Posts Tagged ‘newbattle at war’

I recently ran a poll on this blog voicing my concerns that the Centenary commemoration was, apparently, getting a low priority from the Scottish Government amongst other parties.

I am delighted that 111 of you took the time to fill in the survey and giving me an insight into what was happening on a national and international basis.

Ready to attack. Who remembers them now?

So here are the results to the 10 questions I asked.

Question 1

Do you know it’s the Centenary of WW1 in 2014?

Yes 110 – No 1

A good start, public awareness seems not to be  a problem.

Question 2

Did a member of your family serve in WW1?

Yes 97 – No 14

A high percentage 87% had a family member who served in the Great War.

Question 3

How many members of your family served?

I used this question and questions 4 and 5 to assess the impact of WW1 on the extended family tree.

4 or more – 36%

2 – 20%

Don’t know 12%

1 – 11%

3 – 11%

None – 9%

Interesting that 4 or more was the most popular answer, showing the heavy involvement of the nation in the war effort.

Question 4

What relation were they to you?

Great Uncle – 31%

Grandfather – 28%

Other 25%

Great Grandfather – 10%

Father – 5%

Grandmother – 1%

Great Grandmother 1%

A significant percentage of those taking part, 5%, were the children of WW1 servicemen.

Question 5

Did any of your relatives die in WW1?

Yes 59% – No 41%

Six out of ten people taking part had a relative killed during the war.

I then moved on to the Centenary events themselves and public awareness, perception and opinion.

Question 6

Do you know of any Centenary Events in your area?

Yes 23% – No 77%

Three out of four do not know of any events in their area.

Question 7

Who is running the event?

There are no events in my area 70%

Local council 6%

Non UK Government 6%

Individual member of public or group of people 6%

Veterans Organisation other than British Legion 5%

Scottish Government 4%

Royal British Legion 2%

UK Government 1%


“Province of West-Flanders has put up a special commemoration committee. with as coordinator: Mr. Paul Breyne retired Gouverner to the King of the province of West-Flanders.In cooperation with the town councils of every city who was involved in the 1st WW, there will be commemorations of every big battle for over the 4 successive years to start in 2014: the first battle of Ypres. And so on until 2018.
Poperinge town council,Ypres town council.”

“I have also heard mention of the Centenary via the ‘Press’ etc but do not know of any confirmed celebration here in Australia as yet.”


“I haven’t heard of anything official as yet but I am sure the British Legion will be doing something – with a little push from myself and Golspie Heritage Society.”

“There are several centenary events being organized by Heritage Lottery Fund funded groups working with Leeds University and Leeds City Council as part of a programme led by the university in partnership with the council.”

“Aberdeen Family History Society are already having articles in their 4 times a year journal. They will have talk(s).
The Gordon Highlanders Museum will have events.”

Question 8

If there was an event in your area would you attend?

Yes 95% – No 5%

There appears to be an enthusiasm for events amongst those that responded.

Question 9

Who do you think should be organising events?

UK Government 13%

Scottish Government 11%

Local Councils 4%

Community Councils 3%

Armed Forces 3%

Other 3%

A combination of the above 64%

It’s clear that the majority of people, around two out of three, feel the Centenary should be an event should be marked by a broad cross-section of the community and organisations. Around a quarter thought that Government should be taking a lead.

Here are some of the comments made

“The Great War does not belong to any one group. All were affected, and all should be part of the Commemoration.”

“Seems to me there should be a mixture – national events, organised by government, and smaller local ones organised by communities, schools, churches – any person or group of people who want to mark the centenary”

“The last survivor of WW1 Harry Patch, described it as organised murder. We should celebrate the end of WW1 not the beginning.”

“Should be involvement across wide spectrum of Scottish society. Schools, libraries, community groups, local history groups should be researching the people who fought and what happened at home during the war.  Councils and government should ensure the centenary commemoration events take place in appropriate locations on appropriate dates.  Armed Forces and British Legion should be involved in the commemorative events.”

“It would be awful if the centenary became a four year long Remembrance Sunday.”

“Impetus should come from Scottish government, providing guidance and finding for local organisations.

And the final question

Question 10

Finally where do you live?

Scotland 42%

England 34%

I don’t live in the UK 21%

Wales 2%

Northern Ireland 1%


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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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Archie Moore was home on well earned leave from France where he had been serving for three and a half years. On the way home, he decided to take a short cut over the railway track near Newtongrange and was struck and killed by a train. He was laid to rest with full military honours in Newbattle Churchyard. He left a widow and children


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The King and Queen visiting Polish forces in Scotland (possibly St Andrews) inspect the unit’s colours. The Polish were very much at home and well liked by their Scottish hosts. Many including the father of Jim Haluch, who kindly gave me a copy of this photo, stayed on to avoid Stalanist purges in Poland.

King George VI and the Queen inspecting Polish Colours

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Newtongrange war memorial in the snow

Well it appears we had a technical hitch and title and picture disappeared, so lets try again.

Taken a few years back, 3 to be exact, a couple of days after this was taken there was an even foot of snow on the ground, you couldn’t see the tablets or the bottom wreaths with drifting. As I stood in the park, I thought of the old soldiers many miles from home on a cold frosty night in a trench ‘somewhere in France’. It was a hard existence which could end in the blink of an eye, I take my hat to the men of the BEF.

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The second in the series of photos featuring ‘Winnie’ , here he is looking far from a man with the weight of the world on his shoulders, as he signs a little girl’s autograph book at the train station.

Churchill signing child's Autograph book

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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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