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Category Archives: 1917

Private Andrew Briggs

Private Andrew Briggs
6th Battalion, Cameron Highlanders
Died 11 April 1917
Private S/40523 Andrew Briggs was the son of farmer Andrew Briggs and his wife Jeannie Skilling. He was born on 2 September 1895 at West Kirkland. In 1901 the family were living at Glenturk Moorhead and in 1911 at Bladnoch. Before the war Andrew moved to Sheffield where he lived with his uncle John and his wife Sarah. He enlisted on 4 January 1916, initially with the Scottish Horse. Shortly after that he  joined the Lovat Scouts before ending up in the 6th battalion, Cameron Highlanders. The Lovat Scouts were a British Army unit first formed during the Boer War as a Scottish Highland yeomanry regiment and is the first known military unit to wear a ghillie suit. In 1916, these scouts formally became the British Army’s first sniper unit, then known as sharpshooters.
After 9 months of active service Private Briggs was killed in action on 11 April 1917, probably in the Battle of the Scarpe 9 – 14 April. This was the first phase of the Battle of Arras and was initially a success for the British forces. Andrew Briggs was reported missing in action in the Galloway Gazette on 19 May:
Mr & Mrs Briggs, Bladnoch, have received official information that their son, Private Andrew Briggs, who joined the Lovat scouts and was transferred to the Cameron
Highlanders, has been posted as missing since April 11. He enlisted on 4th January 1916 and has been 9 months in active service. He is 21 years of age.
It wasn’t until July of that year that Mr & Mrs Briggs received confirmation of his death, at the age of 21. Andrew Briggs is commemorated on the Arras Memorial which commemorates almost 35,000 servicemen from the United Kingdom, South Africa and New Zealand who died in the Arras sector between the spring of 1916 and 7 August 1918, the eve of the Advance to Victory, and have no known grave.

Private Robert Boyd

Photo of Private Robert Boyd
Private Robert Boyd
2nd Battalion, Royal Scots Fusiliers
Died 7 April 1917
Robert Boyd was born on 1 February 1880 at Bank Street, Wigtown, the son of general labourer, Robert Boyd, and his wife, Helen McKay. The 1881 census returns show the family living at Church Lane. Ten years later they were living at Baldoon Cottage. In 1901, at the age of 20, Robert was working as a ploughman at Broadfield Farm on the outskirts of Wigtown but he later got a job at the Co-operative Creamery at Bladnoch and returned to lodge with his parents at Baldoon. He also married Annie Nicholson.
At the outbreak of war Robert was living at Whauphill but enlisted with the Royal Scots Fusiliers at Ayr. He was killed in action on 7 April 1917 at the age of 38.
The Galloway Gazette (15 September 1917), five months after Robert Boyd’s death, carried a brief report:
On 7 April 1917, killed in action, Private Robert Boyd RSF, beloved husband of Annie Nicholson, 2 North Main Street, Wigtown, aged 38 years.
Annie received Robert’s outstanding pay of £4 11s 6d 6 months after his death and a further £10 gratuity in 1919.
Robert Boyd’s body was not found and he is commemorated on the Arras Memorial which commemorates almost 35,000 servicemen from the United Kingdom, South Africa and New Zealand who died in the Arras sector between the spring of 1916 and 7 August 1918, the eve of the Advance to Victory, and have no known grave. His brothers James and David also served in the war and survived the conflict though David’s gravestone in Wigtown High Cemetery indicates his early death at the age of 49 was as a result of disability arising from the conflict.

Private George Brown Anderson

Private George Brown Anderson
2nd Battalion, Cameronians (Scottish Rifles)
Died 20 June 1917
George Brown Anderson was born on 15 December 1897 at 21 Harbour Rd, Wigtown, the son of Andrew Anderson, a sewing machine agent, and his wife, Agnes Brown. The family soon left Wigtown and were living in Lockerbie at the time of the 1901 census. The return shows George living at 6 Brewery Yard with his parents, brother and no fewer than seven sisters.
Shortly after the outbreak of war, George enlisted with the 2/5th Battalion, King’s Own Scottish Borderers. At the time of his enlistment he was working as a farm servant at Collin, near Dumfries. It wasn’t until the end of August 1916 that Private 2234 George Anderson and his Battalion went to France. At some point he was re-assigned to the Cameronians and served with their 2nd Battalion.
George Anderson was killed in action on 20th June 1917 near to Ypres. He was only 19 years old and is interred in the Perth Cemetery (China Wall). The cemetery was begun by French troops in November 1914 (the French graves were removed after the Armistice) and adopted by George’s Battalion in June 1917, so he may have been among the first burials there. It was called Perth (as the predecessors of the 2nd Scottish Rifles were raised in Perth), China Wall (from the communication trench known as the Great Wall of China), or Halfway House Cemetery. The cemetery was used for front line burials until October 1917 when it occupied about half of the present Plot I and contained 130 graves.
His outstanding pay of £15 8s 11d was paid to his mother on 14/11/1917 and a War Gratuity of £12 on 29/11/1919.