Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Seaman, R.N.R. James Macdonald Mackay

James Macdonald Mackay was born at Portskerra, Farr, son of Colin Mackay and his wife Catherine Macdonald and grandson of George Mackay, crofter and fisherman, and his wife Elizabeth Mackay and of James Macdonald, fisherman, and his wife Catherine Cameron.

James died aboard H.M.S. Victory on 12th September 1918 from pneumonia.  He is buried in a War Grave in Kirkton Melvich Burial Ground.  His parents are buried in the same burial ground. James is commemorated on the Portskerra and Melvich War Memorial and is recorded in the Clan Mackay Society War Memorial Roll of Honour.

Photograph by Christine Stokes

Pte. Thomas Mackay & his brother Pte. William Mackay

Thomas (Tommy)born 24th August 1892 and his brother William (Willie) born 7th December 1895 were born at Achumore, Strath Halladale, Farr, sons of John Mackay, crofter, and his wife Catherine Mackay.  The boys are grandsons of John Mackay, master gardener and his wife Helen Chambers and off John Mackay, crofter, and Marjory Mackay.

Pte. Thomas Ross Mackay, 5th Battalion Seaforth Highlanders died of pneumonia on 30th April 1915 at Bedford, England.  He was taken back to Sutherland and buried in a War Grave next to his family grave in Melvich Kirkton, Farr. He was 22 years old.

Pte. William Sutherland Mackay, also with the 5th Battalion Seaforth Highlanders was killed in action on 14th September 1915 at Albert, Somme, France. He is buried in Becourt Military Cemetery there.

Both boys are commemorated on Strath Halladale War Memorial, Clan Mackay Society War Memorial Roll of Honour and on their parents' gravestone.

Photograph above taken by Christine Stokes

Becourt Miltary Cemetery, Somme, France

Becourt and Albert villages were behind the lines for the Battle of the Somme in 1916, and were important areas during that time as well as before. Becordel-Becourt was the location of a large artillery depot, and many troops bivouacked here as they made their way up the lines. The village lies in a valley, and so was protected from the lines near Fricourt to the east by the contours of the land. Because of this, it was also an area used by the medical facilities of the Army; the 14th Field Ambulance were based here for the start of the Battle of the Somme with other Field Ambulance units being sited here later during the battles, and there were also Advanced Dressing Stations here as well. The Military Cemetery was begun in August, 1915, by the 51st (Highland) Division, and carried on by other Divisions in the line until the Battles of the Somme, 1916. It continued in use, chiefly by Field Ambulances, until April, 1917 another plot was made by the 18th Division at the end of August, 1918. There are over 700 casualties buried here.

See also:

Lance Cpl. William A. Macgregor

William was born around 1895 at Loch Carron, Ross-shire, son of Archibald Macgregor, baker, and his wife Mary Hardy.  This family were living in The Custom's House, Shore Street, Helmsdale, Kildonan, in the 1901 census. William's younger siblings Alice and George Alexander were born in Hemsdale.  His older brother John H. Macgregor who was born in Morayshire also lived in the town.
William was with the 5th Battalion Seaforth Highlanders.  He was discharged as unfit in May 1918 and died on 26th October that year.  He is buried in Helmsdale Cemetery in a War Grave and is commemorated on the Kildonan War Memorial.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Pte W Macintosh, New Zealand Field Artillery

William was born 5th September 1886 in Eddrachillis, son of Hugh Macintosh and his wife Robina Calder of Achriesgill, Eddrachillis.  He emigrated to New Zealand where he was employed as a miner. On 9th September 1914 he joined the New Zealand Expeditionary Forces. He was 5'8" tall, weighed 147lbs, had a fair complexion, blue eyes and fair hair.  He was fit and healthy.

William's Military History Sheet shows that he was in New Zealand on 14th September 1914 and then transferred to Egypt as a driver in the New Zealand Artillery. He was wounded by a stray bullet in the Dardanelles on 12th Spetember 1915. He was admitted to hospital on Malta and later transferred to hospital in England. He died on 21st February 1916 at Walton on Thames Hospital, London. His war record states that he was buried in Walton but he does have a War Grave in Oldshore Burial Ground, Oldshoremore, Eddrachillis.

William was awarded the British War Medal and the victory Medal. His next of kin was his father Hugh in Achriesgill who was awarded his army pension of £15 per annum.

William is commemorated on the Kinlochbervie War Memorial and in the New Zealand Roll of Honour, The Scottish National War Memorial, Edinburgh Castle.

Thanks to Shona Mackay, New Zealand for the above information.
Photograph by Christine Stokes

Pte Peter Gordon, Seaforth Highlanders

Peter was born at West Helmsdale, Kildonan, son of Peter Gordon and his wife Isabella Mackay. Young Peter was the grandson of Joseph Gordon, crofter of Kildonan, and his wife Elizabeth Sutherland and also of William Mackay, weaver in Farr, and his wife Barbara Mackay.

Peter enlisted in the army in 1911.  He was discharged in July 1917 when he returned home.  He died at Badnellan, West Helmsdale, on 15th July 1918 aged 25 years.  He is buried in a War Grave in Helmsdale cemetery, next to his father who had died in 1917.  Peter is commemorated on Kildonan War Memorial, Helmsdale.

Pte (Sniper) William Mackay, Seaforth Highlanders

William Mackay was born in Clyne on 30th June 1872, son of John Mackay, crofter, and his wife, Williamina Ross. The family lived at West Clyne. William was a plumber to trade and married Jane Mowatt Murray, known as Jeannie.  They lived in Roslyn Street, Brora, Clyne. William enlisted in the army in 1908.  He was with the 5th Battalion Seaforth Highlanders.  He was mobilised in August 1914 arriving in France on 1st May 1915. In December that year he was discharged on medical grounds and remained on the sick list until his death. He died on 29th January 1918 in Roslin Street, Brora. He was awarded the 1914/15 Star, War Medal and the Victory Medal.  He is buried in a War Grave in Clyne Cemetery, Brora.  he is commemorated on the family headstone in the same cemetery and listed on the Clyne War Memorial and the Clyne Parish Church War Memorial.  His wife Jeannie died in 1963.

Pte. Donald Macleod, Seaforth Highlanders

Pte. Donald Macleod was born in Assynt circa 1891, son of Norman Macleod, carpenter (born in Assynt) and his wife Catherine Ross who was born in Coigach, Wester Ross. Donald, a joiner to trade, died while with the 5th Battalion Seaforth Highlanders from measles and pneumonia at a depot in Bedford, England.  He was returned to Lochinver for burial in Lochinver Cemetery with a War Grave and is commemorated on Lochinver War Memorial.

Donald is the grandson of Donad Macleod and his wife Margaret Macrae and of John Ross and Elizabeth Macdonnel.

Pte Donald Sutherland, Seaforth Highlanders

 Donald Sutherland was born circa 1886 Clyne. He died 8th May 1920 near the railway bridge, Brora, when he accidentally drowned whilst trout fishing, aged 29 years – he served in the war arriving in France on 1st May 1915, Private with the 5th Battalion, Seaforth Highlanders, he was demobilized after the war and returned to his trade as a journeyman plumber – following his death he was buried in a War Grave in Brora Cemetery and commemorated on the Clyne War Memorial.

Donald is the son of Roderick  Sutherland (born Clyne) and his wife Jessie Ewing (born Rogart).  He is the grandson of John Sutherland, crofter, and his wife Janet Macdonald and of Alexander Ewing, ploughman, and his wife Marion Macpherson.

Pte. J. Macdonald, Seaforth Highlanders

Private John Macdonald (Johnie), 1/5th Battalion Seaforth Highlanders, died 1st June 1920 at Gower Street, Brora, Clyne, aged 31 years.  He is buried in Brora, Clyne, Cemetery in a War Grave and commemorated on Clyne War Memorial.

Johnie was born in Clyne, son of John Macdonald, an engine driver (born Golspie) and his wife Celia (born Clyne). Johnie was a carpenter to trade in Durham, England.  He was very ill and returned home from Durham shortly before his death.

Trooper W J Sutherland, WW2

Trooper William John Sutherland, Lovat Scouts died in World War Two on 22nd January 1942 in Lanarkshire. He is buried in Brora Cemetery, Clyne in War Grave, commemorated on family headstone, Clyne War Memorial and on the Lovat Scouts Roll of Honour in The Scottish National War Memorial, Edinburgh.  William was single.

William was born 6th April 1916 in Clyne, son of William Sutherland of Brora, Clyne and his wife Johan Murray.  Grandson of Alexander Sutherland and his wife Mary Baillie and of Alexander Murray and his wife Janet Gordon.

Leading Seaman W. G. Alexander WW2

William Green Alexander, Leading Seaman, Royal Navy Patrol Service, H. M. Trawler 'Gloria', drowned 19th March 1942 St. Mary's Holm, Kirkwall, Orkney, age 30 years.  William was born in Watten, Caithness, and lived with his wife Jessie Ann Alexander of Embo, Dornoch, in Wick.  William was a painter pre war service. He is buried in a War Grave in Dornoch Golf Road Cemetery and listed on the Dornoch War Memorial.
Photograph by Christine Stokes

Lt. William Sutherland, WW2

Lt. William Munro Sutherland, Royal Army Pay Corps, died 28th January 1946 aged 59 years, buried in War Grave, Dornoch Golf Road Cemetery. Son of James Sutherland and his wife Catherine, husband of Margaret Mackay.
Photograph by Christine Stokes

Gunner Angus Mackay, WW2

Gunner Angus Swanson Mackay (Angie), Airlanding Light Regiment, Royal Artillery, died 29th Spetember 1945 age 21, son of Thomasina Mackay, Embo, Dornoch and nephew of John Mackay, Embo, buried Dornoch Golf Road Cemetery.  Commemorated on Dornoch War Memorial.
Photograph by Christine Stokes.

Pte. Hugh Munro

Pte Hugh Munro, 1/5th Battalion, Seaforth Highlanders, died 4th April 1915 age 19, born 1896 Dornoch, son of Hugh Munro, crofter, and his wife Betsy of Rearquhar, Dornoch.
Hugh is buried in Dornoch Golf Road Cemetery, listed on the Dornoch War Memorial and commemorated on the Memorial plaque in Dornoch Free Church.

Photograph by Christine Stokes

Monday, 16 November 2009

Pte. Christopher Mackay

Pte. Christopher Mackay (Machugh), Home Service Section, New Zealand Imperial Force - also shown as Quartermaster Sergeant (Warrant Officer Second Class) New Zealand Expeditionary Forces, Service Number 16921. Died 12th October 1918 at Featherstone Camp, buried Featherstone Soldiers Cemetery, Wellington, New Zealand. Brother of Miss B. Mackay, Achriesgill, Eddrachillis. He was born circa 1869.

Christopher was born in Achriesgill about 1871 to Barbara Mackay. Barbara was a daughter of Angus Mackay and Barbara McCallum. Christopher grew up in Achriesgill and he emigrated to New Zealand sometime after 1891. He is commemorated on Kinlochbervie War Memorial. See also National War Memorial New Zealand. Information from Ray Mackay, Scourie, Eddrachillis.

William Macdonald and brother John

Pte William Macdonald, Seaforth Highlanders, died 21st March 1918 in France.  On the same day his brother Lance Corporal John Macdonald, Seaforth Highlanders, died age 23, also in France.

They are sons of Pipe Major William Macdonald and his wife Jessie Murray of Craigmohr, Golspie.  Pipe Major Macdonald was born in Rogart.  His wife in Brora, Clyne. In 1901 this family were living in Main Street, Golspie.  Pipe Major William died in 1909.  Jessie lived until 1933.  They are buried in Golspie where William and John are commemorated on their gravestone.

The boys are also commemorated on The Arras War Memorial, France and on Golspie War Memorial.
Photographs of the panels at Arras by Shirley Sutherland.

Lance Cpl. John Bain

Lance Corporal John Bain, 5th Battalion, Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders, killed in action 13th March 1917 France.  John was born at Rosskeen, Ross-shire.  He is the son of Mr Bain, shepherd, Clayside, Golspie.  His home is shown as Dunrobin Glen, Golspie and he enlisted in Golspie in 1915.  Would like to know more about John if anyone can help.  Who are his parents?

He is buried in Faubourg D'Amiens Cemetery, Arras, France and listed on the Golspie War Memorial.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Lt. JG Robert Neil Mackay SC

LTJG Robert Neil McKay, SC, United States Naval Reserve, World War Two
Robert Neil McKay was a Supply Officer of the USS Aaron Ward during the later stages of World War II. He was awarded the Silver Star posthumously, the only Supply Officer to have earned the award. Born on July 10, 1920 in Los Angeles, California, he was the youngest of three children of Neil and Lillian Stoddard McKay. He was the grandson of Neil McKay and Mary Gunn of Sydenham Township, Grey County, Ontario, Canada, and the great great grandson of Angus McDonald and Isobel McKay who had emigrated in 1841 from Farr, Sutherland.

On February 4, 1942 Robert, who suffered from seasickness, enlisted in the Naval Reserve Midshipmen’s School and was assigned to the Aaron Ward. On April 30, 1945 kamikazes attacked the ship off the coast of Okinawa, damaged it, but did not manage to sink it. In one of these attacks, Robert was injured but stayed on to fight. A kamikaze plane stuck the deckhouse bulkhead that Robert and his fellow gun crew were manning.   Robert and his crew are officially listed as missing in action.

CDR Sanders, the Aaron Ward’s commanding officer, recommended Robert Mckay for the Silver Star. He wrote, “As Sky Three Officer, he directed the fire of his automatic weapons and caused them to deliver a deadly barrage against the enemy. Although injured from the first suicide crash nearby, he remained at his station, rallying his men for the impending attacks. His heroic perseverance was in keeping with the highest traditions of the Naval Service. He is now missing in action.”
In addition to the Silver Star, Robert McKay was awarded the World War II Victory Medal, American Campaign Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, Presidential Unit Citation and Purple Heart. His name is listed among the Tablets of the Missing at the Honolulu Memorial (Hawaii).
Placed here by Carol Small.

Pte. James Armstrong

James Armstrong born circa 1883, killed in action 12th May 1916 France, Private, 6th Battalion, Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders – buried Vermelles British Cemetery, France, listed on Lairg War Memorial.

James was born at Shiness, Lairg, son of Joseph Gordon Armstrong, shepherd, and his wife Barbara Ross. This family lived for many years at Blairbuie, Shiness.  James's parents are buried in Lairg Cemetery.  Descendants of this family still live in Sutherland today.

Vermelles British Cemetery, France

Vermelles British Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France

Vermelles was in German hands from the middle of October 1914 to the beginning of December 1914, when it was recaptured by the French. The cemetery was begun in August 1915 (though a few graves are slightly earlier), and during the Battle of Loos, when the Chateau was used as a dressing station, Plot I was completed. It was laid out and fenced by the Pioneers of the 1st Gloucesters, and known for a long time as "Gloucester Graveyard". The remaining Plots were made by the Divisions (from the Dismounted Cavalry Division onwards) holding the line 1.6 kilometres East of the cemetery until April 1917, and they incorporated a few isolated French graves of October 1914. From April 1917, to the Armistice, the cemetery was closed; but after the Armistice graves were brought in (to Plots II, IV and VI) from the battlefields to the East.
There are 2,134 graves here.

See also:
James Armstrong

Canadian National War Memorial

Canada's National War Memorial is situated in Ottowa
The above photograph shows Canada's Parliament Building in the background.
Photograph by David Thomas

A close up of the centre part of the memorial taken by Judi McLeod

 This photograph by Dorothy Blais was taken in November 2008
when this special vigil was created of all the veterans of WW1  It took place in 6 cities in Canada and one in England. The names were illuminated gradually for all to see and pay their respects.

Photograph above taken by David Thomas on 11th November 2009.
A group of mounted police are to the left of a platoon of soldiers. This cemetery is the only national war cemetery in Canada, and is only a few years old; the country's fallen in the first and second world wars are buried in Commonwealth war cemeteries throughout Europe.

The following Canadians are listed on the War Memorials of Sutherland
(CEF = Canadian Expeditionary Force)

AIRD John Cpll 1st Canadian Mounted Rifles – Lochinver WM WW1
BANNERMAN Angus Pte 11th Bn CEF - Kildonan WM WW1
CAMPBELL David L/Sgt 16th Bn CEF – Melness WM WW1
CAMPBELL George Pte 5th Bn CEF - Loth WM WW1
CAMPBELL John L Pte M.M. 8th Bn CEF – Lairg WM WW1
CAMPBELL Lorne Lt Canadian Mounted Rifles – Rosehall WM WW1
DAVIDSON Alexander Sgt 85th Bn CEF - Loth WM WW1
DENEAUX Raymond Pte Canadian Forestry Corps - Creich WM WW2
DUFF Walter Cpl 16th Bn CEF - Creich WM WW1
DUNCAN Robert G Pte 43rd Bn CEF – Clyne WM WW1
GORDON Thomas S Pte 2nd Canadian Pioneers - Kildonan WM WW1
GRAHAM Hugh Pte 25th Bn CEF – Lochinver WM WW1
GRANT John Pte 5th Bn CEF – Dornoch WM WW1
GRANT William Signaller 8th Bn CEF – Clyne WM WW1
GRAY Malcolm M Cpl 102nd Bn CEF – Lairg WM WW1
GREY G Pte CEF - Kinlochbervie WM WW1
GUNN Angus Lance Cpl 43rd Bn CEF – Strathnaver WM WW1
KERR Murdo Pte 1st Canadian Mounted Rifles – Lochinver WM WW1
KERR William Pte 5th Bn CEF – Lochinver WM WW1
LEVY George Pte 43rd Bn CEF - Creich WM WW1
MACDONALD Alexander Pte 173rd Bn CEF - Golspie WM WW1
MACDONALD Murdo Pte 1st Reserve Bn CEF – Lochinver WM WW1
MACKAY Alexander R Pte CEF – Lairg WM WW1
MACKAY Alexander S Pte 28th Bn CEF - Strathnaver WM WW1
MACKAY Andrew Pte CEF - Loth WM WW1
MACKAY Angus Pte 5th Bn CEF - Rogart WM WW1
MACKAY, Daniel G, Pte, CEF - Skerray WM WW1
MACKAY Donald Pte 20th Bn CEF - Strathnaver WM WW1
MACKAY, Eric, Pte, 15th Bn CEF - Skerray WM WW1
MACKAY George Pte 10th Bn CEF - Strath Halladale WW1
MACKAY George W Pte 16th Bn CEF – Melness WM WW1
MACKAY George Pte CEF - Creich WM WW1
MACKAY Neil Sgt MM 31st Bn CEF - Kildonan WM WW1
MACKENZIE Kenneth Sgt 25th Bn CEF - Rogart WM WW1
MACLEAN John Pte CEF – Lochinver WM WW1
MACLEOD Angus Pte 16th Bn CEF – Lochinver WM WW1
MACLEOD Benjamin 2nd Lt Canadian Field Artillery - Strath Halladale WW1
MACLEOD John Pte CEF – Lochinver WM WW1
MACLEOD William Stoker Royal Navy Canadian Volunteer Reserve – Lochinver WM WW1
MACPHERSON Donald Pte CEF – Clyne WM WW1
MACRAE Alexander Pte 8th Bn CEF – Clyne WM WW1
MATHESON George Sgt 49th Bn CEF – Lochinver WM WW1
MATHESON Henry Sgt 52nd Bn CEF – Lochinver WM WW1
MELVILLE Charles Regimental Sgt Major 5th Canadian Mounted Rifles - Rogart WM WW1
MELVILLE William Pte 1st Bn Grenadier Guards - Loth WM WW1
MILNE, William G Pte 43rd Bn CEF - Skerray WM WW1
MORRISON William Pte CEF – Scourie WW1
MUNRO Donald Sgt 16th Bn CEF - Tongue WM WW1
MUNRO William Pte Toronto Scottish (Machine Gun) Regt – Lochinver WM WW2
MURRAY George Pe Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry - Kildonan WM WW1
O'BRIEN George Sgt 27th Bn CEF – Strathnaver WM WW1
POLSON Alexander Pte CEF - Kildonan WM WW1
RANKINE Donald H Pte 43rd Bn CEF – Melness WM WW1
ROSS Alexander R Pte Canadian Transport Service – Bettyhill WM WW1
ROSS Andrew Sgt 5th Bn CEF – Clyne WM WW1
ROSS John D Pte 19th Bn CEF – Dornoch WM WW1
SHAW Okain C Pte 4th Canadian Mounted Rifles - Tongue WM WW1
SUTHERLAND Alexander Pte CEF – Clyne WM WW1
SUTHERLAND Alexander Pte CEF - Kildonan WM WW1
SUTHERLAND Donald Pte 52nd Bn CEF – Clyne WM WW1
SUTHERLAND Kenneth Pte 43rd Bn CEF – Clyne WM WW1
WALLACE Mark Pte 16th Bn CEF - Loth WM WW1

See also:
BAILLIE Nova Scotia

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Dornoch Cathedral

I apologise for the poor quality of this photograph but anyone who has ried to photograph a brass plaque in a Cathedral will understand.
This is the Roll of Honour to the War Dead inside Dornoch Cathedral.

Plus this stone plaque erected by the 5th Battalion Seaforth Highlanders

Photographs by Christine Stokes

A. T. Murray, Royal Navy

Memorial in Kirkwall Cathedral, Orkney

HMS Royal Oak was a Revenge-class battleship of the British Royal Navy, torpedoed at anchor by the German submarine U-47 on 14 October 1939.  The Royal Oak was anchored at Scapa Flow in Orkney, Scotland when she became the first of the five Royal Navy battleships and battlecruisers sunk in the Second World War. The loss of life was heavy: of Royal Oak's complement of 1,234 men and boys, 833 were killed that night or died later of their wounds. Now lying upside-down in 30 m of water with her hull 5 m beneath the surface, Royal Oak is a designated war grave. In an annual ceremony to mark the loss of the ship, Royal Navy divers place a White Ensign underwater at her stern. Unauthorised divers are prohibited from approaching the wreck at any time.

One of the sailors who lost his life on board was Archibald Theodore Murray, born 1898 in Norwich, England, great grandson of William Murray, Rhemusaig, Rogart, and his wife Catherine Grant. He is shown on the memorial as A T Murray.

For anyone researching ancestors in Orkney I have included the above photograph taken inside the Cathedral of their 1914 -1918 Memorial Ross.
Photographs taken by Christine Stokes.  Archibald Murray is on my own family tree.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Varennes, Somme, France

Varennes Military Cemetery, Somme, France
The cemetery was laid out by the 39th Casualty Clearing Station in August 1916, during the Battle of the Somme, but the first burials were made during August and September by more mobile divisional field ambulances. The 4th and 11th Casualty Clearing Stations then used the cemetery from October 1916, joined by the 47th from December 1916, but by May 1917 Varennes was deserted and remained so until the Germans launched their offensive in this quarter in April 1918. The cemetery was then extended by the 17th and 38th (Welsh) Divisions by the addition of plots II and III, and at the beginning of September 1918, the 3rd Canadian and 59th Casualty Clearing Stations arrived at Varennes.

See also:

Pte. George Morrison, Seaforth Highlanders

Pte. George Morrison, Seaforth Highlanders was killed in action 13th November 1916 Beaumont Hamel, France, age 20 years. Buried Varennes Military Cemetery, France - plot I.E.54.  Commemorated on Kinlochbervie War Memorial. George is the son of Falconer Morrison and his wife Johan Macleod who lived in Achriesgill, Kinlochbervie.

Sgt. Robert Sutherland, Seaforth Highlanders

Sgt. Robert Sutherland, Seaforth Highlanders.

Killed in Action 9th April 1917 The Scarpe, Arras, France.
Robert was born in Clyne in 1893, son of George and Robina Sutherland of Moss Hill, Brora. He worked for the North of Scotland Bank starting his career with them at Brora in 1908.  At the time of mobilization he was working in the Eastgate Branch, Inverness. He is commemorated on the Arras Memorial, France, Bay 8.  He is also commemorated on the Clyne War Memorial.  Listed on the Clyne United Free Church War Memorial, recorded in the Seaforth Highlanders Ross of Honour, The Scottish National War Memorial, Edinburgh Castle and recorded in the North of Scotland Bank Roll of Honour book and on their memorial in Aberdeen.

Photograph by Shirley Sutherland.

Sgt. Alexander Macdonald

Sgt. Alexander Macdonald, Seaforth Highlanders, killed in action 13th November 1916 Beaumont Hamel, France. Alexander was born in Golspie in 1884 and worked as a gamekeeper for Sutherland Estates, living in Dunrobin Kennels. He is the son of John and Margaret Macdonald.

Buried Mailly Wood Cemetery, France, listed on Golspie War Memorial and also on the Strathardle War Memorial, Perthshire, where his parents were living.  He is also recorded in Clan Donald Roll of Honour Book.

Photograph by Shirley Sutherland.

Maroeuil British Cemetery, France

Maroeuil British Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France

This cemetery has 563 Commonwealth burials.  Almost half are the graves of those of Highland Territorials.

See also:

Alexander Sutherland & brother Roderick

Lance Cpl. Alexander Sutherland, 2nd Battalion, Seaforth Highlanders, Killed in Action 24th May 1915, age 26 in Belgium.  Alexander was born in Golspie, son of Mr and Mrs G. Sutherland of Myron's Lane, Golspie.  He was a regular solder. Alexander is commemorated on panel 38 of the Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres, Belgium and on the Golspie War Memorial.  He is also recorded on The Seaforth Highlanders Ross of Honour in The Scottish National War Memorial, Edinburgh Castle.

Also his brother Pte. Roderick John Sutherland, 1/5th Battalion, Seaforth Highlanders, Killed in Action 24th March 1916 France.  Roderick is buried in the Maroeuil British Cemetery, France.  He is commemorated on Golspie War Memorial with his brother Alexander, and also in the Seaforth Highlanders Roll of Honour, The Scottish National War Memorial, Edinburgh Castle. Roderick was a former member of the Golspie Boys Brigade.

Photograph of Menin Gate panel by Shirley Sutherland

Beaumont Hamel, The Somme, France

Beaumont Hamel British Cemetery on the Somme has brick entrance pillars by the gateway, but otherwise a low hedge surrounds the cemetery (although behind this on the field side at the back and the right of the Cemetery is a very low concrete wall, presumably for structural reasons). The Cemetery, standing in the old No Mans Land, was started after the village was taken on the 13th of November 1916, and was used until February 1917. As with many other cemeteries, more graves were moved here after the Armistice.

It now contains 97 identified and 82 unidentified burials from the Great War, in two long rows of graves. Many of the burials are 1st of July casualties. There are two special memorials to men known to be buried here, which are located directly behind the Cross of Sacrifice at the back of the cemetery.

Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders Memorial

A grass track from this cemetery takes you to Hawthorn Cemetery where the Memorial to the 8th Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders stands.  The front panel has an inscription in Gaelic - a small panel lists the 1915 51st (Highland) Division battle honours - on the rear of the memorial a large panel is that of the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders - a small panel on the front left, lists the 1917 51st (Highland) Division battle honours.

The Newfoundland Memorial
At Beaumont-Hamel there is also the Newfoundland Memorial, a memorial site dedicated to the commemoration of Dominion of Newfoundland forces members who were killed during World War I. The site is situated 9 kilometres north of Albert, France near the town of Beaumont-Hamel in an area containing numerous cemeteries and memorials related to the Battle of the Somme. The preserved battlefield park encompasses the grounds over which the Newfoundland Regiment made their unsuccessful attack on 1 July, 1916 during the Battle of the Somme. The Battle of the Somme was the regiment's first major engagement and during an assault that lasted approximately 30 minutes was all but wiped out. Purchased by the people of Newfoundland, the site is the largest battalion memorial on the Western Front and the largest area of the Somme battlefield that has been preserved. Along with preserved trench lines, there are a number of memorials and cemeteries contained within the site.

Please also note that at least one of 'our' soldiers who died at Beaumont Hamel is buried in Maily Wood Cemetery, France.

Three of above photographs taken by Morag Sutherland and Shirley Sutherland.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Pte. William M. Melville

Guardsman William M. Melville, Grenadier Guards, died of wounds in France 13th March 1915 aged 29 years.

William was born at Portgower, Loth, son of Hugh Melville and his wife Elizabeth Morrison.  He is the grandson of James Morrison and Janet Whyte of Foindlemore, Eddrachillis. He lived in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. He is buried in Merville Communal Cemetery, France and also commemorated on Loth War Memorial.

Merville Cemetery, France

Merville was the scene of fighting between the Germans and French and British cavalry early in October 1914 but from the 9th of that month to 11 April 1918, it remained in Allied hands. In October 1914, and in the autumn of 1915, the town was the headquarters of the Indian Corps. It was a railhead until May 1915, and a billeting and hospital centre from 1915-1918. The 6th and Lahore Casualty Clearing Stations were there from the autumn of 1914 to the autumn of 1915; the 7th from December 1914, to April 1917; the 54th (1st/2nd London) from August 1915 to March 1918, and the 51st (Highland) from May 1917 to April 1918. On the evening of 11 April 1918, in the Battles of the Lys, the Germans forced their way into Merville and the town was not retaken until 19 August. The cemeteries were not used again until the concentration of battlefield burials into the Extension began, after the Armistice. Merville Communal Cemetery was used by French troops (chiefly cavalry) in October 1914, and for Commonwealth burials from that date until August 1916 (in the case of officers, to March 1918). It now contains 1,268 Commonwealth burials of the First World War, and 21 French and German war graves. Merville Communal Cemetery Extension was opened in August 1916, and used by Commonwealth and Portuguese hospitals until April 1918. It was enlarged after the Armistice when graves were brought in from the battlefields immediately north and east of Merville and from Caudescure Halte Cemetery, Morbecque.
Photographed by Morag Sutherland.

See also:

Pte. James Murray

Pte. James Murray, Seaforth Highlanders, Killed in Action 21st March 1918 aged 39 years.  Commemorated on Arras Memorial, France. Also commemorated on Golspie War Memorial and on his parents' gravestone in Golspie (photograph below).
James was born 31st January 1878 in Golspie, son of David Murray, tailor, and his wife Janet Mackay (Jessie) who lived at West End, Golspie.

Arras Memorial photograph by Shirley Sutherland
Golspie gravestone photograph by Christine Stokes

Major L St. V. Rose and his brother Captain Ronald Rose

Major Launcelot St. Vincent Rose, 55th Field Coy., Royal Engineers, died 27th November 1914 aged 39 years, a regular soldier.  Buried Rue-Petillon Military Cemetery, Fleurbaix, France. Listed on the The St Mary's Congregation War Memorial, The Churchyard, Elvetham, Hants.

Captain Ronald Walrond Hugh Rose, 1st Bn Cameronians (Scottish Rifles), died 22nd October 1914 aged 34 years, regular soldier, commemorated on Ploegseert Memorial, Belgium and on the Cameronians Memorial, Dunkeld Cathedral.

Sons of Frederick William Rose and his wife Katherine Witherby who commemorated their sons on the Rose Family Memorial window and tablet in Creich Parish Church.

Photographs by Hector Macrae, Bonar Bridge.

Lt. Col. Donald A. Mackenzie

Lieutenant-Colonel Donald A. MacKenzie, DSO, DSC
In memory of the 48th Highlanders of Canada, nineteen of whom fell in and around the municipality of Voorst, including the Commanding Officer Lieutenant-Colonel Donald A. MacKenzie, DSO, DSC, born 9 July 1914 in Kincardine, Ontario, Canada, killed in action on 12th April 1945 at Wilp in the municipality of Voorst"

The permanent resting place for Lieutenant-Colonel Donald A. MacKenzie and his comrades is the Canadian Military Cemetery in Holten, Holland.

Grandson of Donald Mackenzie, born 1821 Clashnessie, Assynt, and his wife Catherine Macleod, who emigrated to Bruce County, Ontario, Canada, and brought up a family there. See also National War Memorial of Canada.

Information from Marian MacLeod.

  1. I'm confused by the DSC reference. That is a naval award and MacKenzie was in the Army. There is no reference to it on the Commonwealth War Graves commission database entry either.
    Is this a mistake or should the CWGC be contacted to correct their records.


  2. Adam, I have today been sent information regarding your note above which states that this is not a mistake and that we should see It is not a mistake, see the following page 

    Thanks to Andrew for this information.

Holten Canadian War Cemetery, Holland

The Netherlands fell to the Germans in May 1940 and was not re-entered by Allied forces until September 1944. The great majority of those buried in Holten Canadian War Cemetery died during the last stages of the war in Holland, during the advance of the Canadian 2nd Corps into northern Germany, and across the Ems in April and the first days of May 1945. After the end of hostilities their remains were brought together into this cemetery. Holten Canadian War Cemetery contains 1,393 Commonwealth burials of the Second World War.

See also:

Vimy Ridge Canadian Cemetery, France

The Canadian National Vimy Memorial is a memorial site in France dedicated to the memory of Canadian Expeditionary Force members killed during the First World War. It also serves as the place of commemoration for First World War Canadian soldiers killed, or presumed dead, in France that have no known grave. The monument is the centrepiece of a 250-acre (100 ha) preserved battlefield park that encompasses a portion of the grounds over which the Canadian Corps made their assault during the Battle of Vimy Ridge, a military engagement fought as part of the Battle of Arras.

The Battle of Vimy Ridge was the first occasion whereupon all four divisions of the Canadian Expeditionary Force participated in a battle as a cohesive formation, and thus became a Canadian nationalistic symbol of achievement and sacrifice. In recognition of Canada's war efforts, France granted Canada perpetual use of a portion of land on Vimy Ridge under the understanding that the Canadian use the land to establish a battlefield park and memorial. Wartime tunnels, trenches, craters and unexploded munitions still honeycomb the grounds of the site, which remains largely closed off for public safety. Along with preserved trench lines, there are a number of other memorials and cemeteries contained within the site.

Photograph taken by Morag who wrote: "This is taken from an rather unusual, can see the spirit of Canada looking down on  - I always think she is crying for the young of the nation.she is looking over the Douai plain - the Canadians of course took this ridge in April 1917 and because they claim nationhood was forged in the blood shed here they chose this site for the national memorial".

Pte. William McNicol

Pte. William Macnicol, 6th (Morayshire) Bn., Seaforth Highlanders, died 7th April 1918 at Dall, Durness, aged 40 years. Born in Glenorchy, Argyll, son of William Macnicol, shepherd and Catherine Macvicar. Husband of Isabella Macleod (Bella) who lived at Raasay, Kyle.  William is buried at Balnakeil, Durness.

Photograph by Angi Lamb.

David, Donald & Hugh Oliver

Pte. Hugh Oliver, Seaforth Highlanders, died 11th May 1917, age 23, buried St Mary's Churchyard, Harlow, Essex - gravestone above, commemorated on Golspie War Memorial with his brothers David and Hugh.  Sons of David Oliver, shepherd, and his wife Kate Macgregor of Academy Street, Brora, Clyne. Hugh was born in Dunbeath, Caithness.

Brother Pte. Donald Oliver, Seaforth Highlanders, died 2nd September 1917, commemorated on Golspie War Memorial, lived in Golspie, born in Lairg.

Brother Cpl. David Oliver, Seaforth Highlanders, died 4th March 1918 hospital, Paisley, age 22 years following being discharged in December 1917 as medically unfit due to gun shot wounds, born Golspie, lived Kirkton Farm, Golspie.

Note: would the gentleman who left a comment here earlier today please email me - email link on left.  Thanks.