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.