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Archive for the ‘Mystery Men’ Category

My Great Uncle Charlie Gibson who died of wound Oct 1918As any of you who have followed me for any time will know, my Great Uncle Charles Gibson was killed in October 1918 right near the end of the war aged 19. In my family possession we have a fine picture of Charlie in his best Seaforth Highlanders uniform. This picture features on my website and on this blog, the original was black and white but a friend colourised it for me.

A few days back I was contacted by a lady in Somerset saying she had the exact same photograph, it had been in her family for decades but no one knew who its was.

With it was a cap badge backed with black hackle and a regimental post card.

After a couple of emails back and forward between us it transpired that her Grandmother and my Great Grandfather were brother and sister from Airdrie in Lanarkshire. My side of the family had moved east to Midlothian, her side had moved to Somerset via London.

Being honest you could have knocked me down with a feather.

The photo on the left is my one, the one below was sent to me.

The power of the Internet – amazing.

Charlie's photo and cap badge

Charlie’s photo and cap badge

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British War Medal

Thomas Cowan Dempster is a name that few will be familiar with.

He was not famous.

He was not a word leader

He was not a millionaire.

He was just a man, a soldier, who happened to take part in one of the largest, most notorious conflicts of our time, The Great War – World War One.

Unlike many who fought in this war, Thomas Dempster was fortunate enough to return from the war uninjured and was duly rewarded for his services to his country by receiving two medals, The Brititsh War Medal & The Allied Victory Medal.

Fast forward to the 1970s and a house clearance in England,picture a bag near some waste skips, its contents are half scattered on the floor, its here that someone notices two medals, and upon further investigation ,he notices a name etched on the side of each medal, the name is “ T.C Dempster”.

From here the trail eventually leads north to West Lothian, West Calder to be precise. It is thought that Tommy’s family hail from West Calder or Polbeth.

Are you related to Tommy?

Do you know the Dempster family?

The Lost Tommy would love to hear from you.

Follow the Lost Tommy on Twitter

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I recently ‘discovered’ George Ross whilst conducting some research, George was a 28 year old man who originally hailed from Peterhead, in common with a lot of men he moved to the coal fields of the Lothian’s where he settled in Deanpark, Newtongrange, there is some dubiety whether he stayed at 109 or 119 but he did stay in Deanpark.

A married man he had previously been a serving soldier with the 1st Battalion of the Gordon Highlanders, when it became obvious that the war would not be over any time soon he volunteered his services and enlisted with the Gordon’s on the 5th of June,1915. He was immediately posted to the 2nd Battalion and no doubt due to his previous service was made an unpaid Lance Cpl .

The following month he was dispatched to France and on the 25th of September 1915 he took part in the famous battle of Loos, which in many ways was  the ‘Scottish Somme’ such was the heavy involvement of Scottish regiments.

On what turned out to be some of the blackest days of the war for the parish he was posted missing presumed dead, this was subsequently confirmed and he is commemorated on the Loos Memorial, his body never having been found.

Others that died in the battle were

Pte William McLellan Gordon Highlanders, 10th Battalion S/5096 25/09/1915
Pte David Wright Black Watch, 9th Service Battalion S/4215 25/09/1915
Pte Robert Hamilton Queens Own Cameron Highlanders, 7th Battalion D Coy S/14057 26/09/1915
Pte Robert Haig Brown Scots Guards, 1st Battalion 9741 27/09/1915
Pte Joseph Wood (B) Northumberland Fusiliers 11320  27/09/1915

He left behind a Widow Marion and two young girls, Marion 3 and Agnes 6 months

Oddly his death was not recorded in the Dalkeith Advertiser nor is he remembered on the war memorial in his native Peterhead or his adopted home of Newtongrange. By coincidence he was one of 4 men of his Battalion with the surname Ross to perish that day, 3 of whom were Lance Corporal’s, quite remarkable.

I am pleased to say that 97 years on George is to be honoured on the memorial in Newtongrange and on the new plaques containing another 50 men whic are being added in Newbattle Church.

I feel a sense of justice for him

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The first in a series of photos belonging to RSM Peter Darroch DCM of the 8th Royal Scots. As these lads are from Peter’s company they are liable to be from Prestonpans / Tranent or Haddington.  That said they could just as easily be from Midlothian as the companies were shuffled around in 1915. Anyway if you can identify anybody please get in touch.

Group of 8th Royal Scots NCOs

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