Galloway’s Great War

Sgt Fraser
Sgt Fraser

The Galloway Gazette continues to serialise the letters home from solders from the area serving in The Great War 100 years ago.

The Galloway Gazette, June 24th, 1916


Private William Irving from Port William, who had been a prisoner of war in Germany for some time, was transferred to neutral Switzerland, where he wrote home to his wife about his experiences:

“We got a great welcome in Switzerland. They could not have done so much for us if we had been landing home in Scotland. At every station there were crowds of people waiting for the train to come through, and they threw all sorts of things at the train.

“What a change it was for us coming out of the like of Germany, for they are very bad to all prisoners, but the Germans will have a lot to answer for after the war.

“The Germans put the men down the pits at the point of the bayonet. It is a terrible pity for the Russians. The French and British prisoners were not so bad for we got a lot of parcels. If it had not been for that the half of us would have been dead; that is the truth.

“I am glad to tell you I am improving since I came here. My wounds were still running when I came but the good air and the food have stopped them. I am sure you are wishing this war was over for it is terrible. I often think of the poor fellows that are left in Germany to suffer a lingering death - as some of them will have to do.”

Private Irving was injured on the battlefield and lay for five days before he was lifted by four members of the German Red Cross. He was then sent into Germany as a prisoner of war with 30 other comrades in a truck covered with a little straw. He ended his letter saying he hoped to be fit enough to return to the frontline after his return home.


Sergeant Andrew Fraser, Higland Light Infanrtry, has been awarded the Military Medal for bravery on the field. Last December, the officer in charge of the company had just entered his dug-out when it was blown up by a German shell. At considerable risk, being under fire all the time, Sergeant Fraser assisted in extricting his officer from the debris.

For this and for capable work while in charge of his platoon he has been awared the honour.

Sergent Fraser was the son eldest son of Mrs Fraser of Adamson Square in the village. His late father, Simon Fraser, had died a few weeks before his son’s honour was announced.

Mrs Fraser had two other sons on active servcie at the time.


Among these gallant sailors who, it is feared, have gone down with the Queen Mary, which was sunk in the great naval battle off the coast of Denmark on 31st of May, was John Pizzie, who was a naval reservist when the war broke out.

Mr Pizzie joined the Queen Mary at the start of the war. A fine type of seaman, he was for many years in the employment of the Stranraer Oyster Company, and was highly respected by his employers.

Inquiries have been made as to his fate by a Stranraer friend and, in a reply form his sister, the worse was feared, as there were very few survivors among the Queen Mary’s crew.