Category Archives: 1915

Corporal Thomas McCaskie

Photo of a PoppyCorporal Thomas McCaskie

1st/5th Battalion Kings Own Scottish Borderers

Died 7 November 1915

Corporal 4102 Thomas McCaskie served with the 1st/5th Battalion, Kings Own Scottish Borderers.  He was born on 13/2/1890 at Dunragit Lodge, Old Luce, the son of Margaret and Thomas McCaskie. The family lived at 4 High Vennel in Wigtown before the war and Thomas was employed as a clerk at Bladnoch Creamery as well as playing football for Wigtown Utd. He enlisted with the KOSB at Wigtown.Corporal McCaskie Photo

On 24 May the Battalion sailed from Liverpool for service at Gallipoli, landing there on 6th June. At some time during the campaign Thomas fell ill and was evacuated back to Britain where he was treated at the Royal Victoria Hospital at Netley, near Southampton. Some 50,000 patients were treated at Netley during the war. Sadly, Thomas did not survive, dying on 7 November 1915. His body was brought back to Wigtown where he is buried in the cemetery.

On 30 November 1915 the Galloway Gazette reported:

Great regret was felt throughout Wigtown and district this week when word was received that Corporal Thomas McCaskie of the 1/5th KOSB had died at Netley Hospital on Sunday. He had been to the Front, and it is understood that he was suffering from dysentery. Corporal McCaskie, prior to mobilisation, was a clerk at the Creamery, Bladnoch, and was a great favourite of the district. He was about twenty five years of age. The funeral took place on Thursday, and was very largely attended, among those present being several of Corporal McCaskie’s comrades who are at present invalided home from the Dardanelles. The remains were accompanied to Wigtown Cemetery by the Town Band playing the Dead March from “Saul”. The utmost sympathy is felt for the bereaved parents and family. As a mark of respect all places of business were closed during the funeral service.

Thomas McCaskie’s grave can be seen in Wigtown High Cemetery. His brother, David, is also commemorated on the gravestone. David was killed in action in France in April 1918.

Photo of Corporal McCaskie Headstone in Wigtown CemetaryA good number of Wigtown soldiers fought at Gallipoli, one of the British army’s greatest disasters. Brilliant in concept it turned into a classic example of muddle and miscalculation. Of the 489,000 Allied soldiers involved, just over half became casualties, many from disease. Although British, Australian, New Zealand and French troops managed to land the troops failed to penetrate inland and were pinned down on the beaches by resolute Turkish defence. The troops showed outstanding courage and were to be later withdrawn.

 

Private James Todd

Photo of a PoppyPrivate James Todd

7th Battalion, Kings Own Scottish Borderers

Died 27 September 1915

James Todd was born at Kirkurd, Peeblesshire, the son of John Todd, and his wife, Jane Wilson Todd, on 21 June 1891. James Todd’s link with Wigtown comes from the fact that his parents were living at West Kirkland farm at the time of his death. James was living in Castle Douglas when he enlisted in the army.

James served with the 7th Battalion, Kings Own Scottish Borderers, which was raised in August 1914 when the war broke out. After training on Salisbury Plain in early 1915 the Battalion landed at Boulogne on 10 July 1915. They fought in the action at Hooge in later in the month, being the first division to be attacked by flamethrowers. On 25 September the battalion were at the Battle of Loos and it is likely that it was here that James Todd, by then an acting Sergeant, received the wounds that were to lead to his death two days later. He is buried in Vieille-Chapelle New Military Cemetery near the French town of Bethune along with 645 other casualties. His outstanding pay of £17 was paid to his mother and she also received a War Gratuity in 1919 amounting to £6 10s.

It was at the Battle of Loos on 25 September that one of James Todd’s fellow soldiers of the 7th Battalion, Piper Daniel Laidlaw, won the Victoria Cross. Prior to an assault on enemy trenches and during the worst of the bombardment, Piper Laidlaw, seeing that his company was shaken with the effects of gas, with complete disregard for danger, mounted the parapet and, marching up and down, played his company out of the trench. The effect of his splendid example was immediate and the company dashed to the assault. Piper Laidlaw continued playing his pipes even after he was wounded and until the position was won.

Private David McGaw

Photo of a PoppyPrivate David McGaw

10th Battalion, Highland Light Infantry

Died 25 September 1915

David McGaw was a Kirkinner man, born and bred but his link with Wigtown was through his employment at the Co-operative Creamery at Bladnoch. He was the eldest son of Alexander McGaw, a mason, and his wife, Helen, and was born in 1893. In 1901 the family were living at Braehead but by 1911 David, then 18, was working as a farm hand at Knockann farm. He subsequently worked at the Creamery.

With the outbreak of war he was quick to volunteer for service. The Galloway Gazette (26/12/1914) reported his enlistment with Kitchener’s Army, an all-volunteer force formed following the outbreak of hostilities. David was to join the 10th Battalion, Highland Light Infantry. After a period of training in England the 10th Battalion landed at Boulogne on 12th May 1915. As part of the British First Army, the Battalion was involved in the Battle of Loos which began on 25th September 1915. Loos was to be the first time the British army used poison gas on the battlefield.

David McGaw was to be among the many men killed on the first day of the Battle. His body was not identified and he is remembered on the Loos Memorial, which commemorates 20,000 officers and men who have no known grave. Most of the servicemen named on the Loos Memorial fell in action during the Battle. Many had died in what was to become the new strip of No-Man’s-Land between the Front Lines east of Loos by the end of this battle. After the Battle of Loos the Front Lines changed very little in this sector and it was not possible to recover or bury many of the fallen here until the battlefields were cleared from 1919. In that time, the best part of three years, unburied remains would have been subject not only to their natural decomposition, but any means of identifying an individual from his uniform or kit was exposed to the weather and shellfire.

David McGaw is also commemorated on Kirkinner War Memorial. His outstanding pay of £2 6s 11d was paid to his sister, Mrs Mary McCreadie, on 17 February 1916. She was also to receive his War Gratuity of £3 after the end of hostilities.

Private David Connell

Photo of a PoppyPrivate David Connell

6th Battalion, Kings Own Scottish Borderers

Died 25 September 1915

David Connell was born at Maidland Farm, Wigtown, the son of David Connell, a dairyman, and his wife, Elizabeth Connell nee Hamilton, on 20 November 1896. In 1901 the family were living at Balsier Dairy, Sorbie; by then David had three sisters and a brother, Andrew, who would also enlist and fight in the War.

With the outbreak of war he was quick to volunteer for service, enlisting at Dumfries with the 6th Battalion, Kings Own Scottish Borderers. After a period of training in England the 6th Battalion landed at Boulogne on 12th May 1915. As part of the British First Army, the Battalion was involved in the Battle of Loos which began on 25th September 1915. Loos was to be the first time the British army used poison gas on the battlefield.

David Connell, then aged 19, was to be among the many men killed on the first day of the Battle. His body was not identified and he is remembered on the Loos Memorial, which commemorates 20,000 officers and men who have no known grave. Most of the servicemen named on the Loos Memorial fell in action during the Battle. Many had died in what was to become the new strip of No-Man’s-Land between the Front Lines east of Loos by the end of this battle. After the Battle of Loos the Front Lines changed very little in this sector and it was not possible to recover or bury many of the fallen here until the battlefields were cleared from 1919. In that time, the best part of three years, unburied remains would have been subject not only to their natural decomposition, but any means of identifying an individual from his uniform or kit was exposed to the weather and shellfire.

David Connell’s outstanding pay of £3 17s 8d was paid to his father, with a further 13s 10d shared with his brother, Andrew, and sister, Marion. His father was also to receive a War Gratuity of £4 after the end of hostilities.

Private Connell Register Entry

Private John Murray Gow

Photo of a PoppyPrivate John Murray Gow

Canterbury Regiment, New Zealand Expeditionary Force

Died 15 July 1915

John Murray Gow was not a native of Wigtown but it appears that he lived here for a short time before emigrating to New Zealand. He was born in Glasgow, the son of a Collector on the Clyde Trust Ferries. In August 1915 the Wigtownshire Free Press, reported:  “Private Gow, who went to New Zealand a short time ago, and came over with the New Zealand contingent, is also among the killed.”

Records in New Zealand show that his brother, George, lived at Harbour Road, Wigtown. The 1911 Census records his mother and another brother, James, living at 20 Harbour Road. So it appears that John Gow may well have lived in Wigtown for a short time before emigrating to New Zealand before the outbreak of war. While there he lived at Timaru in New Zealand where he worked as an engineer before enlisting in the army. From his enlistment papers we know he was 5ft 9¾in tall, with a dark complexion, hazel eyes and black hair. After a period of training he embarked at Wellington on 14 February 1915 with the 3rd Reinforcements, bound for Gallipoli. He was admitted to hospital on 8 July with enteric fever (typhoid) and became dangerously ill. Despite being evacuated to Greece, he died at the hospital in Mudros, on the island of Lemnos, on 15 July 1915 aged 32. He is buried at the East Mudros Military Cemetery which was begun in April 1915 and used until September 1919. It contains 885 Commonwealth burials of the First World War. His medals, the British War Medal, Victory Medal and 1915 Star were sent to his brother, George, after the war who, by that time, was living at the Auchentoshan Distillery.

Personal Services Record for Private John Murray Gow

Private James McNeil

Photo of a PoppyPhoto of Private James McNeilPrivate James McNeil

5th Battalion, Kings Own Scottish Borderers

Died 14 July 1915

Private 993, James McNeil, served with the 1st/5th Battalion, Kings Own Scottish Borderers, the fourth child of Andrew and Margaret McNeil of Bladnoch. Prior to enlistment James lived at 10 North Main Street and worked as a cooper and lorry driver at Bladnoch Creamery. Like many local young men he enlisted with the local regiment, the Kings Own Scottish Borderers.

On 24 May the 1st/5th Battalion sailed from Liverpool for service at Gallipoli, landing there on 6th June. Only a few weeks after landing at Gallipoli, aged only 22, James McNeil was dead. A letter to the family (below) was published in the Galloway Gazette. Although it is apparent from Major McIntosh’s letter that James McNeil was buried in a small graveyard, official records indicate that he has no known, official grave, and he is commemorated on the Helles Memorial in Turkey which bears more than 21,000 names.

Dear Mr McNeil,

I feel I would like to write to you just a few lines about your poor boy James, as I was with him just after he was struck, having been covered with the earth and dust from the same shell. He was busy working in the kitchen “dug-out” at the time, doing all he could to add to our comforts, so you may well say “He died doing his duty”. It is the highest praise one can give any soldier, and none ever deserve it more than he did. Although he was Major Chino’s personal servant, I knew him very well too, and I have to thank him for many a kind service and many a cheery word. When he accidentally cut his hand a few weeks ago, he showed me what stuff he was made of, for he never said a word when I stitched it up for him, and, in spite of my orders to the contrary, did most of his duties for Major Chino. He was struck in the neck by a shrapnel bullet, and by God’s will it struck a vital nerve, and he died within a few minutes, but I am glad to be able to say that he suffered no pain. Just when the bullet struck him he said, “Good-bye, chaps” so that he probably realised he was severely wounded. He almost immediately lost consciousness, and passed away very quietly and peacefully three or four minutes later. I think this is all I can tell you about him, except to say that we all liked him, for he was always bright and cheery, going about with a smile on his face and a kind word for everybody. We brought his body down from the gulley, and buried him in the little graveyard we have formed in the open beside the camp, in full view of the hill he, like us all, wished to get to the top of, and which we will ultimately gain and so avenge the losses we have sustained.

I am yours faithfully

(signed) A M McIntosh Major

 

Sergeant William Edwards

Photo of a Poppy

Sergeant William Edwards

1st/5th Battalion, Kings Own Scottish Borderers

Died 12 July 1915

Sergeant 4003, William Edwards served with the 1st/5th Battalion, Kings Own Scottish Borderers. He was born at Marloes in Pembrokeshire, the son of Thomas Edwards (a blacksmith) and his wife Eliza. William married Margaret Nicholson Inglis in 1896.  The Edwards’ had three children, Edwin, Annie and Ruby. Prior to enlisting in the army at Wigtown the Edwards family lived at Bladnoch with William working as a margarine maker the Creamery.

On 24 May the 1st/5th Battalion sailed from Liverpool for service at Gallipoli, landing there on 6th June. Barely a month after landing, on 12 July, Sergeant Edwards, aged 46, was dead. The Galloway Gazette published the text of a letter sent to Mrs Edwards from a Lieutenant Salmond:

Dardanelles, 18th July 1915

Dear Mrs Edwards – Kindly allow me to express to you and your family my sense of deepest sympathy in the great loss you have suffered. Your husband was my platoon sergeant, and I miss him very, very much; but, of course, my loss in incomparable to yours. He was one of the finest non-commissioned officers in the battalion – loved and respected by all who knew him. I have sent in his name to my superior officers in order that some mark of distinction may be awarded in recognition of his gallant and faithful work, in the discharge of which he met his death, and I trust my application may be successful. May you be given strength to bear up under your great affliction. With deepest and kind regards – I remain,

Yours sincerely (signed)

George Salmond,

Lieut 1-5th KOSB

Photo of Sergeant William EdwardsSergeant Edwards died fighting in the Gallipoli campaign. A good number of Wigtown soldiers fought at Gallipoli, one of the British army’s greatest disasters. Brilliant in concept it turned into a classic example of muddle and miscalculation. Of the 489,000 Allied soldiers involved, just over half became casualties, many from disease. Although British, Australian, New Zealand and French troops managed to land the troops failed to penetrate inland and were pinned down on the beaches by resolute Turkish defence. The troops showed outstanding courage and were to be later withdrawn.

Like many of those killed at Gallipoli, William Edwards’ body was not found and so is commemorated on the Helles Memorial, which bears more than 21,000 names. William is also remembered on the family headstone (right) in Wigtown’s High Cemetery.

Private Edward Kilpatrick

Photo of a PoppyPhoto of Private Edward KilpatrickPrivate Edward Kilpatrick

5th Battalion, Kings Own Scottish Borderers

Died 4 July 1915

Private 2046 Edward Kilpatrick served with the local regiment, the 5th Battalion, Kings Own Scottish Borderers. Before the war Edward lived with his mother, Maggie, an outdoor worker on a farm, and brother, William, at 21 Botany Street, Wigtown. Edward had played football for the local team, Wigtown Utd, and worked as a general labourer.

On 24 May 1915 the 5th Battalion sailed from Liverpool for service at Gallipoli, landing there on 6th June. Barely 6 weeks after landing, on 4 July, Private Kilpatrick, aged only 19, was dead. His death was announced in the Galloway Gazette on 7 August 1915 at the same time that news was received that his brother, William, had been badly wounded. William was to die later in the war.

A good number of Wigtown soldiers fought at Gallipoli, one of the British army’s greatest disasters. Brilliant in concept it turned into a classic example of muddle and miscalculation. Of the 489,000 Allied soldiers involved, just over half became casualties, many from disease. Although British, Australian, New Zealand and French troops managed to land the troops failed to penetrate inland and were pinned down on the beaches by resolute Turkish defence. The troops showed outstanding courage and were to be later withdrawn.

Edward Kilpatrick is buried at Lancashire Landing Cemetery (named after the Lancashire Fusiliers). There are 1,237 Commonwealth servicemen of the First World War buried or commemorated there.

In July 1916 the Galloway Gazette carried the following tribute from his mother:

Had I but seen him at the last
Or watched his dying breath
Or heard the last sighing of his heart
Or held his aching head

 

My heart would not have felt
Such bitterness of grief
But God had ordered otherwise
And now he rests in peace

 

Often here my thoughts do wander
To that grave so far away
Where they laid my dear son Edward
Just a year ago today

 

His King and country called him
That call was not in vain
On Britain’s roll of honour
You shall find our hero’s name.

 

 

Private James Loan

Photo of a PoppyPhotograph of Private Loan

Private James Loan

2nd Battalion, Scots Guards

Died 16 May 1915

Private 10634 James Loan, 2nd Battalion, Scots Guards, was born in Whithorn, the eldest son of James Loan, a traction engine driver, and his wife, Mary. He had two sisters and a brother and lived in George Street, Whithorn, but had left Galloway for Edinburgh before the start of the war and had married Margaret Darward. He worked at the St Cuthbert’s Co-operative Society store in Edinburgh and, at the outbreak of war, he enlisted with the Scots Guards. After initial training he arrived in Belgium on 26 March 1915.

On 29 May 1915 the Galloway Gazette announced that Pte Loan had been killed in action on May 16th. The following week it carried the following tribute to him:

At the close of his sermon on Sunday last at Whithorn Parish Church, the Rev D M Henry, after referring to the late Captain Johnston Stewart said:- We also remember here today another who was a native of Whithorn and who was killed at the front on the day before Captain Stewart – Private James Loan, son of Mr & Mrs Loan, Bladnoch. Sad it is to think of the fine young life cut short, but all the same it is splendid to think that he has lived and died so well. He is an honour to his parents, his native place, and to his country: we who knew him will always think of him as a hero, for he has done his part as bravely and as nobly as the bravest of them. And our sympathies go out this day to his bereaved parents and family.

Private Loan’s body was not found and he is commemorated on the Le Touret Memorial, Pas de Calais, France which commemorates over 13,400 British soldiers who were killed in this sector of the Western Front from the beginning of October 1914 to late September 1915 and who have no known grave. He is named on Wigtown War Memorial because his family lived in Bladnoch and on Whithorn’s, his birthplace. In October 1915 his widow, Margaret, was sent the outstanding pay due to James, £1 0s 7d (£1.03). After the war she was paid a War Gratuity of £3.

 

Private Hugh Jamison (or Muir)

Photo of a PoppyPrivate Hugh Jamison (or Muir)

Australian Imperial Force

Died 8 May 1915

On 23 December 1914 at Rochford, Victoria, Hugh Jamison joined the Australian army stating that he was born in Wigtown, was 40 years old and had no living next of kin. Almost 6 feet tall with a dark complexion, brown eyes and iron grey hair he began a short period of training. On the 5th April 1915 he embarked on the SS Mashobra bound for Gallipoli. A month later, on 8th May, he was reported missing and was never seen again. He was declared dead by a court of enquiry a year later. A fellow soldier claimed to be Jamison’s friend and the beneficiary of his will as there was no known living relative.

After the armistice Mrs Mary Ann Muir approached the Australian authorities. Living in Liverpool she stated that Hugh Jamison was actually her husband, Hugh Muir, and produced an extract of his will stating that she was his beneficiary.

Hugh Muir was born in Wigtown round about 1868, the son of Samuel Muir and Helen Muir (nee Jamieson). In 1871 the family was living at South Main Street and in 1881 at Salt Box Brae, Newton Stewart. By 1891 Hugh was a printer compositor and lodging at Arthur Street. At the end of December 1900 he married Mary Ann McClory at West Derby, Liverpool; the census of 1901 shows the Muirs living in Liverpool with Hugh continuing his printing work. Four children were born to the Muirs in the next ten years, the eldest being Alexander Jamieson Muir. However, the 1911 census shows Mary Ann living in Liverpool with the children, but no sign of her husband. Emigration records show a Hugh Muir of around the right age sailing from London on the SS Fifeshire on 21 August 1910, bound for Melbourne.

It appears that there was some sort of family rift which led to Hugh Muir leaving for Australia and adopting his mother’s maiden name. How Mary Ann discovered her absent husband’s death is not known. Hugh Jamison is remembered on the Helles Memorial which serves the dual function of Commonwealth battle memorial for the whole Gallipoli campaign and place of commemoration for many of those Commonwealth servicemen who died there and have no known grave. The United Kingdom and Indian forces named on the memorial died in operations throughout the peninsula, the Australians at Helles. There are also panels for those who died or were buried at sea in Gallipoli waters. The memorial bears more than 21,000 names.