Galloway’s Great War

Private J Gordon

Private J Gordon

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“I LEARNED TO RESPECT HIM”

Thirty-three-year old Private John Gordon, Highland Light Infantry, was killed in action on October 19th. three weeks after being sent to the Front and four months after enlistment. He lived with his wife and children at the Knock, Monreith. She received a letter from his Lance-Corporal with the sad news. He wrote: “I did not know your husband long but in the short time I did know him, I learned to respect him very much. He was in my section and every other member of it speaks often of his willingness to help and his obliging disposition. We were moved up under heavy shellfire on the night of his death. He is buried out here and a cross marks the grave of another Scottish hero.”

Private Gordon was the son of the late Mr Hugh Gordon, Millands, Monreith, and for six years before the war he was the greenkeeper of the golf course near Monreith.

NEWTON STEWART SOLDIER WOUNDED

Corporal A M Johnstone is reported wounded on October 18th and was taken to hospital. He was the nephew of Mr A S Morton, solicitor, Newton Stewart, and he was working in his uncle’s office when war broke out. He had been at the Front for 18 months.

The Galloway Gazette continues it’s World War One diaries, focusing on November 1916, 100 years ago:

The Galloway Gazette, November 11th, 1916

BELGIAN REFUGEES MIRACLE

Among the Belgian refugees who had been homed in Creetown was a Madame Dierckx and her little boy. Her husband, who was an officer in the Belgian Army, had been serving at the Front since war was declared. For 12 months he had mourned for his wife and little boy whom he believed had been killed. But in time, the husband and wife heard of each others survival and safety and Monsieur Dietckx eventually got some leave to make the journey to Creetown to be reunited with his family. He then returned to the Front, but wrote to the Rev. Black, who was the convenor of the Belgian Committee in Creetown, saying: “Back from my leave, I consider it a duty to thank, once again, all the people for the sympathetic reception that you made for me in Creetown. Will you please tell them how glad I was that my wife and child were as warmly welcomed in the village. The same as they would have been if they were in my country.

“The war is certainly long, but to know that mine are happy and without need, gives me a new courage and quietness. Life is very hard for poor family fathers not to know of the destiny of their families. I have know those sad days, but owing to the benevolence of Scotland and the devotion that you and the people of the committee have for my wife, those days have passed, and were only a bad dream. I am back to the Front with better spirit and decided to endure courageously any further troubles. Duty is sometimes very hard to fulfil but I assure you it is now a pleasure for me since I came back form leave. I apologise for not writing sooner but the friend who translated my letter was on leave and only came back yesterday night.”

E Diecrkx

WHITHORN SOLDIER’S BRAVERY

One of four sons fighting in the war, Andrew Smith, from King’s Road, has been awarded the Military Medal for his part in an attack in the September.

The record of his deed read: “On September 29th, 1916, he was very prominent during an attack on Dextremont Farm showing absolute contempt of danger whenever the enemy attempted to make a stand and fight. This example inspired his comrades to go forward at time when the hostile rifle fire was very heavy.”