On 24th February, 1915 Pte Tommy Douglas from The Square, Newtongrange, was shot by a sniper whilst singing for his comrades, here is a letter sent to Mrs Douglas by Lieutenant J. S. Pringle.
“Your son Thomas, was shot on Tuesday evening about 5pm, and died in hospital this morning at 7.45am the followng morning . He was hit in the head by a bullet while he was at his post in the trenches. He suffered no pain, and he was unconscious from the moment he was hit until he died, the bullet having entered the brain. Poor fellow, I feel, and all the company feels, his loss very much, he was always so ready to do his duty and always so cheerful over it. At the moment he was struck he was singing a song. It was men such as he that makes us feel the price those at home have to pay for it. I feel very much for you, and you have my deepest sympathy in your loss.
From what I know of the boy as a soldier, I feel he must have been a very dear son to you. He is to be buried at Sailly by a
Protestant clergyman, and two of his chums have been granted leave to attend the funeral” .
Tommy Douglas lived in the house next door to mine, he had been adopted by the Douglas’ as a very young child and was 19 when he died, he was much loved by his adoptive parents.
He was a lovely singer, sadly it cost him his life.