to her patients. 
. . . It is very sad. She has no relatives here, and her mother 
will be heart-broken. . . . Much sympathy to you all in the loss 
of one of your dearest and truest nurses." 

Her brother, Sergeant Adam R. Stevenson, fell at Loos on 26th 
September 1915. 

We in the busy ward 
Stay not to dream; for God has closed our eyes 
Lest, fronted by your giant sacrifice, 

O brothers, maimed and pale, 
The hearts that seek to serve you faint and fail! 
We, handmaids of your pain, pass onward 
And speak not of your glory; God has hung 
His silence on our lips, lest praises sung 

Scare your mirth-makings, 
And break your happy talk of trivial things. 


This be our sacrifice, 
You who have given all for one great Dream! 
Steadfast, enduring at the sober task 

Of days and nights that seem 
Grey-winged and glamourless — we will not ask 
For flashing visions of an earlier day; 
And — if it serve you, brothers — dreamless be our way! 

Hither have brought us 
Those years wherein we chased the flying moon, 
Sought the blue roses, sailed the seas of June — 

Into this quiet shade 
Where Vision sleeps, and Youth to rest is laid. 
Through song and laughter, through the woods of Spring 

(Our youth had taught us) 
We came with dancing step and lute playing 

Most tender-sweet, 
Only for this — to kneel and wash your feet. 

O Sacrament unguessed beside the lowly bed! 

Not you, not you alone 
Wait on our care. Perchance there waiteth One 

(And yet we cannot see) 
Who for our sake hath walked among the dead; 
Whose feet His daughters wash, as once in Bethany. 

Yet, if He will, 
His hand be on our eyes, that we go sightless still. 



There is a hill in Scotland, 
Green fields and a school I know, 

Where the balls fly fast in summer, 
And the whispering elm-trees grow. 

A little hill, a dear hill, 
And the playing fields below. 

There is a hill in Flanders 
Heaped with a thousand slain, 

Where the shells fly night and noontide 
And the ghosts that died in vain. 

A little hill, a hard hill, 
To the souls that died in pain. 

There is a hill in Jewry, 

Three crosses pierce the sky, 

On the midmost He is dying 
To save all those who die. 

A little hill, a kind hill 
To souls in jeopardy. 





96. Sergeant Hrcbibalfc jfrencfo. 

IRogal Scots. 

1916 — December I. 

A LETTER from a Lieutenant at the front reached Mrs French, residing 
at 56 Temple Park Crescent, Edinburgh, conveying the news that her 
husband, Sergeant ARCHIBALD FRENCH, of the Royal Scots, had been 
killed in action in France on the 1st December 1916, at the battle of 
the Somme. 

He was a son of Walter French, Cross Road, Peebles. His wife 
was a daughter of Andrew D. Cairncross, Peebles, who had also five 
sons in the war. Sergeant French left a family of six. Some weeks 
previously his boy, Private Walter French, had gained the Military 

Sergeant French was a tailor in Peebles, and had been working 
in Edinburgh. At the outbreak of war he was one of the brave men 
who left home, wife, and family to keep back the ravaging Hun from 
them. He had seen fighting in Egypt as well as in France, and had 
not been on leave for about eighteen months, but was looking forward 
to getting home at Christmas. 

And if the crown is death, 
Death while I'm fighting tor my home and King, 
Thank God ! the son who drew from you his breath 

To death could bring 
A not entirely worthless sacrifice, 
Because of those brief months when life meant more 
Than selfish pleasures. Grudge not then the price, 
But say — " Our country in the storm of war 
Has found him fit to fight and die for her." 


Private Andrew Hogarth. 


97. private Hnbrew Iboijartb. 

TRogal Scots. 

1916— December 14. 

IT was reported that Private ANDREW HOGARTH, of the Royal Scots, 
a brother of the Misses Hogarth, St Michael's Buildings, Peebles, had 
been dangerously wounded in the head, and was lying in No. 12 
Casualty Clearing Station, France. He joined the Army on 18th 
March 1916, was only 21 years of age, and formerly worked in 
Tweedside Mill. 

The following letter, dated 15th December 1916, was first received 
by Miss Hogarth: — "I am very sorry to say your brother died 
yesterday. He was worse all day, and passed away quite peacefully. 
I do not know if your name is ' Peggy,' but he often mentioned that 
name. Everything possible was done for him by the surgeon 
specialist and sister, and you have my deepest sympathy." Miss 
Hogarth also received the following official wire from the Record 
Office, Hamilton: — "Much regret to inform you that your brother, 
43601 Private A. Hogarth, Royal Scots, died 14th December, from 
gunshot penetrating the head." 

Private Hogarth's eldest brother, Corporal John Hogarth, Cameron 
Highlanders, was wounded three times. 

You heard the guns. Then, to their distant fire, 
Your dreams were laid aside. 

You gave your service to the exalted need, 

Until at last from bondage freed, 
At liberty to serve as you loved best, 
You chose the noblest way. God did the rest. 




Corporal David J. Anderson. 




Corporal Bavio 3- Hnoerson. 

Ibigblanb Xfgbt Jnfantrg. 

19 1 6 — December 16. 

DIED of wounds, at 45 Clearing Station, France, on the 16th December 
1916, Corporal DAVID J. ANDERSON, Highland Light Infantry, in his 
20th year, only son of David and Agnes Anderson, 7 St Andrew's 
Road, Peebles. 

In these few lines, a tragedy of youth — one of many — is recorded. 
And in the same quiet street in the old burgh town, a similar loss 
befell a family of the same name, but a few doors apart. 

David Anderson joined the local Territorial Battalion in January 
1914, before the war, in the happy days when it was glorious fun to 
be a soldier. He was mobilised in August 1914, and proceeded to 
Haddington with the other members of the battalion. He sailed for 
France at the end August of IQl6, being afterwards transferred to the 
Highland Light Infantry, and for the next three and a half months he 
fought in the battle of the Somrae. On the 15th December 1916 
he was wounded in his dug-out by shell ; and died of his wounds 
in the hospital on the following day. 

"It is a matter of great regret to us all that his injuries resulted 
in his death. As an non-commissioned officer I always found him 
highly capable, and eminently trustworthy, but it was especially for 
his unfailing sense of duty and great cheerfulness in the face of 
hardship and danger that he endeared himself to his officers and 
brother non-commissioned officers and men. We all trust that in 
days to come your undoubted sorrow will be tinged with just a 
little pride that your son died on the battlefield for King, country, and 

Yes, they shall return, each one, 
Every lover, every son; 
There shall be no empty place 
As the armies march apace, 
Though we recognise them not 
In their garments angel-wrought. 

For, with tear-dimmed vision, we 
Only see mortality; 
Only see the stain of war 

Where is laid the hero-star. 
In pure linen, white and clean, 
They shall pass, our dear Unseen. 

Down the street they used to know, 
With a noiseless step and slow, 
Striving, perhaps, our ears to reach 
With their newly learned speech. 
Grief shall close each eye, each ear, 
That we see them not, nor hear. 




Sapper Andrew Barron. 


99. Sapper Hnfcrew Barron. 

IRo^al Engineers. 

1917 — January I. 

IT was early in the New Year of 1917 that Mrs Barron, who resided 
with her two children at Bridgehouse Terrace, Peebles, received a 
letter from her husband's officer. It stated that Sapper ANDREW 
BARRON, on New Year's Day, was sitting with a few of his comrades 
in their dug-out at a rest camp, when at its mouth an enemy shell 
exploded. The power of the concussion killed Sapper Barron as he 
sat, without leaving a mark on him. This was at Laventie. 

He was an Edinburgh man, and worked at Peebles Hydropathic. 
He went through many engagements, his first experience being in 

"Your husband was extremely popular with all ranks. In Egypt 
and in France he could always be depended upon to do his duty 
cheerfully and well, under very trying circumstances, in the various 
battles we have taken part in. It may be a little consolation to you 
to know that his death was instantaneous." 

Beyond the church whose pitted spire 
Seems balanced on a strand of swaying stone and tottering brick 

Two roofless ruins stand. 
And here behind the wreckage where the back wall should have been 

We found a garden green. 

So all among the vivid blades 
Of soft and tender grass we lay, nor heard the limber wheels 

That pass and ever pass 
In noisy continuity, until their stony rattle 
Seems in itself a battle. 
— Home Thoughts in Laventie. 

I shall hear you speaking in my ear — 

O not the old, forgivable, foolish talk, 

But flames and exaltations, and desires, 

But hopes, and comprehensions, and resolves, 

But holy, incommunicable things 

That like immortal birds sing in my breast, 

And springing from a fire of sacrifice, 

Beat with bright wings about the throne of God. 





Sapper Andrew Barron's Grave. 


Mr Valiant then said — "I am going to my Father's; 
and though with great difficulty I am got hither, yet now 
I do not repent me of all the trouble I have been at to 
arrive where I am. My sword I give to him that 
shall succeed me in my pilgrimage, and my courage and 
skill to him that can get it. My marks and scars I 
carry with me, to be a witness for me that I have 
fought His battles Who now shall be my Rewarder." 

When the day that he must go hence was come, 
many accompanied him to the riverside, into which, as 
he went, he said — " Death, where is thy sting ? " 

And as he went down deeper he said — "Grave, 
where is thy victory ? " 




Second Lieutenant TOM E. BRYDON. 


100. Seconfc Xieutenant (lorn Ebwarfc) Bn>fcon. 

IRcval Engineers. 

1917 — February I. 

Second Lieutenant Tom Edward Brydon, Royal Engineers, who 
died on 1st February 1917, of wounds received in action near Kut two 
days previously, was in his 29th year. He was the eldest son of the 
late Edward Brydon, tea planter, India, and nephew of Sir Henry and 
Lady Ballantyne, Minden, Peebles. 

Brought up in Peebles from early boyhood, Lieutenant Brydon was 
educated at Peebles Burgh and County High School, and at Watson's 
College, Edinburgh. He then entered the Engineer's Office of the 
North British Railway Company, where he served his apprenticeship, 
and for some time afterwards acted as assistant engineer. Of that 
period the Chief Engineer of the Company writes — " Mr Brydon joined 
the engineering staff of the North British Railway as an apprentice 
engineer on 25th September 1905, and after serving his apprenticeship 
was re-engaged as a junior assistant engineer until 14th November 
1912, when he left this Company's service to take up an engineering 
appointment in Africa. Mr Brydon was a very capable young 
engineer, and was held in high esteem by all those with whom he 
came in contact in a professional capacity. He was also of a very 
agreeable nature, and was ready at all times to enter whole-heartedly 
into the social life of the office, in which he was a general favourite." 

The engineering appointment in Africa referred to was under the 
Colonial Office on the Uganda Railway, where he had charge of work 
in the constructing of bridges, roads, and railway lines, which was 
highly valued by his superiors. Of athletic frame and active 
temperament, life was happily spent in work and sport, which is 
reflected in letters and photographs sent home at regular intervals. 

Shortly after the outbreak of war, Mr Brydon came home on leave, 
and after persistent efforts, having obtained the consent of the 
Colonial Office, received a commission in the Royal Engineers. He 
entered with enthusiasm upon his training as an officer, as he was 
keen to become a good soldier. Early in May of 1916 he was sent 
with a draft to the East, and after a prolonged and trying time of 
waiting was sent to the front, where he so soon received the wound 
which proved fatal. His bright and winning nature made him 
as popular in the Army as he had been in civil life. 

From Mesopotamia, on the day of Lieutenant Brydon's death. 
Captain H. B. W. Hughes, of the 88th Field Company, Royal 



Engineers, thus wrote to Sir Henry Ballantyne — "It was with the 
deepest regret that I heard that your nephew, Second Lieutenant Tom 
E. Brydon, died in hospital to-day, as the result of a wound in the 
stomach received two nights previously. He was most unfortunately 
hit by a chance Turkish bullet while he was at work with his men on 
a barbed wire entanglement at about midnight on the 30/3lst. I 
personally, with all the company, feel his loss very greatly. Not 
only was he a most cheerful member of the mess, but he was a most 
hard working and efficient officer whom it will be hard to replace. 
Our work during the last two months has frequently necessitated 
working all through the night, and I have always found that your 
nephew was ever ready to go out, no matter what the time, nor how 
fatigued he was, and as these operations continue, I know I shall miss 
him more and more." 

So ended a promising career. An eager volunteer, Lieutenant 
Brydon willingly gave himself for his country, and counted not his life 
dear unto him. He lies in the cemetery attached to the hospital near 
the small village of Bassonia, on the banks of the river Hai, about 
six miles south of Kut. A wooden cross, with brass plate attached, 
marked his grave. This cross, a photograph of which is here given, 
was sent to Sir Henry Ballantyne in the remarkable circumstances 
related in the letter below. It is now preserved in Peebles Parish 
Church: — 

46 Cleveland Mansions, 
Maida Vale, 
London, W.9, 30th January 1920. 
Sir H. Ballantyne, 

Peebles, Scotland. 

Dear Sir, 

During the May 1918 operations of our forces in Mesopotamia, near 
Tekrit, I came across a small Arab encampment, and noticed part of a wooden cross 
protruding from under some firewood. The Marash Arab was notorious for desecrating 
our graves, and when I pulled out this cross I found it had a brass plate attached, with 
the following inscription : — " In loving memory of Second Lieutenant T. E. Brydon, R.E. 
Died of wounds, February 1st, 1917. R.I. P." As the spot was at least 370 miles from 
where this officer must have been buried in 1917, I brought the cross away with me, and 
on my arrival home the other day I wrote R.E. Records for address of next of kin. 
If you would wish for this memento of your nephew, I shall be only too pleased to send 
same to you. 

I tried to find out where the officer in question had been buried, but as 
our graves in the Sheik-Land and below Kut area had been robbed of all wooden 
marks of every description, I decided to bring this cross home, being sure that his 
relations would like it— Yours faithfully, T A- starkey, Major, late R.E. 


Their cup of life was full to overflowing, 
All earth had laid its tribute at their feet. 

What harvest might we hope from such a sowing? 
What noonday from a dawning so complete ? 

And I — I watched them working, dreaming, playing, 
Saw their young bodies fit the mind's desire, 

Felt them reach outward, upward, still obeying 
The passionate dictates of their hidden fire. 

Yet here and there some greybeard breathed derision, 
" Too much of luxury, too soft an age ! 

Your careless Galahads will see no vision, 

Your knights will make no mark on honour's page.' ! 

No mark? Go ask the broken fields in Flanders, 
Ask the great dead who watched in ancient Troy. 

Ask the old moon, as round the world she wanders, 
What of the men who were my hope and joy ? 

They are but fragments of Imperial splendour, 
Handfuls of might amid a mighty host, 

Yet I, who saw them go with proud surrender, 
May surely claim to love them first and most. 

They who had all, gave all. Their half-writ story 
Lies in the empty halls they knew so well, 

But they, the knights of God, shall see His glory, 
And find the Grail ev'n in the fire of hell. 


The Cross which marked Lieutenant Brydon's Grave. 



Private William H. Davies. 


10 1. private Militant Ibcnrv. Davies. 

Scottish IRiflcs. 

1917— March 1. 

MRS DAVIES, Newby Court, Peebles, was notified that her husband, 
Private WILLIAM HENRY DAVIES, had died on the 1st March 1917, in 
France, from exhaustion following exposure. He was 40 years of age, 
and a native of Glasgow. He had a brother killed in the war in 
July 1916, and the only surviving brother was in the Australians. 

Private Davies was a painter, and joined up in April 1916. He 
was home on furlough in December 1916, after which he was sent to 
France. He left seven children. 

It is too late now to retrieve 
A fallen dream, too late to grieve 
A name unmade, but not too late 
To thank the gods for what is great; 
A keen-edged sword, a soldier's heart, 
Is greater than a poet's art; 
And greater than a poet's fame 
A little grave that has no name. 



1914 STAR. 

Lance-Corporal James SCOTT. 
fllMHtavv flDe&al. 


102. Xancodorporal James Scott. 

/IDilitavv flBebal. 

Cameron 1bigblan&ers. 

1917— March 12. 
IN March 1917 Mrs John Scott, I Venlaw Court, received a message 
from the Hamilton Records Office, stating that her grandson, Lance- 
Corporal JAMES SCOTT, Cameron Highlanders, had been wounded, 
and was lying in No. 42 Casualty Clearing Station, France. A week 
later, a second official message reached Mrs Scott to the following 
effect: — "Regret to report that 7672 Lance-Corporal J. Scott, Cameron 
Highlanders, died of wounds." Later information gave the date of 
death as I2th March. 

The news was received with much regret in town, for Lance- 
Corporal Scott was both popular and well known in Peebles. He hao 1 
the personal attractions of a thorough soldier, and these were enhanced 
by his training in the Regular Army. He was only 27 years of age 
when he fell, so that he was quite young when he enlisted in the 
Cameron Highlanders. He served the regulation period, and his 
reserve time was still running when war broke out in 1914, and he 
was recalled to his regiment. He died with the glory of being one 
of the remnant of the Cameron Highlanders who took their part in 
heroically stemming the Hun hordes in their first on-rush. He saw 
much of the life and death of the battlefield, and much of the 
hardship. On these matters, however, he was amongst the most 
silent of men. This is shown by the fact that although he had been 
awarded the Military Medal, yet he would never mention, even to his 
relatives, the reason for it being awarded to him. From information 
obtained from others, however, they believe it was awarded for saving 
the life of a superior officer. Lance-Corporal Scott was also recom- 
mended for the Distinguished Conduct Medal. 

Lance-Corporal Scott was a Peebles man. In his teens he was 
an apprentice grocer with the late John Henderson, Eastgate, and 
afterwards entered the employment of the late John Muirman, jobbing 
gardener. His body was buried in Aubigny Communal Cemetery, two 
miles east of Besles, nine miles north-west of Arras. 

But though their task on earth be done, 

Their brothers shall battle on, 
Ay, as at Ypres they held the Hun, 

Though the last of hope seemed gone. 
Till, bright as gold on our banner's fold 

The sun of victory shone. 



Major Frederick E. Thornton. 


103. flDajor f rebelled £fc)warfc Thornton. 

IRogal Scots ffusiliers (transferreB to Jn&ian Hrmg.) 

191 7 — March 25. 

INFORMATION reached Peebles in the closing days of March IQ17, that 
Major F. E. THORNTON, of the Indian Army, had been killed in 
action in Mesopotamia, on the 25th March. 

Major Frederick Edward Thornton was the eldest of the four sons 
of the Rev. Canon Thornton, LP., and Mrs Thornton, of Shudy Camps 
Hall, Cambridgeshire. He was educated in Mr Toye's House at 
Wellington College, whence he entered the Royal Military College, 
Sandhurst. In 1899 he was gazetted to the Royal Scots Fusiliers, 
many of his ancestors being of Scottish descent. In this regiment he 
was very popular, and served with great success for fifteen years. 
Shortly before the war, he exchanged into the Indian Army, and was 
attached to the 105th Mahratta Light Infantry. In 191 5 he was sent 
as second in command with his regiment to join the British Expedi- 
tionary Force in Mesopotamia. He took a very prominent part in 
the fighting around Rut. Hence this Division worked north-east of 
Kut towards the Jebel Hamrin Ridge. 

An interesting account of the fighting before Kut in 1917 is 
contained in the following letter from Major Thornton :— 

"On 18th December we were in the trenches, and from that day 
to 16th January we were constantly under fire. If it was not bullet 
dodging, it was shell dodging, and we became pretty expert at it. 
All this digging and sapping was not done, of course, without 
casualties. We had some every day, increasing in number the 
nearer we got to the Turkish lines. Night was turned into day. No 
one could for a moment have lived in the fire which we should have 
drawn upon us if we had dug during the clay. This went on for 
about two days before the big attack. Then we were taken out for 
a rest, but the night before the attack we were put back into the 
trenches, ready for the next morning. 

" It was a very misty morning. Yon could hardly see anything. 
Eight lines of men were cooped up in two not over-broad trenches. 
We tried to eat some breakfast, but I don't think there was one of 
us who did not wonder whether it would be the last or not. At 
eight o'clock a bombardment started, and continued till a quarter to 
nine. Then it became more intense. At two minutes to nine we 
went over the parapet. 

" Once started, one did not seem to notice anything, and was far 



too busy keeping things going to notice whether there were bullets or 
shells flying about. The time before you start is where the nasty 

part comes in. Poor H was hit through both legs before he had 

gone twenty yards. That was a loss, because he was in charge of 
one of the bombing parties. The mist was so thick that I could not 
see what was going on ahead, or how our guns kept their fire in front 
of us. Then we met a lot of Turks who had surrendered, and small 
wonder. I would not have been a Turk for anything on that day. 

'' We got into and went up a Turkish trench a bit, and then 
turned to our right. Here the slaughter was awful. Some of the 
Turks who had got into their dug-outs during the bombardment 
jumped out and fought us. Others remained inside them, and when 
we had passed started shooting us from behind. But once discovered 
they got short shrift. We finally reached our objective and started 
to dig ourselves in. We had captured two machine guns. Subadar 

C captured the first one by a very brave deed. The gun was 

being fired at the time. He and two men went straight for it. C — 
shot the men firing it. The others were killed somehow, and then the 
gun was sent back to safety. The second was a very tame affair, as 
I found it in a dug-out with no one near. 

"On the second day the Colonel and I had a narrow squeak. 
We were standing up about one and a half yards apart, with our 
backs to the firing, having some breakfast. A shell came right 
between our heads and burst on a bank three yards ahead of us. We 
were both knocked down by the explosion. I had a cup in my hand, 
but where that went I don't know. On that day we pushed on 
another 500 yards by means of bombing. 

"The third day was a beast, and fifty times worse than the first. 
The Turks had been absolutely cornered by this time. At the same 
time, they had been strongly reinforced. Our regiment was holding 
the front line trenches, but owing to our knocking about on the first 
two days, another regiment and part of a third did the attack, while 
we supported them. Bullets and shells buzzed all round. How it 
was I never got hit beats me altogether. 

"We were another five days there after that unsuccessful attack, 
digging, sapping, creeping gradually up to the Turk again, and then 
he bolted one night. That is how the Turks were cleared off that 
portion of the Tigris bank. We were then sent with a whole brigade 
back to rest — for a good one, they said. This meant two days' hard 
work for me, making returns, &c- Suddenly a wire comes, and off we 
go again. We are now about two miles south-west of Kut. 

"Our men fought like a lot of cats those three days. Nothing 
seemed to stop them. They were simply splendid. They said 
afterwards they loved killing Turks. Still, they are most extraordinary 


people. They get a Turkish prisoner, and he has only to mention 
that he is cold, and they will give him all the blankets they have. 
They must have done well, at any rate, for not only did our Divisional 
Commander congratulate us, but after the show both the Corps 
Commander and the Commander-in-Chief of the Forces came to our 
camp and congratulated us." 

During the above battle Major Thornton was concerned in a most 
conspicuous act of bravery, on which his Field-Marshal personally 
congratulated him, and for which he was recommended for the 
Distinguished Service Order. 

In the following March, on the 25th, whilst in command of the 
regiment owing to the illness of the Colonel, Major Thornton, when 
engaged with the Turks in an action at Jebel Hamrin, exposed 
himself rather recklessly by looking over the top of a hillock to gain 
a view of the exact position of the enemy. He was hit by a rifle 
bullet in the forehead, which went clean through his head, killing him 
instantaneously. For some reason it was impossible to remove his 
body then, and afterwards, when a search party went over the ground, 
the body could not be found. His parents hoped that the Turks 
might have dealt kindly with it and given it decent burial. 

A late Colonel of the Royal Scots Fusiliers wrote concerning him 
"A more loyal, capable, and conscientious officer I have never 
served with, and to me the loss is that of a very great and warm- 
hearted friend." 

In 1914 Major Thornton married Gertrude, the youngest daughter 
of the late Sir Walter and Lady Thorburn, of Peebles. 

Two of Major Thornton's brothers have taken part in the war — 
Major B. M. Thornton, of the 2nd Battalion Seaforth Highlanders, and 
Archibald C. Thornton, who was attached to the Canadian Contingent,, 
and was killed in action near Armentieres and buried at Bailleul. 

If I die to-morrow 

I shall go happily, 
With the flush of battle on my face. 
I shall walk with an eager pace 

The road I cannot see. 

You will not hear the shouting, 

You will not see the pride, 
Only with tortured memory 
Remember what I used to be. 

And dream of how I died. 

You will see gloom and horror 

But never the joy of fight; 
You'll dream of me in pain and fear, 
And in your dreaming never hear 

My voice across the night. 


My voice that sounds so gaily 

Will be too far away 
For you to see across your dream 
The charging and the bayonet's gleam, 

Or hear the words I say. 

And parted by the warders 

That hold the gates of sleep 

I shall be dead and happy 

And you will live and weep. 


The Fateful 9th of April. 

SIX soldiers connected with Peebles fell on the 9th of April. They 
were Alastair Buchan, Douglas Cairncross, John Trench, Charles 
Steele, Charles Bush, Robert Horsburgh. One fell on nth April, 
James H. Arrol. One on 1 2th April, Duncan Adam. 

The 9th of April 1917 was the date of the beginning of the battle 
of Arras. The city of Arras lay within a mile inside of the British 
lines. The British front of attack was a little over twelve miles long. 
Thirty-eight Scots Battalions were destined to go over the parapets. 
On Wednesday, the 4th April, the British guns awoke along the whole 
sector. The preparation was intense until Sunda)' the 8th April. 
Zero hour was 5.30 on the morning of Easter Monday. Our men 
went over the parapets. Within forty minutes all the enemy's first 
position had been captured, and our men were moving steadily against 
the second. On the left wing the Canadians with a bound reached 
the crest of Vimy and swarmed on the tableland. Before 9 o'clock 
all Vimy Ridge was ours, except its northern corner and Hill 145. 
In half an hour more the whole German second position had fallen 
except a short length west of Bailleul. In wild weather, on Tuesday, 
10th April, the Canadians carried Hill 145, and with it gained the 
whole of Vimy Ridge. Next day, nth April, in a snowstorm, Monchy 
was carried. Wednesday, nth April, marked the close of the first 
stage of the battle of Arras. 


Lieutenant Alastair Buchan. 


104. Xieutenant Hlastair Bucban. 

IRovjal Scot6 jfusiliers. 

1917 — April 9. 

ALASTAIR BUCHAN was the youngest son of the late Rev. John 
Buchan, of Glasgow. He had just taken his degree at Glasgow 
University when war broke out, and he enlisted in the 6th Cameron 
Highlanders along with many other men of his year. In February 
1915 he got his commission in the Royal Scots Fusiliers, and went out 
to France in December. He was wounded in February 1916. In 
December of that j^ear he returned to France, and was killed on 
Easter Monday, 1917. while leading his company into action at the 
battle of Arras. Before he fell he knew the day was won, and that 
his splendid Division had maintained their great record. At the aid 
post he was so cheery that the men who saw him thought that his 
wounds were slight, and wrote home that he would soon be in Blighty. 
But his wounds were mortal, and when, at five o'clock in the afternoon, 
they carried him into the Casualty Clearing Station nothing could be 
done. Kind hands did what they could to ease him, and he smiled 
at the doctor and nurse, and said he was " quite all right." He died 
in about an hour. He lies in a little graveyard on a bit of moorland 
that might be Leadburn, and round him lie many other "kindly 

The most remarkable thing about Alastair Buchan was his gift for 
winning affection. If life is but one chance of gaining love then his 
twenty-two years were well spent. A man who knew him at Glasgow 
University wrote — "There was no man in his year at college more 
generally beloved than Alastair. ... I have never met anyone 
more honourable, more careless of spending himself for others, more 
fearless of fighting any ugly injustice than he was." 

His men loved him. In one of his letters he said — "There's a 
decent wee lad in my platoon who heard me say that my dug-out was 
draughty, and he went and filled in all the cracks with sand-bags and 
made a shutter for the window." And again^- " There are two 
Corporals in my company that I love. They form my body-guard, 
and every time I fall into a shell-hole or dodge a crump, you can hear 
them shout, 'Are ye hurt, Mr Buchan?'" 

His brother officers loved him. One of them (since dead) wrote 

"He kept us all up, for he was the only one whose spirits never 

went down. He was the Happy Warrior, if ever there was one. I 

don't like to say he was my great friend, but he was my hero, and I 

hung on his words." 


From a Brother Officer in France. — "Dear brave old Alastair has 
gone to join the Grenfells and Brookes and the other splendid heroes. 
How hard it must be for you to part with him. But what beautiful 
memories he leaves behind him! If only we could see through our 
tears, we would see the triumphal march of his great young soul 

through the Valley of the Shadow to the Celestial Country 

What would 1 not give to leave such a fragrant garland of memories 
behind me when my time comes, as he did." 

From a Senior Officer in France. — "I have often thought of you 
since I heard that Alastair's splendid Division might be in the big 
operations. But when the blow came I found that it was a heavy 
personal blow to me too, for he was a splendid, attractive lad — the 
Happy Warrior, if ever there was one. I suppose he was doing the 
very best work possible to one of his years — the capable and gallant 
leading of men in battle and watching and caring for them behind the 
very front. I could see at a glance that he was the right man in the 
right place, and I know what his Colonel thought of him — the very 
highest possible. He was just what one would like to see grow out 
of the little boy in the kilt that I sat next at John's wedding, and the 
shy bright-eyed schoolboy who came over to Broadmeadows with 
Willie. Which reminds me of another loss. But what better lives 
have been led than these two? Willie and Alastair were lovely and 
pleasant in their lives, and the good they did by work and example 
will never die." 

From his Captain in the 6th Royal Scots Fusiliers. — " I took to him 
the very first day I saw him. . . . He was a dear fellow; quiet, 
unassuming, yet vastly superior to his neighbours for all his quiet 
demeanour. I feel sure that in his new battalion he was as much 
loved as in his old one, and that they all mourn him just as his old 
friends the 6th will do." 

From Mr Winston Churchill (Colonel of the 6th Royal Scots Fusiliers J. 
"It is with very great regret indeed that I read your brother's name 
in the casualty list. ... I remember thinking when he was 
wounded a year ago that it would be a relief to you to have him 
safely home again. But this war is remorseless in its prolongation. 
He was a very charming and gallant young officer — simple, 
conscientious, and much liked by his comrades. I knew him well 
enough to understand how great his loss must be to those who knew 
him better, and to those who knew him best of all." 

From the Chaplain. — "He will be much missed in the Battalion, in 
which he was deservedly popular. His influence among officers and 
men was all to the good. On Good Friday I arranged a service for 
his company, and he did all he could to help me, and was present 
himself. My most vivid memory of that service is the picture of your 


son joining heartily in the hymn, 'When I survey the wondrous 
Cross.' He was standing just at my left hand. I suppose that was 
the last service he was at, and I thought it might be some comfort to 
you to know this, and that I believe he was ready to meet his Maker 
for Whose cause he was so soon to give his life, filling up what was 
behind of the sufferings of Christ." 

From Colonel Gordon, of the 6'jth Royal Scots Fusiliers. — "It was a 
most painful surprise when I heard by mere chance on Monday of your 
brother's death, for, by some oversight, we were not informed by the 
Casualty Clearing Station of his death, and I had been congratulating 
myself that he had got a comparatively slight wound and was 
perfectly safe. It was a terrible revulsion to hear this rumour of his 
death, and I could not believe it until I had sent out an officer at 
once, who saw the nurse, who remembered all the circumstances 
clearly. . . . He was a most excellent fellow, and a thoroughly 
reliable and really good officer. As I told you in London last month, 
I promoted him to Lieutenant specially over the heads of others, not 
because he was John Buchan's brother, but because he was Alastair 
Buchan, a capable officer. During the bombardment before the battle 
he had occasion to send me reports, and ask questions about 
equipment, &c, and various preparations in connection with the attack, 
and in every case I just thought to myself as I read these reports or 
answered the questions — 'Now, that really is a thoroughly reliable 
officer, and it is a great blessing to know that he is commanding this 
company.' Those were my honest feelings about him. I shall 
always remember him as I saw him last, about 4.45 A.M., on 9th April, 
as I left my dug-out to go round his company for the last time. I 
shook hands with him and wished him good luck — a Scottish gentleman 
and officer." 

In a letter received on 10th April, Alastair wrote — "I will be in 
command of the company for a short time now. Things may be 
happening soon, but don't worry about me. I was just thinking last 
night what a good time I have had all round, and what a lot of 
happiness I have had. Even the sad parts are almost a comfort 

At a special meeting of the Town Council of Peebles, held on 
the 16th April 191 7, Provost Forrester, seconded by Bailie Phillips, 
moved — "That the Town Council, having learned with the deepest 
regret of the death in action of Lieutenant Alastair Buchan, which 
took place in France on the 9th inst., express their profoundest 
sympathy with the mother, with Mr J. Walter Buchan, and with the 
other members of the family." In submitting the motion, Provost 
Forrester said that Lieutenant Buchan was one of those young men 
who had to all appearance a great future before him. He had 



completed his education with distinction at Glasgow University. 
When war broke out he offered his services, and he had been for 
fully two years taking an active part in the military operations of 
his country. The great battle of Arras, which brought so much 
glory to the British arms, also brought the profoundest sorrow to 
many hearts at home. On no one would this blow fall so heavily 
as on Lieutenant Buchan's widowed mother, Mrs Buchan, of the 
Bank House. All of them felt deeply for her; for this was one of 
the greatest sorrows of the many sorrows that she had had to pass 
through, and their sympathy was extended to her most sincerely. 
To their town clerk, Mr James Walter Buchan, he thought all of 
them would extend the same sympathy as they were extending to 
the mother. This would also go out towards Miss Buchan, his sister, 
and to Colonel John Buchan, to all of whom they wished to express 
by this minute their feelings of condolence at this terrible loss which 
they had sustained through the death of their youngest son and 

The following lines were sent to Alastair's mother by a private 
soldier who stood by his grave at Arras on Christmas morning, 1917 : — 


Laddie that sought the glory 

Of God, and your country too, 
I bend at your grave — not in pity: 

In sorrow — but not for you. 
The hills of the South are misty, 

The Tweed sings a song of lament, 
While your folk walk quiet and broken, 

And a mother sits weeping and bent. 

Yet they ask not that they should recover 

The gift that to Honour they gave — 
That you should ride back from the venture 

Leading your gallant brave. 
Content they to live in the largesse 

Bequeathed of your dreamful mind, 
That left no will but goodwill, 

And that to all mankind. 

Dear boy, when this long night is over 

And Liberty's walls are rebuilt, 
Surely April flowers will be fairer 

In the fields were your blood was spilt : 
And children shall play 'neath the green trees, 

Rich valleys with gold will dance, 
Because you gave to Freedom 

Your soul — and your dust to France. 



FORTY years on when afar and asunder 

Parted are those who are singing to-day, 
When you look back and forgetfully wonder 

What you were like in your work and your play; 
Then it may be there will often come o'er you 

Glimpses of notes like the catch of a song — 
Visions of boyhood shall float them before you, 

Echoes of dreamland shall bear them along. 

Routs and discomfitures, rushes and rallies, 

Bases attempted, and rescued, and won, 
Strife without anger, and art without malice, 

How will it seem to you, forty years on ? 
Then you will say, not a feverish minute 

Strained the weak heart and the wavering knee, 
Never the battle raged hottest, but in it 

Neither the last nor the faintest were we! 

Oh! the great days in the distance enchanted, 

Days of fresh air, in the rain and the sun ; 
How we rejoiced as we struggled and panted, 

Hardly believable, forty years on ! 
How we discoursed of them, one with another, 

Auguring triumph, or balancing fate; 
Loved the ally with the heart of a brother, 

Hated the foe with a playing at hate. 

Forty years on, growing older and older, 

Shorter in wind as in memory long, 
Feeble of foot and rheumatic of shoulder, 

What will it help you that once you were strong? 
God give us bases to guard our beleaguer, 

Games to play out — whether earnest or fun; 
Fights for the fearless and goals for the eager, 

Twenty and Thirty and Forty years on. 
Follow up, follow up, follow up, follow up, 

Till the field ring again and again 

With the tramp of the twenty-two men — 
Follow up. 





105. private 2>ciuilas Cairncross. 

IRoval Scots. 

1917 — April 9. 

THIS gallant soldier was one of the heroic band of Peebles apprentices 
who, like the 'Prentice Boys of Londonderry, saved the town, but they 
also saved the Empire. He was one of a series of five apprentices 
with John Crichton, butcher, in the High Street, who all went to the 
war, and who all fell. In the pre-war days, now so far away, one 
had no thought of the heroism lying latent in the hearts of those 
young boys. They rode along the streets of the old burgh town like 
young Mercurys on their bicycles, with bags slung over their necks, 
and baskets in front, turning precarious corners, rushing down 
treacherous braes, merrily whistling on their way, and chaffing, joking, 
and endangering the lieges with merry hearts. 

The storm burst; and the 'Prentice Boys were the first to offer 
themselves. Their mothers, with moist eyes and proud hearts, girded 
their sons for the front, and prayed for their return. 

Of such was Douglas Cairncross. But with him it could not be 
otherwise; for here is the record of the family of his father, Andrew 
D. Cairncross, 10 Old Town, Peebles, who had six sons serving as 
soldiers in the war: — Sergeant Andrew Cairncross, 8th Royal Scots; 
Private Archibald Cairncross, Black Watch ; Private Douglas 
Cairncross, 8th Royal Scots; Sapper Robert Cairncross, Royal 
Engineers; Private Thomas Cairncross, Canadian Contingent; Private 
William Cairncross, 8th Royal Scots. Mr Cairncross had also a son- 
in-law serving - - Sergeant Archibald French, Royal Scots, and a 
grandson, Private Walter French, Military Medal, Royal Scots. 

If the crown is death, 
Death while I'm fighting for my home and King, 
Thank God, the son who drew from you his breath 

To death could bring 
A not entirely worthless sacrifice, 
Because of these brief months when life meant more 
Than selfish pleasures. Grudge not then the price, 
But say — "Our country in the storm of war 
Has found him fit to fight and die for her," 
And lift your head in pride for evermore. 





106. private Cbarlcs IReifc Steele. 

TRovjal Scots. 

1917— April 9. 
ON the 9th April 1917 (Easter Monday), Private CHARLES REID 
STEELE, Royal Scots, aged 29, sixth son of George Steele, Caledonian 
Cottages, Peebles, was killed in action at Arras. He was born in 
Peebles, and served his apprenticeship as a painter. He had been in 
the employment of the Lochgelly Coal Company as a painter for six 
years, and was unmarried. In February 1916 he enlisted in the Fife 
and Forfar Yeomanry, but on going to France was transferred to the 
Royal Scots. 

He was one of five brothers on active service — Matthew, Lieutenant 
in the Royal Field Artillery, whose battery (a unit of the First 
Expeditionary Force) was the first to cross the Channel; Tom and 
Robert Jardine, both bombardiers in the Royal Field Artillery; and 
William, of the Lovat Scouts, invalided at the Dardanelles. 

Courage came to you with your boyhood's grace 

Of ardent life and limb, 
Each day new dangers steeled you to the test 

To ride, to climb, to swim, 
Your hot blood taught you carelessness of death 

With every breath. 

So when you went to play another game 

You could not but be brave ; 
An Empire's team — a rougher football field, 

The end, perhaps your grave. 
What matter? On the winning of a goal 

You staked your soul. 





107. {private 3obn French. 

JBlacft lUatcLi. 

1 91 7 — April 9. 

MRS DODDS, 12 School Brae, whose husband, Private John Dodds, 
was at the front with the Royal Scots, received official intimation, 
that her son by her former marriage, Private JOHN TRENCH, had been 
killed in action in France on 9th April. There were no further 
details. Private Trench, who was 23 years of age, worked in March 
Street Mills before enlisting in the Black Watch about the end of 

Christ-like they died that we might live, 
And our redeemed lives we would bring, 
With aught that gratitude may give, 
To serve you in your sorrowing. 

And never a pathway shall ye tread, 
No foot of seashore, hill, or lea, 
But ye may think — "The Dead, my Dead, 
Gave this, a sacred gift, to me!'' 





108. private IRobert ICUlliam Iborsburgb, 

©or&on Ibtgblanbers. 

1917— April 9. 

KILLED in action at Arras, on the 9th April, ROBERT WILLIAM 
HORSBURGH, aged 21, elder son of William and Christina Horsburgh, 
of 7 Station Road, Woodside, Aberdeen, and grandson of James 
Henderson, Athole Cottage, Peebles. 

On this day there was a British attack on a big front from Lens 
to St Quentin. There were considerable successes. Canadian troops 
took Vimy Ridge. 9000 prisoners were captured. 

You wore courage as you wore your youth, 

With carelessness and joy. 
But in what Spartan school of discipline 

Did you get patience, boy? 
How did you learn to bear this long-drawn pain, 

And not complain? 




109. private Cbarles IRobert Busb. 

IRogal Scots jfusilters. 

1917 — April 9. 

Private Charles Robert Bush was one of those brave men 

verging towards middle life who fought and found a grave in Egypt. 
Little did he think in pre-war days that he would one day live in 
Egypt, fight in Egypt, and never return from that land of mystery. 

He was a vanman by profession, and had worked with a large 
bakery firm in Edinburgh. He had also been a grocer and vanman 
with the Ayrshire Market Company in Selkirk, and later had been 
employed in a large dairy at Churchhill, Edinburgh. He enlisted in 
the month of May 1916, and fell in the fighting around Samson's 
town of Gaza, on the 9th of April 1 917. He was aged 34 years, and 
was the son of Joseph Bush, formerly coachman at Glenormiston, 
and now resident at 72 High Street, Peebles. 

It is satisfying to all who knew Private Bush to remember that as a 
result of the fighting in which he lost his life, the British gained a 
great victory over the Turks a few days later. 

'Neath foreign soil, the soldier heroes lie 

In lonely graves. No record raised above 

To tell their names or deeds, to dignify 

War's resting-place, save where, with hands of love, 

Some comrade placed a cross to testify 

His dead friend's worth, how manfully they strove. 


Trooper James H. Arrol. 


no. (Trooper James lb. Hrrol. 

lEssei - ljcomanvv?. 

1917 — April II. 

TROOPER JAMES H. ARROL, Essex Yeomanry, aged 20 years, the 
eldest son of William Arrol, of Chasden, South Church Road, 
Southend-on-Sea, and grandson of the late James Arrol, Superintendent 
of Police, Peebles, was killed in France on the 1 1th April IQ17. 

The gallant trooper was born in the Old Town, Peebles, on the 
15th June 1896, but at the age of 5 left the burgh with his parents 
for Southend. After attending South Church Hall Schools, he finished 
his education at the High School, Southend, and then joined his 
father in business at Elton Laundry. On the 7th October 1914, when 
only a few months over 18, he joined the Essex Yeomanry, and 
trained at Colchester and Huntingdon. On the 17th February 1915 he 
was sent across the Channel. In a year he returned on short 
furlough, then went back to the front. He was transferred to the 
Mounted Machine Gun Corps, and posted to the Eighth Machine Gun 
Squadron. On the nth of April 1917, when rounding a corner along 
with his troop, he was wounded by a shell which struck an adjacent 
building, and he died the same evening. This occurred in the Square 
at Monchy-le-Preux. His body lies in Monchy Cemetery — 'Till the 
resurrection morning." 

As mentioned above, Trooper Arrol was a native of Peebles, one 
of those gallant lads who shed lustre on their native town. His 
paternal grandfather was a fine horseman, and had been in the Scots 
Greys. There are members of the family yet resident in the town, 
and his cousin, Corporal C. T. Ker, son of Mrs Margaret Arrol Ker, 
fell in the war a few months earlier. 

For us they died — that we might live, 
That home and kindred they might free 
From ruthless foe, on land and sea, 
And peace and plenty give. 

For King they died — at country's call, 
That Britain may for justice stand; 
And love and honour still command 
From nations great and small. 

For God they died — that wars may cease, 
That right may triumph over wrong, 
And we might sing the victor's song — 
Now on the earth be peace. 



Private Duncan Adam. 


in. private IDimcan Hbam, 

IRogal Scots. 

1917 — April 12. 

AMONG the saddest of all the sorrowful experiences of the war were 
those cases of the missing. First of all the ominous telegram to the 

anxious wife — "Your husband, Private , No. , missing." Then 

after the first shock, the suspense prolonged for days, weeks, months, 
with at times gleams of hope as returning soldiers thought, or seemed 
to think, they had seen the missing one wounded and made prisoner. 
Next, letters to the War Office, to the Y.M.C.A., to the Chaplain, to all 
which comes the reply that nothing has been learned of the dear one. 
An added agony is in some cases repeated daily when the little ones 
cry for their father. All this the forlorn wife has to bear in addition 
to her secret sorrows. Hope continues to the very end. She will not 
put on mourning, she will not have his name added to the Roll of 
Honour of those who have fallen. To do either is to shut the door 
on him for ever. 

The end of the war comes. The interned civilians and the 
soldier prisoners return in relays. The wife again resumes her 
sorrowful interrogations. The stream of returning men ceases. Hope 
is dead — so is her man! 

Many such cases occurred in Peebles, but in the case of Private 
DUNCAN ADAM, of the Royal Scots, the suspense came to an end 
sooner than in others. He was reported missing to his wife, Jessie 
Jack, March Street, Peebles. Enquiries were made, but they left 
it all too certain that Private Adam was killed in action in France, 
near Arras, on the 12th of April 1917, aged 30 years. He left a 
widow and two children. 

God's blessing shall hover their children to cover, 
Like the cloud of the desert, by night and by day ; 
Oh, never to perish, their names let us cherish — 
The soldiers of Scotland that now are away. 



The British Advance in April 1917. 

BETWEEN the two dates, I/th and 28th April, eleven more men and 
lads of Peebles were to fall. Monday, 16th April, saw a great French 
attack on the southern part of the Siegfried Line, but its success fell 
short of the hopes of its commanders, and it became incumbent on Sir 
Douglas Haig to press his advance towards Douai and Cambrai, in 
order to weaken the enemy strength on the Aisne heights. The duty 
of the British was to distract the enemy from Nivelle rather than to 
win their own special objectives. At dawn on Monday the 23rd 
April, the British attacked on an eight-mile front. South-west of 
Lens, in a subsidiary assault, we advanced our front along the 
Souchez stream. It was a day of sustained and desperate fighting, 
continued during the night, and prolonged far into the morning of the 
24th April. The enemy left in our hands 3400 prisoners. 28th and 
29th April saw the battle renewed north of the Scarpe. On the 28th, 
we drove the enemy out of his positions on a two-mile front at 
Arleux-en-Gohelle, and won ground at Oppy and on the western 
slopes of Greenland Hill. The close of April marked the end of the 
battle of Arras as originally planned. 



YOU seemed so young, to know 
So little, those few months or years ago, 
Who may by now have disentwined 
The inmost secrets of the Eternal Mind. 

Yours seemed an easy part, 

To construe, learn some trivial lines by heart : 

Yet to your hands has God assigned 

The burden of the sorrows of mankind. 

You passed the brief school year 

In expectation of some long career, 

Then yielded up all years to find 

That long career that none can leave behind. 

If you had lived, some day 

You would have passed my room, and chanced to say, 

"I wonder if it's worth the grind 

Of all those blunders he has underlined." 

Perhaps ! if at the end 

You in your turn shall teach me how to mend 

The many errors whose effect 

Eternity awaits us to correct. 



Gunner David Lawson. 


112. Gunner 2)avifc Xaweon. 

IRogal jfielJ? Hrtillen?. 

1917 — April 17. 
MR AND MRS ANDREW LAWSON, North British Railway Station 
House, Peebles, received a field post card from their eldest son, Gunner 
DAVID LAWSON, Royal Field Artillery, stating that he had been 
admitted to a hospital in France on 7th April, suffering from wounds 
due to the explosion of a shell. Subsequent information was received 
stating that he had been brought over from Boulogne to Orpington, 
Kent, and placed in the Ontario (Canadian) Military Hospital. 
Gunner Lawson's parents were informed of the critical turn his 
sufferings had taken, and left for Orpington without a moment's delay, 
but arrived too late to see their son in life, he having passed away on 
the 17th April. Gunner Lawson, who was 22 years of age, previous 
to enlisting in August IQI4, was employed as a motor mechanic with 
Peebles Motor Company. He took part in Suvla Bay operations, and, 
previous to going to France, was in Egypt for some time. His 
brother Alexander joined the Scots Guards. 

The funeral took place on Saturday, 2lst April, and there were 
many dim eyes among the crowds that saw passing to their last 
resting-place the remains of the brave-hearted young townsman and 
soldier. The ranks of the civilian mourners were swelled by the 
wounded soldiers from the Military Hospitals at Morelands and 
Kingsland, and by a very fine turnout of the Boy Scouts, of which 
organisation Gunner Lawson had been a member since boyhood. 
The young soldiers who carried the remains from the house to the 
hearse and again to the grave were wounded soldiers of Gunner 
Lawson's own regiment, billeted in Peebles, who requested that such 
a favour should be conferred on them. 

There is mist on the shieling, mist on the shore ; 
Though trumpets are pealing, our brave come no more ; 
We hear not their footsteps in cottage and hall ; 
Their smile once evanished time cannot recall ; 
The linnets may sing from the ridges of gold. 
They quiet not the bleating of sheep in the fold ; 
The fair earth may robe in her bridal dress, 
But gone is the vision of loveliness; 
The streams, silver-pebbled, will race to the sea, 
Though time's sweetest flowers have perished for me. 
Till its last hour is fled, love's bright fires shall burn 
For the dear Scottish laddies who never return. 





113. private Davifc IDuncan. 

IRoval Scots. 

1917— April 18. 

ONE day in April 1917, Mr and Mrs Alexander Duncan, Old Town, 
Peebles, received several letters by post. One was from an officer, 
telling them sympathetically of the death of their son. But there was 
no name or number, and accordingly nothing to indicate which of 
their three sons was referred to. But among the letters there was one 
from each of the survivors, and then they realised that the son they 
had lost was their third son, Private DAVID DUNCAN, Royal Scots, 
who had been killed in France on the 18th April. 

The officer of the Royal Scots wrote — " Your son was killed on 
18th April, while the position was undergoing a severe bombardment 
by the enemy. He was one of my bombers, and will be missed very 
much by the whole platoon." A chum's letter stated that Private 
Duncan was killed instantaneously at St Quentin, by the bursting of 
a shell, which also killed three others. 

He was only 19 years of age, and enlisted in September 1914. 
This speaks for itself, and shows him to have been a plucky young 
soldier. He worked in March Street Mills. 

As stated above, he had other two brothers in the Army — 
Alexander, in the Black Watch, and William, in the Machine Gun 

Lord, if it be Thy will 
That I enter the great shadowed valley that lies 

Silent, just over the hill, 
Grant they may say — " There's a comrade that dies 

Waving his hand to us still!" 

Lord, if there come the end, 
Let me find space and breath all the dearest I prize 

Into Thy hands to commend; 
Then let me go, with my boy's laughing eyes, 

Smiling a word to a friend. 





114. private IRobert IRanftine. 

Australian imperial fforce. 

1917 — April 19. 

DIED of wounds. Private ROBERT RANKINE, 6077, Australian Imperial 
Force. He was the eldest son of William Rankine, plumber, who 
went out to Australia from Peebles in the year 1882, and is still in 
Riverston, New South Wales. William Rankine was well known in 
Peebles, as was his father, the late Robert Rankine, joiner. The 
young soldier paid Peebles a visit while on furlough, when stationed 
in England, in October of 1916. He had many relatives to make 
acquaintance with, and during his brief stay lived with his uncle and 
aunt, Mr and Mrs James Thomson, 10 High Street. He was 26 years 
of age, and at home followed the occupation of his father. 

From the wide sheep-runs of the South, 

The land of the blue-gum tree, 
The sons of the South arise, arise — 

"Mother, we come to thee. 
We come from the pearling schooners, 

From station, range, and mine, 
We hear the Homeland calling — 

Lead, Mother, we are thine!" 

Now with the sons of the Homeland 

The sons of Empire stand, 
Go, search the lines in Flanders, 

In Gallipoli's shifting sand! 
Suvla Bay, Loos, St Julien, 

Ypres, and Neuve Chapelle, 
They heard the last, low whisper oft — 

"Mother, we came. It is well!" 



Second Lieutenant GEORGE W. SNOW. 


115. Seconb Xieutenant (Beor^e MiKUc Snow. 

TRogal Scot*. 
1917 — April 20. 

Second Lieutenant George Wilkie Snow, who, in April 1917, 
laid clown his life on the battlefield of Arras, was born in London on 
the 29th May 1894, and was thus only 22 years of age when the call 
came. He spent a happy school life at Aske's, where he was thought 
a boy of high promise. On leaving school, he went to Peebles to 
study as an architect and surveyor in the office of his uncle, Bailie 
Wilkie. Living with his uncle and aunt in the quiet town, which he 
grew to love so dearly, he had four very happy years before war 
came. His zest for life, his joyous, lovable nature, made him many 
friends, and his life was very full. He worked hard, and liked his 
work. He threw himself whole-heartedly into the life of the Parish 
Church Young Men's Guild, for which he had a deep appreciation. 
He played golf, cricket, tennis, he skated, swam, and cycled — all well 
and with enthusiasm. Odd moments in the house were spent at the 
piano and organ. He enjoyed writing both in prose and verse. Then 
suddenly in a summer month, when of an evening he had been getting 
in golf, a swim, and tennis till dusk, the war came. He had no doubts 
— he was of perfect physique, and convinced that he should be one of 
the first to go into the Army. "This is a holy war," he writes in the 
letter telling his people of his intention, " and I rejoice that I am 
strong enough to be a mere unit in such a crusade." He went to 
London, and enlisted at once in the ranks of the Argyll and 
Sutherland Highlanders. Some months of very arduous training 
followed. His 2lst birthday, in May of the next year, 1915, was 
spent — a non-commissioned officer — in the trenches: he was " at the 
war." He was in France without leave till the New Year of 19 1 6, 
" suffering all things, enduring all things," but writing home the 
same old cheery letters, full of fun and zest. In January 1916 he 
came back to England, and was at once gazetted to the Royal Scots, 
leaving the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders with much regret. 
He trained for some time in different parts of Scotland, passing very 
high on the list in his examinations, and was then sent to a special 
course at the Pioneer Camp at Reading. He enjoyed every moment 
of his time in England — the work, the pleasant evenings, the full 
week-ends — many spent with his people. At the beginning of August 
he was back again in France with the l/8th Royal Scots (Pioneers), 
doing all kinds of pioneering work, besides fighting, building roads 


and trenches, and even soup kitchens in the trenches. He loved his 
brother-officers and his men, and was most boyishly proud of his own 
platoon. On 20th April, while in command of his company, after 
coming unscathed through the terrible battle of Arras almost to the 
very end, he was killed instantaneously, standing at attention on the 
shell-swept field. 

The value of his work is best expressed in the words of those 
who laboured with him, and in the same spirit. Thus his fellow- 
officers write: — His Colonel—" Others will have written and told you of 
his death and where he is buried, but I just wish to tell you how we 
all — officers and men alike — loved him and admired him, and how 
much we will all miss him. He was an ideal officer, cheery in the 
most trying circumstances, capable, and brave to a fault. I know his 
platoon would have gone anywhere with him." His Company Commander 
" Your boy was quite one of the best officers I ever had. No 
company officer could have wished for a more ideal subaltern. He 
was literally loved by everyone in the Battalion." And thus his men 
write: — His Sergeant — "He was an officer who commanded respect, and 
was the bravest man I ever knew. . . . When I say that his place 
can never be filled, I voice the opinion of every one of us." A Private, 
writing to Bailie Wilkie — " He was a brave man in every sense of 
the word. He never flinched. His path of duty, though dangerous, 
was a straight one, and by his open manner and strength of character 
won the admiration of his men, who, once loud in his praise, now 
silently mourn for him — a token of their respect. On Saturday, 

21st April, Lieutenant Snow's remains were laid to rest in a 
soldier's cemetery inside that famous and historic town which 
gives its name to the battle, three pipers playing the fallen warrior to 
his last earthly resting-place. I was sorry at not being able to pay 
my last tribute to the brave departed at the funeral service, but from 
those present I gather it was a very sad and touching ceremony. 
There is no gratification in death. It is a cruel, cruel war, with men 
of all nationalities battling against science wrongfully used — but there 
is gratification in this that he gave his life in a struggle for the 
Right; he championed the cause of the oppressed, and gave his life 
to free the down-trodden. His sacrifice will not be in vain, for Right 
shall and must prevail, and his memory be emblazoned in letters of 
gold. I will close now, again tendering deepest and heart-felt 
sympathy, and may He who saw fit to take unto Himself the budding 
young man comfort the sorrowing mother and all relatives, and ease 
the pain of the parting. Death was instantaneous; in a moment he 
was conveyed from the world of strife to the Great Beyond; his 
trials and struggles are o'er. There was no bodily pain. In 
conversation, the Sergeant-Major of his company said — 'Mr Snow was 


a brave man, an extraordinarily brave man, and made many another 
brave man feel shame when in his presence.' It was his custom to 
bring himself to attention when in a shell area, whereas the general 
rule is to throw oneself flat on the ground. I had also a talk with 
the soldier who was beside him when he met his death. 'I jumped 
into the trench,' the soldier said, 'but Mr Snow came to attention, 
and, when I looked up, he was dead.' He was the soul of inspiration 
and courage to his men, always straightforward, and in the thickest 
of danger his carriage was erect. A good officer has been lost to us, 
but you have lost one more dear, a nephew. His remains were 
brought down from that noble field of battle, and even in death his 
face had a look of serene calmness and tranquillity, of peace, as if 
peacefully sleeping. Truly, his path of duty was his path to glory." 

To set the cause above renown, 
To love the game beyond the prize, 
To honour, while you strike him down, 
The foe that comes with fearless eyes ; 
To count the life of battle good, 
And dear the land that gave you birth. 

My son, the oath is yours: the end 
Is His, Who built the world of strife, 
Who gave His children Pain for friend, 
And Death for surest hope of life. 


Private William Ball. 


1 16. private William Ball, 

TRoval Marwicftsbires. 

1917 — April 21. 

IT was reported to Charles Ball, 16 Biggiesknowe, Peebles, that his 
second eldest son. Private WILLIAM BALL, Royal Warwickshires, had 
died in hospital in France, on 21st April, from wounds received at 
midnight between April 16 and 17. The news came to Peebles 
through the soldier's widow, a daughter of Mrs A. Robertson, 
Hawthorn Cottage, Rosetta Road, who is left with one daughter. 
The gallant soldier was in his 40th year. He was well known in 
Peebles, but had been resident in Leamington for some years before 
the outbreak of war. His body was buried at Peronne. His eldest 
brother, Charles, and his youngest brother Frank, were also in the 
Army. Frank was fated to fall on nth March 1918. 

Still, through all, his heart was young, 

His mood a joy that none could mar, 

A courage, a pride, a rapture, sprung 

Of the strength and splendour of Britain's war. 



Private JOHN MILNE. 


117. private 3obn fllMlne. 

IRoval Scots. 

1917— April 21. 
THE Record Office, Hamilton, intimated to Mrs Milne, 137 Broughton 
Road, Edinburgh, that a notification had been received from the War 
Office of the death of her son, Private JOHN MILNE, 9th Royal Scots, 
which occurred in France on the 2lst April 1917. He was killed in 
action on the date stated, and was buried at a point just south of 
Fampoux, east of Arras. John Milne was born at 28 Beaverhall 
Terrace (now called 137 Broughton Road), Edinburgh, on the 31st 
January 1896, and consequently was just a little over 21 years of age 
when he fell. He came to Peebles in March 1910, and was an 
apprentice gardener at Bonnycraig. He knew that he was suffering 
from consumption when he enlisted, but nothing would deter this 
gallant boy. 

Death so near! 

When the call to arms rang through the land 

And forth to the summons a gallant band, 

Like greyhounds loosed from the leash came on 

The oath to take and the garb to don 

Of soldiers of the King, he came 

In quest of glory, in quest of fame ; 

A holy light shone in his eyes. . . . 

The right to fight denied, he lies 

Wistful, with death writ on his face 

So full of beauty and girlish grace : 
So wan, so worn, his fragile body with coughing torn. 

A rose in the bud but nipped by Winter's frost; 
" I wish I hadn't joined," he sighed, 
I read his thoughts and my lips replied — 
" Brave boy, regret not what you've done, 
You hoped to see the battle won, 
To rush on the foemen's ranks of steel, 
The lust of war and its joys to feel : 
The thing that to you seems sore amiss 
Is to lie alone in a place like this. . . . 
Rejoice ! you are one with the men who fall 
Responsive to their country's call : 
Your Duty done, for you the eternal crown is won." 

He smiled through his tears and took my hand: 
"I thank you, sir; now I understand — 
"Twas not in vain by the cold North Sea 
I watched long nights for the enemy ; 
I did my bit and suffered, yet 
The Man of Sorrows will not forget : 
He never will forgetful be — the One Who did His bit for me." 



Private Thomas G. C. Clark. 


n8. private Gbomas 6. C. Clark. 

Xanarftsbire Jgeomanrg (attacbefc IRogal Scots jfusihers). 

1917 — April 21. 

ON the 21st April 1917, Private THOMAS GIBSON CARMICHAEL CLARK, 
Lanarkshire Yeomanry, attached Royal Scots Fusiliers, was killed in 
action in Palestine. He was the eldest son of the late Robert Clark, 
tailor, and Mrs Clark, 66a Rosetta Road, Peebles. He was 22 years 
of age, and had finished his apprenticeship when he joined up in 
September 1914, enlisting in the Lanarkshire Yeomanry. A year 
thereafter he went out to the Dardanelles, and after four months of 
that death trap he came out unscathed. He was then transferred to 
the Imperial Camel Corps, in the Egyptian Expeditionary Force, and 
later was attached to the Royal Scots Fusiliers. His younger brother, 
Robert, was in the King's Own Scottish Borderers. 

Mrs Clark received the following letters intimating her son's death: 

"It is with sincere regret that I have to tell you of Tom being- 
killed. I feel I have to write you these few words of sympathy on 
behalf of his comrades and myself. I never had a better pal nor one 
that I thought more of. He was with me in Gallipoli, having joined 
my section just before going there, and he had been with me ever 
since. He joined the Camel Corps with me. He got struck with a 
high explosive shell, and death was instantaneous. We buried him 
the same day (21st April 1917). Our Chaplain read the burial service. 
We shall all miss him very much, as he was a soldier and a man." 

"No doubt you will have heard by this time of the death of your 
dear son. I am Chaplain to the Brigade, and was with them on the 
morning of the 21st April. Your son was killed by a high explosive 
shell, but he suffered no pain. We buried him at the bottom of Sheik 
Abbas Ridge, near Gaza, in Palestine. His officers and comrades 
were with me when I read the burial service over him, and I know 
you will get letters from his section officer, and also his friends. He 
has laid down his life, a true hero indeed, and his loss is greatly 
mourned amongst us." Later, Private Clark's remains were removed 
from the Sheik Abbas Ridge, and laid in the Military Cemetery at 

"I am writing to express my deep sympathy with you in the loss 
of your son. He had joined the Camel Corps, and was away from 
our regiment for some time. He always did his duty very well, and 
his loss will be very much felt by all his comrades. Your son did 
his duty nobly, and laid down his life for his country and friends." 


" I hope God will be merciful to you and give you strength to 
overcome the sorrow of losing such a noble son. He gave his life 
in the cause of liberty and purity, and for the maintaining of God's 
cause upon the earth, and now he has gone to receive the reward of 
his labours. He was a good pal and a good soldier, and his loss will 
always be regretted by those who knew him. I had been a pal of 
his since the beginning of the war, and not until his departure to join 
■the Camel Corps were we apart." 

Glorious Dead of Britain! hear 
Your country's great thanksgiving, 
Hear this tribute to the Dead 
From the humble living. 
Unto you we owe our all, 
Owe our freedom and our home : 
Glorious Dead of Britain! lying 
Sleeping o'er the surging foam : 
Britain's sailors, Britain's soldiers, 
Britain's noble knights of air, 
You have won a victor's glory, 
Fighting staunchly "over there." 
Britain loves you, Britain mourns you, 
But she knows you are not dead ; 
When the last dread trump has sounded 
You shall rise with unbent head! 
Until then, oh, Dead of Britain, 
Have in peace your well-earned rest; 
Britain's men shall e'er stand up for 
Britain's freedom, your bequest. 



Behold a table spread! 
A battered corned-beef box, a length of twine, 
An altar-rail of twigs and shreds of string. 

. . . For the unseen, divine, 

Uncomprehended Thing, 
A hallowed space amid the holy dead. 

Behold a table spread ! 
And on a fair, white cloth the bread and wine, 
The symbols of sublime compassiomng, 

The very outward sign 

Of that the nations sing, 
The body that He gave, the blood He shed. 

Behold a table spread ! 
And kneeling soldiers in God's battle-line, 
A line of homage to a mightier King ; 

All-knowing, All-benign! 

Hearing the prayers they bring, 
Grant to them strength to follow where He led. 




119. Sergeant 3ohn 3obnstone. 

1Rc\?al Scots. 

1917 — April 23. 

THERE was killed in action, in France, on the 23rd April IQI7, 
Sergeant JOHN JOHNSTONE, Royal Scots, only son of the late R. W. 
Johnstone, gardener, Springwood, Peebles, and Mrs Johnstone, 57 
Rosetta Road, Peebles. He was only in his 22nd year. The news 
of her loss came to Mrs Johnstone through a letter, in which the writer 
said — "I am really very sorry to let you know that Johnnie was killed 
on the morning of the 23rd April." 

Sergeant Johnstone was a salesman with Messrs Anderson, military 
tailors, Edinburgh, when he enlisted in the 9th Royal Scots, in 
November 1915, in Edinburgh. Before going to France in March 1917 
he had attained the rank of Sergeant. He was a young man of 
superior disposition, widely known, and much liked. 

The home of our brave is Valhalla sweet, 
Where Love's deepening circles are all complete. 
Their fame as a jewel on Time's brow set, 
The price of their blood a world's Olivet, 
Their story, a glory the ages will sing, 
Their deeds of valour immortal ring, 
But spite of it all, Sorrow's incense will fall, 
At the kirk, the mill, the mart, the cairn ; 
With fevered soul-longing our spirits will yearn 
For the dear Scottish laddies who never return. 



- — , 




120. Banfcsman Gbomas flIMUar. 

IRogal Scots. 

19 1 7— April 23. 

OFFICIAL word was received by Mrs James Millar, Buccleuch Road, 
Selkirk, that her second son, THOMAS MILLAR, bandsman, had been 
killed in action on 23rd April. He was a well-known player in 
Selkirk Silver Band. Previous to enlisting in October 1915, he was 
employed in March Street Mills. Peebles, and resided with his sister, 
Mrs George Murray, Darvel Place. 

The single deed, the private sacrifice, 

So radiant now through proudly-hidden tears. . . . 

That swift validity in noble veins 

Of choosing danger and disdaining shame, 

Of being set on flame 
By the pure fire, that flies all contact base. . . . 

These are imperishable gains. 




Private ROBERT TOD. 


121. private IRobert Zob. 

1bigblan£> Xigbt Jnfantcg. 

19 1 7 — April 28. 

IN the month of April 1917, Andrew Tod, 48 George Street, Peebles, 
received word that his third youngest brother, Private ROBERT TOD, 
Lewis Gun Section, Highland Light Infantry, had been killed in action 
in France, on 28th April. Private Tod, a son of the late Wm. Tod, 
builder, Peebles, was 26 years of age, and at the time of enlisting, in 
1915, was employed at the coal mines at Glencraig, Fife. In the 
fighting in France he was wounded for the third time ere he made the 
supreme sacrifice. He was survived by his wife, who resides at 
Glencraig. Deceased had twin brothers serving — Private Thomas 
Tod, Seaforth Highlanders, and Private James Tod, Royal Scots 
(one of whose legs was amputated). 

What of the slain in the battle ? 
What of the dead on the field? 
Foul slaughtered like horses and cattle, 
Those men that we use as a shield : 
If ever a soul got to Heaven! 
If ever souls reaped a reward ! 
Those whose red blood has been given 
A gift to their own native sward : 
Those are the ones for a heaven, 
For a peace and a pleasure unknown, 
By their work are they all self-forgiven, 
Let their blood for His blood atone. 





122. private lbcnr\> James 2>aUin<$, 

IRoval Scots. 

1917 — April 28. 

THE late Mrs George Dalling, I Briggate, Peebles, early in May 1917, 
received a letter from an officer of the Royal Scots, stating that her 
son, Private HENRY DALLING, had been missing since the 28th April. 
A subsequent letter conveyed the sad intelligence that Private Dalling 
had been killed on the date mentioned. The letter said — "Your son 
gave himself gloriously for his country. I felt that I must write 
personally to tell you that he was buried by me." 

Private Dalling joined up in July 1916. He was unmarried, 35 
years of age, and was employed in the warehouse of Lowe, Donald & 
Co. He had a younger brother, William Dalling, in the Argyll and 
Sutherland Highlanders. 

The Company Sergeant-Major of Private Dalling's company 
subsequently supplied the following information regarding the latter's 
death to his sister. He said — "I was Company Sergeant-Major of B 
Company, 16th Royal Scots, but at the time when Henry went missing 
I was doing Regimental Sergeant-Major at Battalion Headquarters. 
The Sergeant who was taking my place in the company asked me to 
give him four names of men to act as a carrying party to the 'Stokes 
Mortar Battery,' as the Battalion was going over the top the following 
morning. I gave him the names of the four men whom I thought 
most needed a rest, as it was not expected that the 'Stokes' would 
be required, and amongst the four was your brother. When the 
Battalion got relieved the day after going over, only two of the carrying 
party returned — the other two were missing, your brother being one of 
them. It appears the battery had been called into action and the 
carrying party had been required to carry up the ammunition. We 
made inquiries from the ' Stokes Mortar Battery ' about the two 
missing men. but they could give us no information at all, with the 
exception that they had brought up one load of shells and had gone 
back for more, but had never been heard of from that time. The 
other two men had been separated from them right from the start. 
It was about six weeks after that the place we attacked was finally 
taken, and it was not until after that that we got any word of the missing 
men. The burial party, which was composed of various units, buried 
all the bodies where they found them, and sent back the identification 
discs to the Battalion. Your brother's identification disc was amongst 
the number sent back, as far as I can remember, and it is a great 


surprise to me that you heard no word from the officers of the 
Battalion at all. None of the officers are now left, as the Battalion 
has been wiped out, and is no more. Henry was always a very quiet 
chap with us, and although he never said much he always got through 
his work well and was always very cheery. He was exceptionally 
well-liked by the rest of the men in his platoon, and also by the 
other fellows in the company, and at all times he could be depended 
upon to do his best, and was always ready to give a helping hand to 
any of his fellows who happened to need it. I convey to you my 
deepest sympathy, and only hope that this note will help to put your 
mind at rest." 

Manhood is the one immortal thing 
Beneath time's changeful sky, 
And, where it lightened once, from age to age 
Men come to learn, in grateful pilgrimage, 
That length of days is knowing when to die. 



THOU art no longer here, 
No longer shall we see thy face, 
But, in that other place, 
Where may be heard 
The roar of the world rushing down the gangways of the stars; 
And the silver bars 
Of heaven's gate 
Shine soft and clear: 
Thou mayest wait. 

No longer shall we see 
Thee walking in the crowded streets, 
But where the ocean of the Future beats 
Against the flood-gates of the Present, swirling to this earth, 
Another birth 
Thou mayest have ; 
Another Arcady 
May thee receive. 

Not here thou dost remain, 
Thou art gone far away, 
Where, at the portals of the day, 
The hours ever dance in ring, a silvern-footed throng, 
While Time looks on, 
And seraphs stand 
Choiring an endless strain 
On either hand. 

Thou canst return no more ; 
Not as the happy time of spring 
Comes after wintering, burgeoning 
On wood and wold in folds of living green, for thou art dead. 
Our tears we shed 
In vain, for thou 
Dost pace another shore. 
Untroubled now. 


Private William Weir. 


123. private MUliam Mcir. 

IRogal Scots. 

1917 — April 28. 

TO Mrs George Weir, 48 Northgate, Peebles, there came an official 
intimation, informing her that her eldest son, Private WILLIAM WEIR, 
of the Royal Scots, who had already been twice wounded, had been 
missing since 28th April. Later information stated that Private Weir 
had been killed on the date mentioned, and had been buried in Roeux 
British Cemetery, four miles east of Arras. 

Previous to enlisting, shortly after the outbreak of war, Private 
Weir, who was 28 years of age, had been employed most of his life 
in the mills of Peebles and Innerleithen, but shortly before joining up 
became a miner at Portobello. 

And here were men co-equal with their fate, 

Who did great things unconscious they were great. . . . 

They felt the habit-hallowed world give way 

Beneath their lives, and on went they. 



The Fighting in May 1917. 

SIX Peebles men fell in the month of May 1917. They were — John M. 
Thomson, Robert Laidlaw, Robert Wilfred M'Gill, Robert Black, James 
Dodds Howitt, James Anderson. 

Sir Douglas Haig had now to work with a double aim — to continue 
his efforts in the Arras area, and to prepare for that great assault 
upon the German right wing in Flanders, which had long been decided 
upon as the main British enterprise for the summer. The main attack 
began on Thursday, 3rd May, on a twelve-mile front from the 
Acheville-Vimy road to a point in the Siegfried line at Bullecourt 
south of the Sensee. Our troops crossed the parapets at 3.45 in the 
morning, and were faced by a stubborn resistance. All day the fight 
went on : we gained greatly during the day, but were forced back 
at night. The Canadians clung to Fresnoy, and the Australians held 
the Siegfried support line at Bullecourt. 

On the 8th of May the situation resolved itself into a struggle for 
three points of great value — Fresnoy, Roeux, Bullecourt. The Germans 
attacked early in the morning of the 8th. Our centre was busy 
pressing forward from 5th May to 10th May. On the I Ith we 
attacked on both sides of the Scarpe. Between I2th and 14th May we 
took the enemy's position on a front of a mile and a half between 
Roeux and Greenland Hill; and by the 14th the whole of Roeux was 
in our hands. On 16th May we successfully repelled counter attacks. 
The great episode was the struggle in the Siegfried line around 
Bullecourt. The Germans made a great assault on the 15th, which 
the Australians and Londoners turned into a great offensive. On the 
17th of May we completed our capture of Bullecourt village. On the 
20th the whole of the enemy's front position was carried. Between 
the 26th and 27th May we secured all our positions beyond danger. 



When first the paving of the Road 

Rang to the tread of the marching Roman, 
And Caesar's legions seaward strode 

To find a yet unmastered foeman, 
Full many a curse, of ancient flavour, 

Rolled far along the muddy Way ; 
A curse upon the highway's paver, 

Whose echoes linger to this day ! 

A thousand years (when England lay 

Beneath the heel of the Norman raider) : 
The cobbles of the age-worn Way 

Echo the march of the mail'd Crusader : 
Whilst many an oath, of pious fervour, 

Between their chaunt and roundelay, 
Gives proof to any close observer, 

That men are little changed to-day !. 

Again a thousand years — again 

The ancient frontier Road enslaving, 
Come horse and cannon, motor-train : 

All sweep along the narrow paving. 
A wondrous change, you say? but listen 

Listen to the words they say! 
What matter cannon, petrol, piston ? 

The men are just the same to-day! 





124. private Jobn fli>. ftbomson. 

TRopal Scot". 

1917— May 3. 

MRS JOHN THOMSON, 22a Biggiesknowe, Peebles, received official 
intimation from the Infantry Record Office, Hamilton, informing her 
that the Army Council had been constrained to conclude that her 
husband, Private JOHX M. THOMSON, Royal Scots, who had been 
previously reported as missing" in France since 3rd May 1917, was 
dead, and that his death took place on that date, as they had 
received no further information concerning him. 

The deceased, who was 36 years of age, previous to enlisting in 
the " Dandy Ninth" (Royal Scots) while they were encamped at 
Peebles during August I9I5> was employed as a powerloom tuner in 
Damdale Mill, Peebles, and went out to France in September 1916. 
He was survived by his wife and three young children — two boys and 
a girl — whose ages at the time of their father's death were 9, 6, and 4 
respectively. Private Thomson, who was the third son of Mr and 
Mrs R. Thomson, 23 Biggiesknowe, had four brothers serving with 
the Colours, one of whom — Private Alex. M. Thomson, Royal Scots — 
was also reported missing a few days previous to the deceased being 
reported missing. A communication, however, was received from 
Private Alexander Thomson, stating that he was a prisoner of war in 

"Our reports show that on 3rd May 1917 the I2th Royal Scots 
took part in the fighting near Gavrelle, on the Arras front. They 
made a night attack, or as some call it, ' a bombing raid,' to relieve 
two other Battalions which were 'in a tight place' near the Chemical 
Works at Roeux. The hour of starting was 9 P.M., and the enemy 
artillery was very active. Shells were dropping all round, and this 
made it practically impossible for the I2th Royal Scots to advance far 
enough to be of assistance to the other regiments. They must have 
been almost in touch with the enemy at one time, for one man speaks 
of 'the Germans being nearly on us, and it was difficult to get help 
to the wounded.' One company got held up in Xo Man's Land, and 
remained in a shell-hole for many hours. When the order to retire 
came they crawled out, and some of them succeeded in getting back 
to their own lines. This was 3.30 A.M., and it is said that during the 
action wounded men crawled back. The ground was lost, but 
patrols went out over and over again on successive nights to try and 
find wounded officers and men. Shell-fire must have accounted for 


many of the wounded. The ground is said to have been taken by 
another regiment some time afterwards." 

Gin I should fa', 
Lord, by ony chance, 
And thae howms o' France 
Haud me for guid an' a'; 
And gin I gang to Thee, 
Lord, dinna blame, 
But oh! tak' tent, tak' tent, o' a Tweeddale lad like me, 
And let me hame ! 

Heaven's hosts are glad, 
Heaven's hames are bricht, 
And in yon streets o' licht 
Walks mony a Tweeddale lad; 
But my heart's aye back 
Where my ain toon stands, 
And the steeple's shade is laid when the river's at the slack 
On its gravel strands. 



There are men go gay to battle like the cavaliers to dance, 
And some with happy dreamings like princes in romance, 
And some men march unquestioning to where the answer lies, 
The dawn that comes like darkness they meet with lover's eyes. 

You heard the bugles call to arms, and like a storm men's cheers, 
But veiled behind that music, you knew the women's tears. 
You heard the Vikings singing in a rapture to the sea, 
And passing clear beyond that song, the waves of Galilee. 

You lived for peace and lived for war, you knew no little strife; 
To conquer first, then help your foe, make music of your life. 
And for the sake of those you led, you gave your life away, 
As youth might fling a coin of gold upon a sunny day. 

If Odin mustered Vikings, you would rule his pagan crew. 
If Mary came to choose her knights, she'd hand her sword to you. 
Men scattered in the wilderness, or crowded in the street, 
Would choose you for their leader and glory in defeat. 

You'd find a bridge to Lazarus, or any man in pain. 

There are not many like you that I shall see again; 

I do not grieve for you who laughed, and went into the shade, 

I sorrow for the dream that's lost, Italian plans we made. 

Good-bye! It's Armageddon. You will not prune your vine, 
Nor taste the salt of Channel winds, nor hear the singing Rhine. 
You'll sleep with friends and enemies until the trumpet sounds, 
And open are the thrones of kings, and all the Trojan mounds. 

When women's tears are rainbows then, that shine across the sky, 
And swords are raised in last salute, to a comrade enemy, 
And what men fought and failed for, or what men strove and won, 
Are like forgotten shadows, and clouds that hid the sun. 



Corporal ROBERT Laidlaw. 


125. Corporal IRobert Xaiolaw. 

IbigblanO 3Lfgbt Jnfantvv. 

1917— May 3. 
Corporal Robert Laidlaw was one of that gallant band of 
Peebles brothers who took so large a part in the war, who sacrificed 
so much. They were strong, well set up men, of good physique and 
good principle, of the type that would not yield in a cause that they 
knew to be right. They believed greatly, they fought bravely, they 
gave nobly. The deceased was a driver on the Glasgow Tramway 
cars. He left a widow and two children. 

Two brothers of Corporal Robert Laidlaw also fell in the war — 
Sergeant Walter Laidlaw (Black Watch), who was killed on the 9th 
May 1915. an d Sergeant-Major John Laidlaw, the eldest of five brothers 
serving their King and country, who was fated to fall on the I2th 
October 1918. They were sons of the late John Laidlaw, Biggiesknowe, 

Happy is Britain in the brave that die 
For wrongs not hers and wrongs so sternly hers, 
Happy in those that give, give, and endure 
The pain that never the new years may cure. 

Whate'er was dear before is dearer now : 
There's not a bird singing upon his bough 
But sings the sweeter in our British ears. 



Lance-Corporal R. Wilfred M'Gill. 


126. Xance^Corporal IRobert mmifreb fly<Bill. 

JBlacfc Matcb. 

1917— May 8. 

Lance-Corporal Robert Wilfred M'Gill was the third son of 
Thomas M'Gill, West View, Peebles, where he was born in 1890. 
He served his apprenticeship as a compositor in the office of the 
Peeblesshire Advertiser, and afterwards worked in Alloa and Grange- 
month. He was in the latter place when war broke out, and in 
October 1914 he enlisted in the Black Watch, proceeding to France 
with the ioth Battalion in September 1915. A month later the 
Battalion was sent to Egypt, then on to Salonica. On the night of 
the 8th May (according to information received from the commander 
of his platoon), " he was out in command of a bombing squad, and 
was killed while gallantly leading his men in the face of a most 
murderous fire." The Second Lieutenant of the Battalion wrote 
Corporal M'Gill's father — "It is difficult, even yet, to realise that we shall 
know him no more in the platoon, where he was trusted and admired 
by us all. He was without fear. In your sorrow we should all like 
you to feel that you have the deepest sympathy of his comrades- 
officers and men alike. He died like a true soldier." 

Corporal M'Gill was a quiet, studious lad, and was much liked by 
all who knew him. An active member of the Tweed Lodge of Good 
Templars as long as he was in Peebles, he was very sincerely mourned 
by the members as well as by all his comrades. His younger brother, 
Walter, joined the Seaforth Highlanders. 

And when — for so I sometimes dream — 

I've swum the dark, the silent stream, 

So cold, it takes the breath away, 

That parts the dead world from the day, 

And see upon the further strand 

The lazy, listless angels stand, 

And with their frank and fearless eyes 

The comrades whom I most did prize; 

Then clean, unburdened, careless, cool, 

I'll saunter up from the grim pool, 

And join my friends: then You'll come by, 

The Captain of our company, 

Call me out, and look me up and down, 

And pass me through without a frown, 

With half a smile, but never a word — 

And so I shall have met my Lord. 


t . M 

Lance-Corporal BOBERT BLACK. 


127. XancoCcrporal IRobert Blacfc. 

Xonfcon Scottisb. 

1917 — May 14. 
SEVERELY wounded in action, Lance-Corporal ROBERT BLACK passed 
away in hospital on the 14th May 1917- His body was buried in 
Dnisans British Cemetery. 

Lance-Corporal Black was a Hawick lad, but his family for many 
years resided in Selkirk. He was a grocer to trade, and worked in 
Roslin and Peebles, afterwards going to London. He was married 
to a Selkirk lady, Jessie Lamb, daughter of the late James Lamb, just 
two months before he met his death. In Peebles, Lance-Corporal 
Black was in the employment of Thos. Peden & Son, and was also 
with Alexander Irvine. While in Peebles he was a member of the 
Parish Church choir. He had a fine baritone voice. 

Mrs Black received the following letter from a comrade of her 
husband: — ''Your husband, myself, and a small party were doing the 
duty of stretcher-bearers, occupying a portion of trench a little way 
behind the front line. While preparing tea a German shell landed 
right in the trench, killing five instantly. Strange to say, another 
member of the guard and myself had a most miraculous escape. We 
immediately went to Bob's assistance, and very quickly got him to the 
doctor. He was very carefully treated there, and within half an hour 
of the accident he was on his way to hospital ; the doctor expressing 
good hopes of his recovery. On going to Bob's assistance, his first 
words were concerning you. He said to me — 'Tell the lassie I was 
brave about it ;' and, my word ! he was marvellously plucky. It came 
as a great shock to us all that he did not pull through. Bob was 
well known and highly respected throughout the Battalion; and his 
good voice will be much missed. You have all my sympathy; being 
married myself, I fully realise what the blow must be to you." 

No more, no more, 

The voice that gathered us 

Shall hush us with deep joy; 

But in this hush 

Out of its silence, 

In the awaking of music, 

It shall return. 

For music can renew 

Its gladness and communion, 

Until we also sink, 

Where sinks the voice of music, 

Into a silence. 



Private JAMES D. HowiTT. 


128. private 3amcs S>ofcte ibowitt. 

1Rc\?al Scots. 

1917— May 19. 

KILLED in action on the 19th May 1917, Private JAMES DODDS 
HOWITT, Royal Scots, beloved husband of Jeannie Pettigrew, and 
eldest son of Private Thomas and Helen Howitt, 16 Dalgety Avenue,]., Edinburgh, and grandson of Mr and Mrs Dodds, Kirkhill, 
Penicuik, and of the late Stephen Howitt, baker, Peebles. 

What is there, then, 
Worth living for — among us men ? 
Just naught, but a record of good and ill, 
As he determined by his will, 
Or by his deeds, or e'en by baith, 
Whether it profit were or skaith. 



1914 STAR. 


129. private James Hnfcerson. 

IRoval Scots. 

19 1 7— May 19. 

LIKE David Anderson, in the same street in Peebles, JAMES ANDERSON 
was the only son of his parents, Mr and Mrs James Anderson, St 
Andrew's Road, and he was but two years his senior. He was born 
on the 24th February 1895, and after his school days were over, he 
became a warehouseman in his native town. The war was but little 
more than a month old when James enlisted, about the 16th September 
1914, and became one of the Immortal Contemptibles who were to 
cover themselves with glory. He trained at Haddington for six 
weeks without a rifle (!), and departed for France on the 2nd 
November 1914. He was invalided home with bronchitis and pleurisy 
on the 1st of March 191 5, but returned to France on the 7th of March 
1916. He was with the Royal Scots Lewis Gun Section in all the 
fighting on the Somme and the Ancre. He took part also in the 
engagements around Beaumont Hamel, and then at Arras. He was 
instantaneously killed on the 19th May 1917, and his body was buried 
at Roeux, in St Nicolas' Military Cemetery, about five miles east of 

" He was on duty up the line, and was killed instantaneously, 
along with four of his companions, by a German shell. I desire to 
offer you my sincerest sympathy, and the sympathy of the whole 
Battalion, in your loss of so brave a son. He died in the path of 
duty, and has made the supreme sacrifice in a righteous cause, 
and we can safely rely on the Heavenly Father's love to take 
so brave a spirit into His eternal keeping. We laid his body to rest 
side by side with those of his comrades on Sunday evening. A large 
number of officers and men from the Battalion attended the burial 
service to pay their tribute of respect to those who had laid down 
their lives. . . . May you receive strength to bear your sorrow in 
a brave and trustful spirit." 

"He has been in my platoon since he returned to France, over a 
year ago, and I have always found him very willing and obliging, 
and a good soldier. His death is a great loss to the platoon, and to 
the company." 

"In this most trying time, it is with the greatest regret that I 
write to express the sympathies of your son's comrades, more especially 
those of former peaceful times when he was a member of our club, in 
the great loss you have sustained by his early death. I knew your 



son well before the war, but I knew him as a comrade out here, 
which was far better; and in a conversation with him, on the 
Wednesday before he met his fate, he was most cheery. There was 
no pain ; his death was instantaneous. The last rites to a departed 
comrade were observed on the Sunday, when he, along with other 
four who met their death at the same time, were laid to rest in a 
soldiers' cemetery well beyond the firing zone. It is a place which 
is treasured by all, and is most carefully preserved and looked after, for 
we reverence the last resting place of our dead, and it is accordingly 
a holy spot to us. Whilst the warriors were being laid to rest, three 
pipers played the 'Lament,' and the large number of comrades 
present bowed their heads in silent respect. It is hard to find comfort 
for death in battle. There is no glory in death, but there is 
consolation that your son gave his life in a noble cause, to protect the 
Homeland from the ravages of a bitter, merciless foe ; and his memory 
will be kept forever fresh. It is for all to see this war to a finish, to 
honour the fallen, and to emblazon their names in letters of gold, 
thereby keeping them beside us in spirit. I grieve at your great loss, 
and hope that He who took him away may comfort the sorrowing." 

Lovers of life, dreamers with lifted eyes, 
O Liberty, at thy command we challenge death! 
The monuments that tell our fathers' faith 
Shall be the altars of our sacrifice. 
Dauntless we fling our lives into the van, 
Laughing at death. 


After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no 
man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, 
and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, 
clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands. 

And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What 
are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence 
came they ? 

And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to 
me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and 
have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood 
of the Lamb. 

Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve 
Him day and night in His temple : and He that sitteth on 
the throne shall dwell among them. 

They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; 
neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. 

For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall 
feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of 
waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. 


The accomplishment of this work has been a 
labour of love lo all who have been privileged to take 
part in it. ft is well that the community should 
know to whom they are indebted — Sir Henry 
Ballantyne of Minden and Mr Frank S. Turnbull, 
New York; Mr Allan Smyth and his Staff— most of 
them soldiers — who have been an honorary advisory 
committee; and Messrs II'. or A. A'. Johnston, who, 
as well as Mr Smyth, put their best workmanship 
into the volume. 


Adam, Duncan, 
Aitchison, Robert Fairiey, 
Anderson, David J., 
Anderson, George, 
Anderson, James, . 
Armstrong, Archibald, . 
Arrol, James H., . 

Kaillie, Walter, 
Baird, Barrington Hope, 
Ball, William, 
Barron, Andrew, . 
Bennett, Joseph, 
Black, Robert, 
Blaikie. William, . 
Bottomley, Lewis, 
Boyd, Robert Coghill. . 
Brockie. James, 
Brockie John C, . 
Brown, Joseph, 
Brydon, Tom Edward, . 
Buchan, Alastair, . 
Buchan, Thomas, . 
Buddie, James Spencer. 
Bush. Charles Robert, . 

Cairncross. Douglas. 

Callan, Robert Lauriston, 

Chalmers, John R. T.. . 

Clark, Thomas Gibson Carmichael 

Clark, Thomas Moffat, . 

Collier, Andrew R., 

Colthart, John, 

Cook, Ernest J., . 

Craig, John W., . 

Dalling, Henry James, . 
Davidson, John, 
Davies, William Henry. 
Denholm, John, 
Dick, George, 
Dougan, Jack, 
Dow, Adam J.. 
Downie, James, 
Duncan, David, 
Duncan, John Hopkii 
Duncan, William Balfour Betl 
Dunn. William John, 

Elder, Robert, 

Ferguson, David Cook, 
Ferguson, Thomas, 































Forrester, James D., 

Foster, John, 

Frame, James Donaldson, 

Eraser, Joseph, 

Fraser, William Cheyne, 

Freer, Robert, 

French, Archibald, 

French, John, 

Gardner, Cornelius, 
Gillett, Frederick Tremlow, 
Glasgow. Robert. . 

Harkness, David, . 
Hart, Philip. 
Heugh, John, 
Hodge, George James, . 
Hogarth, Andrew, 
Hoishurgh, James. 
Horsburgh, Robert William, 
Howitt, James Dodds, . 
Hunter, William S.. 
Hush, Herbert, 

Johnstone, John, . 

Kane, J., 

Kavanagh, John, . 
Ker, Charles Tod, 

Laidlaw, Robert, . 
Laidlaw, Walter, . 
Lawrie, Dick, 
Lawson, David, 
Lawson, Harry, 
Liddle, John Grieve, 
Lyon, John, . 

Maddison, Isaac, . 

Malcolm, Adam Neil, . 

Malcolm, Alexander R. W. , 

Mason, James, 

Maule, James, 

Michie, Alexander, 

Millar, Robert, 

Millar. Thomas, 

Milne, John. 

Mitchell. Alexander Bain. 

Moffat. James, 

Mowat, Andrew II., 

Mulholland. Robert P., 

Murray, Charles R. , 

Murray, William, . 












































M'Dougall, Archibald Reid, . 
M'Gill, Leonard Cunningham, 
M'Gill, Robert Wilfred, 
M'Lean, James Lawrence Bruce, 
M'Leman, Joseph A. F. , 

Oldham, William,. 

Philp, George, 

Rankine, Robert, . 
Rennie, James, 
Richardson, James C. , . 
Robertson, Hamish, 

Sandeman, David Richardson 
Scott, James, 
Scott, Robert, 
Scougall, Alexander, 
Snow, George Wilkie, . 
Steele, Charles Reid, 
Stevenson, Adam Robertson, 













Stevenson, Elizabeth Isabella 
Stewart, Robert Colin, . 
Stewart, William. . 
Stodart, John, 

Thomson, John M., 

Thomson, Lennie Dobson, 

Thornton, Frederick Edward 

Tod, Robert, 

Todd, James Duncan. . 

Trench, John, 

Tucker, Bertram J., 

Veitch, Archibald Fleming, 

Weir, David, 
Weir. William, . 
Wilson, John Amos, 
Wilson, Thomas A., 

Yorkston, W. , 














A book of fond remembrance, . . v. 

A boy went off to the Dardanelles, . . 159 

A Dirge, . . . . . . 351 

A little grey church at the foot of a hill, . 101 

A Shirt, a Lady, and a Drop, ... 66 

After this I beheld, . . . . 371 

Ah! far frae their mountain-girt homes, . 199 

All ye who kneel, . . . . . 167 

American Battle Hymn. . . . . 125 

And here were men, .... 353 

And how can man die better. . . Frontispiece 

And if the crown is death, . . . 279 

And now tears are not mine, . . . 135 

And on that day he went to die, . . 140 

And when — for so I sometimes dream, . 363 

At Anzac, 359 

At the Fall of the Curtain. ... 131 

Because of you we will be glad and gay, . 181 

Because we led a little while, . . . 19 

Behold a table spread, . . . . 341 

Beside the fire at night, . . . . 130 

Beyond the church, .... 285 

Blow out, you bugles, over the rich dead, 87 

Britain's Answer, . . . . . 147 

But for those valiant souls, . . . 23 

But though their task 295 

Cha Till Maccruimein, .... 203 

Christlike they died, .... 313 

Come when it may, the stern decree, . 95 

Courage came to you, . . . . 311 

Dark Neuve Chapelle, . . . . 199 


Dear boys, they shall be young for ever, . 73 

Death so near, ..... 337 

Down by the River Tweed, ... 66 

East and west and north, wherever the 

battle grew, . . . . . 15 

Fierce and long roll'd battle's thunder, . 61 

Flodden, ...... 257 

Forty years on, ..... 307 

For us they died, ..... 319 

From the wide sheep-runs, . . . 329 

From this vast altar-pile, . . . 209 

Gin I should fa', . . . . . 358 

Give him a cheer for his high emprise, . 253 

Glorious dead of Britain, . . . 340 

God be with you, and us who go our way, 137 

God of our fathers, known of old, . . 107 

God's blessing shall hover, . . . 321 

Green gardens in Laventie, ... 61 

Guns of Le Cateau, .... 51 

Happy is Britain, ..... 361 

Heaven's thronged with gay and careless 

faces, . . . . . . 113 

He died for love of race, . . . 171 

He died the loneliest death of all, . . 49 

Here in the narrow broken way, . . 225 

Here lies the clerk, .... 31 

Heroes! who were these heroes? . . 7 

Her Renunciation, ..... 189 

He seen his duty, a dead sure thing, . 85 

Holv Communion Service, . . . 341 




How should we bear our life, . . . 227 

How sleep the brave? .... 77 

I can't forget the night, .... 259 

I dare not grieve for one more dear, . 63 

I knew you'd not forgotten Me entirely . 163 

I never stand above a bier and see, . . 127 

I see them muster in a gleaming row, . 124 

I shall hear you speaking, . . . 2H5 

I, who stayed behind, . . . . 173 

I, with uncovered head, . . . . 17 

If Britain calls to-day, . . . . 198 

If I die to-morrow, .... 299 

If the crown is death, .... 309 

In Flanders' fields the poppies blow, . 115 

In our heart of hearts believing, . . 248 

Is there aught that you need, . . . 192 

It is too late now, ..... 293 

It matters little how we live, . . . Ill 

It's a great thing to die for freedom, . 187 

Its a great thing to die for Scotland, . 183 

I've heard the liltin', .... 229 

Know, fellow mourners, be our cross too 

grievous, ..... 57 

Know there's a place where the warrior goes, 255 

Laddie, that sought the glory, . . 306 

Lavish of love, the service by him given, . 271 
Lest Heaven be thronged with greybeards 

hoary, . . . . . . 242 

Light of our eyes for all the years to be, . 165 

Lord, if it be Thy will, .... 327 

Lovers of life, ..... 370 

Manhood is the one immortal thing, . 350 

Men and boys of the Empire, . . . 219 

Men from the plough, the mart, the mill, 21 

Mine eyes have seen the glory, . . 125 

Mr Valiant then said, .... 287 

'Neath foreign soil, . . . . 317 

No more, no more, .... 365 

No more old Scotland, .... 265 

No mother's voice soothed his ear, . . 26 

Nothing is here for tears, . . . 1 85 

Not yours to know delight, . . . 223 

Now Heaven is by the young invaded, . 83 

O glad condition and sublime, . . 239 

O God of battles, I pray You send, . 47 

O wife, who heard across the wintry sea, 264 

Oh, if the sonless mothers weeping, . 76 

Oh, love ! that falters and will moan, . 70 

Oh, shepherd, shepherd, you must know, 273 

On Vimy Ridge, . . . . . 213 

Our game was his but yester-year, . . 231 

Our little hour, how short a lime, . . 151 

Our little hour, how soon it dies, . . 153 

Our little hour, how swift it flies, . . 149 

Over the top and awa', awa', . . . 251 

Peace by Christmas, 
Pilot, how far from home? 
Pray for the dead, . 

Recessional, . 
Rejoice, ye dead, . 
Rest you content, . 
Road, The, . 

Say not the Struggle Naught Availeth, . 
Say what life would theirs have been, 
Soldier rest ! thy warfare o'er, 
Some may perchance, with strange surprise, 
Somewhere abroad he lies, 
Stars are of mighty use, 
Still, through all, his heart was young, . 
Surely the bitterness of death is past, 
Surely they sleep content, 
Sweetheart ! I thought to stand to you so 
nearly, ...... 

The Boy at the Dardanelles, . 

The cuttain's falling, 

The Day, .... 

The dead men lay on the cellar stair 

The Debt, .... 

The firefly haunts were lighted yet, 

The Flowers of the Forest, 

The Glorious Tweed, 

The Heart of a Soldier, . ' . 

The home of our brave, . 

The moon did wane, 

The pipes in the street, . 

The Recreant, 

The Road, .... 

The single deed. 

The turret towers that stood in the air, 

The Undying Race, 

The unimaginable hour, . 

The war is like the Judgment Day, 

The White Comrade, 

Their cup of life was full, 

There are men go gay, . 

There in the van he fought, . 

There is a hill in Scotland, 

There is mist on the shieling, 

There is no death, 

There's many a man of the Cameron Clan 

They came in their splendid Battalions, 

They passed from sight on sea and land, 

They shall not grow old. 

They went with songs to the battle, 

This is the word that year by year, 

Thou art no longer here, 

Three Hills, .... 

Through days and nights, 

'Tis just a little wooden cross, 

To my Pupils, 

To set the cause above renown. 

To some, red Flanders gave a resting-place, 

Truly ye come of the blood, 





















































Us they crusted, 

Was it a sigh of yesterday, 

We are coming, Mother, coming, 

good place at the front, . 
We are coming. Mother, coming, 

coming home to fight, 
We don't forget, 
We grudged them not, those that 

dearer, .... 
We had an introduction, 
We had forgotten You, . 
We have fought since early morning 
We in the busy ward, 
What Christ is saying to our soldiers 
What is there then. 
What of the slain in the battle, 

r \< .1 













What was it you fought for, 
When first the paving of the road, 
When soldiers of the Cross, 
When the Last Post sounds, . 
Where the dead lie thick, He goes, 
Wherever is an empty chair, . 
Who is the happy warrior ? 
Why do you grieve for us who lie. 
With Christ in Flanders, 

Yes, the)' shall return each one. 

Yet this, O mothers, 

You boasted the day, 

You heard the guns, 

You seemed so young, 

You wore courage, 

Your Donah at the station 












Advance, The British, 
Arras, The battle of, 

Delville Wood was held, How, 

Fighting in May 1916, The, . 
Fighting in May 1917, The, . 
Fighting in June 1916, The, . 
Fighting in September 1916, The, 
Flers Line, The winning of the, 

Landing, The battle of the, 
Loos, The battle of, 







Mesopotamia and Peebles, . . . 154 

Neuve Chapelle, The battle of. . . 32 

Somme, The beginning of the battle of the, 172 

Somme, The battle of the, first stage, . 188 

Somme, The battle of the, second stage, . 193 

Somme, The battle of the, fourth stage, . 256 

The fateful 9th of April, . . . 301 

Ypres, The second battle of, . . . 39 

Ypres Salient, The struggle for the. . 141