WW1 1915 May-Dec


The Battle of Aubers Ridge was maybe the most terrible day of the war for Tain and the men of the 4th Seaforths with 14 casaulties on the war memorial for that day.

"The soldiers were greeted with such ferocious machine gun and rifle fire that those that survived the clamber out over their own parapet could only advance a few metres before being sent to ground by the hail of bullets.

All this was happening whilst the bombardment was reaching its full intensity and to complicate the matter further, the troops forming the subsequent waves continued to arrive in the forward trenches. These were soon blocked with dead; wounded; soldiers moving forward and those being forced back.

The actual infantry attack was supposed to commence the moment the bombardment lifted at 0540 hours but as the Gurkhas and Highlanders attempted to clamber across the numerous water filled ditches they were cut down by the machine gunners safe in their almost impregnable shelters."


Private John Ewing

1st Seaforth Highlanders,

KIA, 1st May 1915 

 

Private John Ewing was born at Tarbat in Easter Ross, his father, also called John, was the headmaster of Portmahomack School.

John worked in the retail department of Messers Mann, Bryars’ drapery business in Glasgow before the war and it was in Glasgow that he enlisted in the Seaforth Highlanders.

John was killed in action on 1st May, 1915. His brother Thomas was killed near Ypres on 4th October, 1917.


Sergeant John MacGillivary

4th Seaforth Highlanders,

KIA, 9th May 1915 

 

Sergeant John MacGillvray was born in Tain and worked for the Post Office after leaving school. He worked first as a telegraphic messanger and then as a postman at Culcudden before transferring to Tain. 

John enjoyed sports, he was a good cyclist and a football player of some note.

John joined the Seaforths upon mobilisation and fought with them until he was killed at Ypres on 9th May, 1915. 

He was 23 years old.

Remembered with Honour Le Touret Memorial

https://livesofthefirstworldwar.org/lifestory/2795888


Sergeant Alexander Graham

4th Seaforth Highlanders, KIA, 9th May 1915 

 

Sergeant Alexander Graham was born at Kildary near Tain. He enlisted in the 4th Bn. of the Seaforth Highlanders.

Son of Mrs Catherine Topley, of 2, Harrison Row, St. Peter's St., Radford, Notts.

Alexander was 27 years old. We do not have a photograph of him.

Remembered with Honour Le Touret Memorial

https://livesofthefirstworldwar.org/lifestory/1408970


Private Joseph Adamson

4th Seaforth Highlanders, KIA, 9th May 1915

Private Joseph Adamson was born at Wick. He enlisted in the Tain Coy of the 4th Bn. Seaforth Highlanders and arrived in France in November, 1914.

Joseph was killed in action in action at Aubers Ridge on 9th May, 1915.
He was 20 years old.

We do not have a photograph of him.

Although Private Adamson’s name was listed as John on the War Memorial it appears to be an error as Private John Adamson had no connection to Tain that we know of.

Remembered with Honour Le Touret Memorial

https://livesofthefirstworldwar.org/lifestory/195571 


Lance Corporal James Sangster

4th Seaforth Highlanders,

KIA, 9th May 1915 

 

L/cpl James Sangster was born at Fearn. His father Mr George Sangster  was the sanitary inspector in Tain. 

James learned his trade as a printer before the war. 

L/cpl Sangster had been in the Seaforths previously and had been discharged. He rejoined on the outbreak of the war and saw action in France. His Colonel wrote to his bereaved parents saying “Your boy fell gallantly, charging the enemy’s trenches”.

James died on 9th May, 1915 at Aubers Ridge.

Remembered with Honour Le Touret Memorial

https://livesofthefirstworldwar.org/lifestory/3898957


Private Malcolm Christie

4th Seaforth Highlanders,

KIA, 9th May 1915

Private Malcolm Christie was born at Edderton and worked for Highland Railway as a surfaceman. He enlisted in the 4th Bn. Seaforth Highlanders.

Malcolm was involved in the fighting at Aubers Ridge and according to a newspaper report there was some uncertainty as to his fate but his commanding officer wrote to his parents that Malcolm had been killed on 9th May, 1915.

He was 19 years old.

Remembered with Honour Le Touret Memorial

https://livesofthefirstworldwar.org/lifestory/806673


Private Alexander Mackay

4th Seaforth Highlanders,

KIA, 9th May 1915 

 

Private Alexander Mackay was born in Tain and listed as a grocer from Fountain House, Tain.

He enlisted in the 4th Seaforth Highlanders and died at Aubers Ridge on 9th May, 1915 along with 10 others listed on the memorial.

Remembered with Honour Le Touret Memorial

https://livesofthefirstworldwar.org/lifestory/2814671


Private George Mitchell 

4th Seaforth, KIA, 9th May 1915

Private George Mitchell was born in the parish of Tarbat. He enlisted in the 4th Bn. Seaforth Highlanders at Portmahomack .

He was killed at Aubers Ridge on 9th May, 1915. We do not know how old he was or have a photograph of him.

Remembered with Honour Le Touret Memorial

https://livesofthefirstworldwar.org/lifestory/3066812


Private Donald A Patience 

4th Seaforth Highlanders,

KIA, 9th May 1915 

Private Donald A Patience was born in the Parish of Tarbat and enlisted in the 
4th Seaforth Highlanders.

Donald was killed in action, one of 11 men listed on the Tain War Memorial who died on 9th May, 1915 at Aubers Ridge. He was 20 years old.

Remembered with Honour Le Touret Memorial

https://livesofthefirstworldwar.org/lifestory/3422896


Private Andrew Ross

4th Seaforth Highlanders,

KIA, 9th May 1915 

Piper Andrew Ross was born at in Nigg. He was living at Invergordon and working as a labourer when he joined the 4th Seaforth Highlanders. 

Andrew was killed in action at Aubers Ridge on 9th May, 1915. We do not know how old he was or have a photograph of him.

Remembered with Honour Le Touret Memorial

https://livesofthefirstworldwar.org/lifestory/3826066


Private Ronald Williamson,

4th Seaforth Highlanders,

KIA, 9th May 1915 

Private Ronald Williamson was born at Tain. He was living in Petley Street and working as a labourer when he enlisted in the 4th Seaforth Highlanders.

He was killed in action at Aubers Ridge on 9th May, 1915.

He was 19 years old

Remembered with Honour
Rue-Petillon Military Cemetery, Fleurbaix

https://livesofthefirstworldwar.org/lifestory/4791944

 


Private Thomas Williamson

4th Seaforth, KIA, 9th May 1915 

 

Private Thomas Williamson was born at Tain. At the time of enlisting he was living with his wife and child in Warden Street, Dingwall. 

Thomas had been a member of the Territorials since he was 16 and was mobilised with the battalion, going to France in November, 1915. He took part in the battle of Neuve Chapelle in March 1915 and died with several of his comrades on 9th May, 1915 at Aubers Ridge.
 
Thomas was 19 when he died. 

A newspaper report said he was “a bright, well-set up young fellow much liked by his comrades in the ranks.”

 

Remembered with Honour Le Touret Memorial

https://livesofthefirstworldwar.org/lifestory/4792294


Private John Percy

4th Seaforth, KIA, 9th May 1915 

 

Private John Percy was born at Tarbat and had worked as a farm servant at Rockfield near Portmahomack. He was listed as living in Dingwall before being mobilised with the 4th Seaforth Highlanders.

John was killed in action at Aubers Ridge on 9th May, 1915.

He was 18 years old.

Remembered with Honour Le Touret Memorial

 

https://livesofthefirstworldwar.org/lifestory/3475084 


Lance Corporal Alexander Learmonth

4th Seaforth, DOW, 20th May 1915 

L/cpl Alexander Learmonth was born at Parkhead in Haddingtonshire. His father was the Inspector for the Prudential Insurance Company, Munro Place, Tain.

Alexander was serving with the 4th Bn. Seaforth Highlanders when he was injured at Aubers Ridge on 9th May, 1915. He was taken to Lewisham hospital where he died of his wounds on 20th May, 1915 aged 21. According to a newspaper report Alexander’s death brought the number of casualties suffered by the 4th Bn. Seaforth Highlanders on 9th May to 171.

Alexander’s parents were living in Edinburgh and Alexander is buried there in  Piershill Cemetery.

https://livesofthefirstworldwar.org/lifestory/2338049


Private William Ross

48th Canadian, KIA, 29 May 1915 

 

Private William A Ross was born in Paisley, his father Mr W. Ross was a manager for Coats, a famous thread manufacturer. 

William worked as a cabinet maker for several years before he emigrated, first to Australia and then to Canada. On the outbreak of war he enlisted in the 48th Canadian Highlanders and arrived in France with the first Canadian contingent.

In 1915 at Ypres the Germans attacked a combined  Allied force using gas. The French colonial troops broke and fled leaving the 3rd Canadian Infantry Brigade, to receive the full brunt of the attack which they successfully repulsed despite heavy casualties.

Private Ross was reported missing after the battle and  it was later confirmed 
that he had been killed  on 29th May, 1915 and was buried near Ypres.

According to the report his widow Alexandria Ross was living in Tain.

Remembered with Honour Roeselare Communal Cemetery

https://livesofthefirstworldwar.org/lifestory/6088592


Private Robert Clark Mckenzie

6th Battalion Highland Light Infantry

KIA, 12th July 1915

Private Robert Clark Mckenzie was the son of Mr Roderick Mckenzie and Mrs Jane Clark, he was born in Tain in 1897 and went to Tain Royal Academy for a year before going to America with his mother in October 1903.


On the 26th of May 1915 Robert’s regiment sailed from Devonport for Gallipoli, via Egypt. They landed at Cape Helles on the 3rd of July.

Robert was killed in action on the 12 July during an attack at Achi Baba Nullah ("Bloody Valley"). The Highland Light Infantry lost 36 men killed, 162 wounded and 72 men missing during the attack.


Robert is remembered with Honour at the Helles memorial at Gallipoli in Turkey, one of over 20,000 casaulties  commemorated on this memorial.

Remembered with Honour Helles Memorial

https://livesofthefirstworldwar.org/lifestory/2826299


Private Alexander Macleod

4th Seaforth, DoW, 11th Aug 1915 

 

Private Alexander Macleod was born in Wick. He moved to Ardgay Hill and worked as a Railway Surfaceman before the war. Alexander was a member of the Tain Company of the 4th Seaforth Highlanders and a keen marksman. He was a member of the Edderton Rifle Club who won the Astor Cup.

 

Private Macleod went to France in November, 1914. He survived the battle of Neuve Chapelle but was wounded on 9th May 1915 and died of his wounds on 11th August 1915.

He was 35 years old.

 

Remembered with Honour
Cabaret-Rouge British Cemetery, Souchez

 

https://livesofthefirstworldwar.org/lifestory/2844551

 


Gunner Graham Urquhart         

Highland Mountain Brigade

DoW, 26 Aug,1915 

Gunner Graham Urquhart was born in Tain, his parents lived at Rose Cottage on Rose Street, Tain . Graham was living in Dingwall before the war and enlisted from there in the 4th Highland Mountain Brigade at the outbreak of the war.  The 4th HMB was attached to the Royal Garrison Artillery. 

Gunner Urquhart’s regiment were sent to Gallipoli on 21st March, 1915. The conditions that met the men there were atrocious, they suffered from dysentery, gastroenteritis, typhoid fever, pneumonia and cholera and faced plagues of fleas, flies and rats. 

Graham succumbed to pneumonia and was transferred to hospital in Egypt on 21st August, 1915. He died  there on 26th August aged 20.

Remembered with Honour
Alexandria (Chatby) Military and War Memorial Cemetery, Egypt.

https://livesofthefirstworldwar.org/lifestory/4541882


Lieutenant George A Mackenzie 

8th Gordon Highlanders

KIA, 25 September 1915

 

Lieutenant George A Mackenzie was born at Alness. He attended Tain Royal Academy before going on to  Fettes College, Edinburgh.  George later  studied  at Edinburgh University where he was awarded a Honours degree in Classics. He then went on to take classes in medicine spending a year on the Continent studying methods of physical education in relation to health. 

George obtained a commission in the 8th Battalion Gordon Highlanders and went to France with his regiment in May 1915.

Lieutenant Mackenzie was killed in action on 25th September, 1915 aged 24.

The adjutant of the battalion wrote of George: “In the terrible fighting which commenced on the 25th of September, your very gallant son rendered magnificent services to our very hard pressed company near the village of Haisnes. Even after he had been wounded his wonderful conduct greatly inspired our men to fight for hours against awful odds, which, in spite of all our efforts, compelled us to retire. He and his magnificent conduct will ever be remembered by the few of us of ‘C’ Coy. still remaining.”

Remembered with Honour Loos Memorial

https://livesofthefirstworldwar.org/lifestory/2824042


Lieutenant Thomas Mackay Munro 

7th Seaforth Highlanders

KIA, 25th Sep 1915

 

Lieutenant Thomas Mackay Munro was born in Lairg, Sutherland. He was educated at Tain Royal Academy and Edinburgh University where he was a member of the Officer Training Corps. Thomas was working as a teacher at the outbreak of the war. 

Thomas enlisted in the 5th Seaforth Highlanders and was gazetted to the 7th Seaforths after a few months. The battalion went to France in mid May 1915 landing at Boulogne.

The 7th Battalion were involved in the Battle of Loos losing their colonel and adjutant at eight o’clock in the morning. All four company commanders were killed or wounded early in the action and most of their officers became casualties to murderous shrapnel fire. The Seaforths held their position despite several German attacks.

Lieutenant  Munro was one of the officers who was killed on 25th September, 1915.

He was 24 years old.

Remembered with Honour Loos Memorial

https://livesofthefirstworldwar.org/lifestory/3172204


Lieutenant William Kennedy  

2nd Argyle & Sutherland Highlanders

KIA, 25th Sep 1915

Lieutenant William Kennedy was born at Carradale, Argyllshire. He was the son of Dr John Kennedy. His grandfather William had practiced medicine in Tain for 30 years. Lt William Kennedy studied at Tain Royal Academy and Wick High School. He enlisted in ‘U’ Company of the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders and mobilized on 4th August, 1914, leaving for France in February 1915. 

Lieutenant Kennedy was complimented by the Major-General commanding the third Division for his distinguished conduct in the field. He was recommended for the Distinguished Conduct Medal and singled out for promotion. After a course of training he was gazetted to the 2nd Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders in August 1915. William was serving with them when he was killed in action whilst leading his men to the assault at the Battle of Loos on 25th September, 1915. He was 19 years old.


William is buried at Cambrin Churchyard near Bethune. 79 men of the 2nd Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders all died on the first day of the Battle of Loos and are also buried in Cambrin Churchyard.

https://livesofthefirstworldwar.org/lifestory/4139369


Private Donald Morrison

4th Seaforth, KIA, 24th Oct 1915 

 

Private Donald Morrison was educated at Nigg School and  then trained as a butcher before the war. He joined the 4th Seaforth Highlanders in June 1915 and after 3 months training at Fort George was sent to France.  Six weeks after he arrived he received a shot to the head and died on the same day.

Both Donald’s Colonel and the Seaforth’s Chaplain wrote to Donald’s mother who was living in Ross Street, Tain. Colonel Cuthbert said that Donald “did not suffer and was at peace.”  Rev John Macleod said that he officiated at Donald funeral which was also attended by Colonel Cuthbert.

Donald is buried at Vielle Chapelle cemetery. 

He was 19 years old.

Donald’s brother was Private Evan Morrison who was also serving with the 4th Seaforths. Evan was injured and sent home to recover. Evan was with the 3/4th Seaforths in England at the time of Donald’s death.

Remembered with Honour Cabaret-Rouge British Cemetery, Souchez

https://livesofthefirstworldwar.org/lifestory/3139164


Private Hubert Mackay

4th Seaforth, KIA, 3rd Nov 1915 

 

Private Hubert Mackay was born at Kildary and was living at Lamington, Logie Easter. He joined the 4th Seaforths and went to France in November 1914.

Hubert was sent home to recover from measles and returned to France in June, 1915. He was killed by an exploding shell on 3rd November, 1915.

Lieutenant-Colonel Cuthbert wrote to Hubert’s parents to express his sympathy. He said that “Hubert was a great favourite with his comrades; a lad who knew his duty and did it fearlessly".

He was 19 years old.

Remembered with Honour Cabaret-Rouge British Cemetery, Souchez

https://livesofthefirstworldwar.org/lifestory/2816073


Private Kenneth R Cameron 

51st Australian Infantry

Died, 21st Nov 1915

Private Kenneth Cameron was born at Conon Bridge. He was the son of ex-Police Inspector Cameron who lived in Tain.

Kenneth was in Australia when the war broke out and enlisted in the Australian Infantry. He was taking part in the Gallipoli campaign when he was struck down by illness. Kenneth was invalided to Haslar hospital where he died on 21st November, 1915. He was 40 years old.

Remembered with Honour Portianos Military Cemetery

We do not have a photograph of him

https://livesofthefirstworldwar.org/lifestory/7381107

 

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