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.