Galloway’s Great War

Now it is August 1915, more Belgian refugees arrive in Newton Stewart and a Galloway soldier is recognised for gallantry.

The Galloway Gazette August 14th, 1915

Another family of Belgian refugees arrived in Newton Stewart on Thursday, and have been housed in Ellangowan.

The family consists of husband, wife and two sons aged 14 and 11.

The husband was a soldier in the Belgian Army, and after seven months’ fighting has been discharged owing to deafness.

On Thursday morning two Belgian soldiers arrived in Newton Stewart to visit their relatives in Mill Cottage. These men came straight from Dixmude, which they left on Wednesday morning and they will return to the trenches next Tuesday.

“MY CHIN WAS HALFWAY DOWN MY THROAT”

Private W Curran, 5th KOSB, writing to Mr R H Scott, Commercial Bank, Newton Stewart, from the Government School Hospital at Port Said on July 10th says:

“You will see from the address I am having a “breather” just now.

I was brought here after a sight happening on the 30th. We had just moved up into the support trenches, and I got the fire going and the mess-tin on and was sitting opening a tin of “bully” when it dawned on me that the beef was absent without leave, my shoulder bruised and my chin halfway down my throat.

The beggers might have waited until I had got the tin open, if not eaten.

Things have surely come to an awful state if the British Army can’t have dinner without Mr Turk interfering.

I am coming on all right here though.

My chin has resumed its normal position, but it will take some time for the bone to mend. I had some trouble getting my teeth into place; one especially it took me three days to get right. As soon as I took the pressure off it, it went up like a jumping jack, but even it is quite obedient now. I am unable to speak or eat, but I can drink fairly well (don’t misunderstand me!). But just imagine me being 10 days without speaking or eating!

It seems to remind me of my younger days – unable to speak, and fed on milk etc.

However, in a few weeks I hope to be back again amongst “the cannon’s deadly rattle” for some more enjoyment.”

The Galloway Gazette, 24th August, 1915

WHAUPHILL LANDOWNER’S WIFE SAILS FOR GALLIPOLI

Mrs Vans Agnew of Barnbarroch is proceeding to the Dardanelles this week to organise a depot for the gifts which are being sent out by Lady Hamilton, wife of Sir Ian Hamilton, Commander-in-Chief at the Dardanelles. Lady Hamilton has collected a large fund for this purpose. Mrs Vans Agnew will also report on the advisability of starting a large hospital at Lemnos.

COAST-WATCHERS INSPECTED

On Thursday morning the Marquis of Graham, accompanied by Mr A Farquhar (head watcher) inspected the coast-watch at Logan. The men assembled in from of the house and his Lordship gave them a useful lecture with regard to submarines and coast-watching; he concluded by saying that no doubt they found it tedious and wearisome at times, watching for many hours, but the work they had undertaken in service of their country was appreciated by the Admiralty.

KEITH STEWART’S BODY FOUND

The Earl of Galloway has received the following letter from Major Wauchop, of the Black Watch, about his son, The Hon Keith Stewart, who was killed at Aubers Ridge in May:

“Dear Lord Galloway,

You know how distressed I was that we could never find Keith’s body. It was formerly only possible to search at night, but latterly the corn and grass has grown up between our line and the German line. About five days ago two scouts of the Manchester Regiment found a revolver on a body just about the place where Keith fell. So I went over myself the next day and that evening the two scouts and I managed to cross the water ditch that runs between the two lines, and in a shell hole some 30 yards ahead we found four bodies of Black Watch men. The notebook and cap we found on Keith’s, and I am sending you those with the revolver. Keith had a bullet through the head so we may trust his death was painless. On the night of the battle I remember finding several bodies in a shell hole about this place, but then one was only working to get in the living.

The last authentic news of Keith was that he was seen leading his platoon at the bridge crossing the water drain. This bridge we now know he crossed and led his men on. Nearly all were killed and none got further than Keith and the half-dozen whose bodies we found last Sunday. That I know, as at night I have been further forward and found no bodies beyond. The place is nearer to the German line than ours. So to the last Keith did his duty most valiantly, as all who knew him knew he would. There are few days that I, as an officer, don’t think with deep regret of Keith, a very, very, great loss to the regiment.”

“WE WERE ORDERED TO FIX BAYONETS”

Private John Edward, who was wounded at the Dardanelles, writes to his parents in Wigtown:

“Dear Father and Mother,

Just a few lines to let you know I am still alive and kicking, but I have a slight wound on my right forearm, but it is healing and I should be all right again in a week or two. I consider God was kind to me getting off the way I did as a good many of my dear chums were killed, never to speak of the wounded. Poor old KOSB! They paid for their charge but not a man of us flinched, as we rushed the Turks out of three of their trenches and what they suffered must have been terrible, as they were lying three of four deep in their trenches, never to speak of the prisoners we captured.

It was on the 12th of July we were ordered to fix bayonets for a charge at 7.35am. Two hours before that the artillery bombarded their trenches, and at the minute the orders were shouted we were over the top of our trenches and at them amidst a perfect roar of shells bursting and bullets falling like rain. I really couldn’t describe the scene. I will never forget that 12th of July as long as I live.

About the rest of the Wigtown boys I know nothing, except that W Edwards was killed on the 12th and J Brock got an arm blown off. Davie Boyd got a bullet in the chest but it is not a serious one. I didn’t see the others as I was lying wounded with two Newton Stewart fellows, while the rest of the company were firing. I managed to walk about four miles down to the beach where I got on a hospital ship. We lay there until Tuesday night then we sailed for Alexandria.

The cooks and doctors are all Egyptians, but we sometimes see English ladies and nurses. They come round and give us cigs.

I will have to close as I have no more news and it being my right arm I am fed up writing.

– your loving son, Jock.”

OOR AIN LADS

That war brings death and dule

We brawly kent was true;

But it didna grup at the heart

The way it grups us noo.

For war was far awa’,

But now we feel his haun’-

It’s oor ain lads, oor ain lads

His bloody scythe has mawn.

We praised the brave that dee’d,

Whase mithers we didna ken;

But the honour roll has a wae’er soun’

Wi’ names frae oor ain wee toon-en’.

And Pride maun wheesht awee,

Till Sorrow has had her say;

It’s oor ain lads, oor ain lads,

That daurken the news the day.

We’ll think we hear their feet

When the lowsin’ time comes roun’;

And lang the pain o’ the wonderin’ dream

Will come wi’ a weary stoun.

But Time’s a healer o’ a’;

On this we’ll rest our heart-

That oor ain lads, oor ain lads,

Were men, and played their pairt.

-W.W.