Galloway’s Great War

Richard and Adam Cosh
Richard and Adam Cosh

The Galloway Gazette, December 11th, 1915

The nine-month campaign by British, French, Australian and New Zealand troops to break through the Dardanelles Straight and knock Germany’s ally Turkey out of the war was failing and the number of casualties was mounting.

As winter gripped the land round Gallipoli, many local soldiers serving with the 1/5th KOSB were still hanging on in there and trying to make the best of a bad job.

WE HAVE NOT SEEN A WOMAN SINCE WE LEFT

One of them, Private Thomas Pearson writes home:

“It is getting very cold here at nights, but it’s just a nice heat during the day, and we have got well rid of the flies now! But I think from the way the weather is shaping, the cold will be worse to stand than the heat. We have had a good few wet nights now and not just showers. When the rain cones you get no warning and it simply pours for two hours at a time. We are very pleased to receive parcels from the Work Party back home as they are just the very kind of stuff we need here. It takes a parcel about five weeks to come and a letter about three. I also got the photos you sent me. We are pleased to get a photo here to remind us of civilisation! We have not seen a woman since we left Liverpool, but there are about 15 different races of men, so we have some fine talks. We have five Indians in our battalion and they are starting to speak good English now, but when we landed we had some right laughs at them.

“We are still in the same part of the trenches. We are generally two weeks in and one week out at the rest camp, but it’s even worse in the rest camp for shells than in the trenches. There is a big gun on the Asian side - she sends over a lot of big ones. We call her Asiatic Annie. She has just finished sending over six or seven, but it’s only one out of every six that bursts. Our Navy was giving them some big ones yesterday. You would hardly believe the havoc they do unless you saw it for yourself. Between the land artillery, the navy, and our trench mortars, the Turks have as ad time of it, but they always keep shelling away. It’s only their position that saves them as they have a good one. The place we are in is just the shape of a basin, so no matter where you go the Turks have the privilege of seeing everything.”

SADNESS IN KIRKCOWAN

Great regret was felt in Kirkcowan this week when news reached home of the death of Tom Ross, of the Royal Naval Division. He was a son of Thomas Ross, joiner and grocer in the village. Young Tom joined up six months ago and was sent to the Dardanelles two months ago. He was wounded there and died in hospital in Alexandria. He was a young fellow of much promise and an only son.

MISSING SINCE MONS

Mr A C Barr, Elrig, whose eldest son has been reported missing since the Battle of Mons in August 1914, has now received official news that his son was killed during the battle. He was a member of the Scots Guards and took part in the severe fighting as the Germans tried to advance on Paris at the start of the war.

VEGETABLE COMMITTEE DISCUSS PLUM PUDDINGS

The Newton Stewart Branch of the Vegetable Products Committee has been asked to help out by sending Plum Puddings to the Fleet. The puddings should be four or five pounds in weight and should be in cloths not basins and be ready cooked for use. They should be sent, no later than Thursday, December 16th, to either Miss Drew, Doonhill, or Mrs George Kerr, Whitehills. The committee would like to send as large a number of puddings as possible as a gift from this district to the Fleet.

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Mrs Cosh, Whithorn, has been told her 23-year-old son Richard was killed at La Bassee, France, on November 23rd. He had been a soldier for three years, spending the first two in India. He was in the 2nd Black Watch and a farm servant previous to his enlistment. The news also came through that her other son, Adam, has been wounded twice, first at Armentieres and then at Hill 70, in France. He was in Canada working on a farm before the war broke out.