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1st Royal Highlanders


annmacmac
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I would appreciate any assistance (or suggestions for web/literary/etc sources) about way to find more information on the service history of my grandfather, George MacPherson. The only information I have is from his 23 October 1916 Marriage Certificate in Dundee where he stated that he was an Electrician (Journ.) Private 1st Battalion Royal Highlanders. His address was 56 Ducie Grove Manchester but I believe it is possible that he was born in Kingussie in 1894. He was most probably in Kirkmichael in 1901, his wife was from Perth and my mother was born in Perth in 1920. He apparently died in the early 1920s.

There are two George MacPhersons, (Private Royal Highlanders), listed on the WW1 Campaign Medals list (S/23415 and 2364) but there is not enough detail to determine if he is one of these, he isn't in the 1914-20 Pension Records and, to date, he has not appeared in the "Burnt Documents". The Manchester address is a mystery, though I understand that many war casualties were treated in Manchester.

Thanks in advance for your help.

Regards,

Kathy

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Kathy

You mentioned George's Marriage Certificate states that he was a Electrician (Journeyman). As he was a 'journeyman' he would be fully time-served which may have been 5 years apprenticeship.

The medal card for George 2364, states that he was also in the Labour Corp, No 42214. It also shows that he entered France in August 1914. Is this likely to be him! as he would have also spent time in training before leaving Britian. Just a thought anyway, though not enough to totally discount him.

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He was a fully timeserved electrician that is 4 or 5 years apprenticeship. He would have been 20 or 21 years of age when his time was out. 1st Battalion Black Watch ( Royal Highlanders) were a regular battalion. Unless he joined the army immediately after serving his time, unusual but not impossible, I think he was called up later on in 1917 or later and would then go wherever the draft put him. If the Manchester address referred to him being a casualty, I would expect it to be a hospital of some description. Do you have a DoB for him?

Pure guesswork now but I think he served his time and then went to work in Manchester at his trade and he was called up in 1917 when conscription was introduced. A timeserved electrician might well be transferred to Labour Corps.

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Hi Tom

George wouldn't be called up in 1917 as Kathy mentions his marriage in October 1916 in Dundee. He is also a Private in the 1st Battalion The Black Watch at that time. Though Kathy does state his address documented was Manchester.

He was born 1894. In the 1901 Census, the family appears to be living in Banald, Kirkmichael, Perthshire. George was aged 7 then.

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There are two George MacPhersons, (Private Royal Highlanders), listed on the WW1 Campaign Medals list (S/23415 and 2364) Kathy

Kathy,

Here goes with some guesswork - S/23415 I think is likely to have been a later recruit. If you look at S/234** casualties around this number (I looked at s/23400 - s/23430) on SNWM they were 1918 casualties and I suspect not serving in 1916. Surprisingly I did not see Black Watch casualties until s/23420's and none at all in the s/24teens.

So, judging by number it would point to 2364 as being your man.

That said, it is only guesswork. There is a chance (maybe unlikley for a first battalion man) that he did not serve overseas and thus does not show up on the MICs.

One thought would be to trawl the local newspaper archives for his hometown. If he was an early recruit then maybe he was mentioned when joining, or if wounded then in casualty lists.

Ian

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Hi Tom

George wouldn't be called up in 1917 as Kathy mentions his marriage in October 1916 in Dundee. He is also a Private in the 1st Battalion The Black Watch at that time. Though Kathy does state his address documented was Manchester.

He was born 1894. In the 1901 Census, the family appears to be living in Banald, Kirkmichael, Perthshire. George was aged 7 then.

I missed the date of the Marriage certificate. I have given myself detention. It looks as though he did indeed enlist as soon as his time was out.

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Kathy,

Do you still have George MacPherson's medals? Or access to them? The reason why I ask, is that his Regimental number is stamped onto the rim.

Any details about wounds are likely to be in his local paper.

Balhousie Castle, in Perth, may have a roll of all of the enlistments into the 1st and 2nd Battalions of The Black Watch.

Hope this helps

Aye

Tom McC

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Dear Eveanne, Tom R, Tom McC and Ian

The time difference (I'm in Australia) caught me napping while you responded to my request - thank you all very much for taking the time to analysise my problem and for your suggestions for places to continue my research. Your combined "guesswork" has provided me with logical ideas and conclusions.

Eveanne - The details you gave about this George's birth and location are spot on, only I'm not certain this is "my" George. The father's name and occupation match but he seems to have either not known or concealed the name of his mother on his Marriage Certificate - the parents of this George were divorced in 1901 and his mother was imprisoned for falsely registering the birth of a child born from adultery (probably a good enough reason for telling fibs!).

Tom R - your dention was unfair and I was guessing at why George may have been in Manchester, if he was born in Scotland. I read, in a discussion on this site, that there was a section of a hospital in Ducie Avenue and I thought that there may be a link with Ducie Grove. Tom, how likely is it, if George was was born in England, that he could/would have joined the Black Watch?

Tom McC - Unfortunately I don't have access to the medals but I will follow up with Kingussie newspapers and at Balhousie Castle now I have his most probable recruitment number.

Ian - My lack of knowledge becomes even more evident now - I have not done any research on SNWN but will do so now and could you please tell me what MICs are?

Regards,

Kathy

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Kathy,

G'day!

MIC = medal index card - these are held at the National Archive in Kew, and are card indexes for the medal rolls for those servicemen (and women) who earned various WW1 campaign medals = 1914 Star, 1914-15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal.

The significance of these medals is that they were awarded for service in a theatre of war - thus a soldier who only served at home in the UK would not receive such medals.

The actual medal rolls are not viewable online, but the MICs are viewable online at the National Archive online and Ancestry.com - both pay per view or subscriptions viewing (but basic free search on NA MICs is possible).

Recruitment of whatever UK nationality into whatever regiment became more and more mixed as the war progressed, and men were placed where needed irrespective of their origins. Thus Englishmen found themselves in Scottish regiments and vice-versa.

If your man was possibly English then it would be worth checking 1901 and now 1911 census and also Free births, marriages and deaths.

Ian

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Kathy,

A quick look at England & Wales 1901 and 1911 census did not throw up any likely leads (but please search more thoroughly!) and I could not find a 56 Ducie Grove (or Avenue) only no 55 in Manchester (district: Chorlton upon Medlock).

England George Macpherson births 1890-1900:

Surname First name(s) District Vol Page

-----------------------------------------------------

Births Sep 1893

---------------------------------------------------

Macpherson George Wolverhampton 6b 653

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Births Mar 1896

---------------------------------------------------

Macpherson George Walter W. Ham 4a 66

---------------------------------------------------

Births Dec 1897

---------------------------------------------------

Macpherson George Alexander Marylebone 1a 513

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Hi Kathy

Presumbaly you have also seen the 1901 Census that appears to match the details given for your George, ie, that he was born 1894 Kingussie and by 1901 was residing in the Kirkmichael area. In case you have not seen it, the 1901 Census also has his father Alexander's occupation as Gamekeeper. There is no mention of a wife/mother on this Census. Others named are Margaret, daughter, 17, a Housekeeper: Alexander, Son, 13, a Scholar and John, Son, 9, a Scholar.

Hopefully the Black Watch Museum will be of some help to you:

http://www.theblackwatch.co.uk/

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A bit more info for your two possibles:

2364 is listed in The Scotsman, Monday, 17th May 1915, page 10, under:

WOUNDED SOLDIERS IN GLASGOW. Two contingents of wounded soldiers arrived at Stobhill Hospital, Glasgow, on Saturday. In the first train there were 100 soldiers, who had been wounded in the recent fighting at Hill 60 and Ypres. Fifty-four of the men were taken to the hospital on stretchers while ten were victims of asphyxiating gas. The second train included 96 soldiers and 94 were surgical-cases, and the other two medical cases. The men stated that they had been having about as severe a time as they could have at Ypres. They had to contend against not only ceaseless heavy firing from the Germans, but also poisonous gases. They had held their own with a determination that insured success. Brave deeds had been done by men as well as companies. The following are the names of those belonging to Scottish regiments:— includes under 1st Black Watch, 2364 M'Pherson, G.

So, if you are going to search the local newspapers, I would start around beginning of April 1915.

edit: should add that his number suggests a 1912 enlistment.

S/23415 - middle initial on MIC is 'D'. According to ScotlandsPeople, only one George D McPherson born in Scotland from 1880-1900 - George Donaldson McPherson born 1896. Don't know where and don't have any current credits to download his certificate.

Hope this is of help,

Stuart

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Looks like this could be your man Kathy:

post-37412-1232488074.jpg

I'm wondering, if he were a regular soldier that joined prior to 1914, his service records might still be intact at The National Archives, Kew. :unsure:

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I'm wondering, if he were a regular soldier that joined prior to 1914, his service records might still be intact at The National Archives, Kew.

Unfortunately no difference to other WW1 soldier's records, unless he was still serving after 1920, which would mean his file will still be held by the MOD.

Stuart

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If he joined the army before war was declared, he may have travelled up to Perth to enlist in the Black Watch or he may have been able to join them from Manchester. 1st BW were an elite battalion. They served alongside the Guards in the 1st Division until the Guards formed their own division. Was there perhaps a family connection? Dates of joining are important. If he had went home to enlist when war was declared, as many men did, he is more likely to have been in a New Army, 8th BW or 15th BW. Next most likely is TF which would have been 4th, 5th, 6th or 7th.

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Dear Ian, Eveanne, Stuart and Tom

I apologise for making another group thankyou to you all and let you know that I've added to my New Year's Resolution list - check posts more frequently (though it'll probably last as long as the others have). My only excuse is that I have spent time following up most of your original suggestions.

Ian - I had been calling MICs Medal Rolls, thankyou for your explanation. Your description and the information from the Long Long Trail (a wonderful resource) and NA means I now have a better understanding of the notes made on the MICs (and the medals they include). Thankyou very much also for the time you spent with the England & Wales search - it reinforces the need for me to investigate the possibility of an English birth for George before I do much more.

I think I have sorted out some of the information relating hospitals in Manchester during the war. If I have it right, the 2nd Western General Hospital had a section at Ducie Avenue School in Denmark Road (not, as I thought, Ducie Avenue). Ducie Grove is relatively close to Denmark Road and there are currently a number of hospitals in the area, but you are right about a dearth of buildings - Ducie Grove seems to now be a University of Manchester carpark. I did, though, find a 1972 photo of numbers 56 to 62. Linking George with a medical reason for being in Manchester, however, may be too much of a long shot.

Eveanne - I may have to engage you as my personal genealogist. I have seen this census and my George did name his father as Alexander MacPherson, Gamekeeper (retired) on his marriage certificate - the main reason I believe Kingussie George is my George. The wife of this Alexander was Christina Kennedy (in Aberdeen Prison at the time of the Census) and my George named his mother as Annie Macintosh, dec, (curiously, the MS of the mother of his wife was Ann McIntosh) .

Given Christina's history of behaviours, the divorce and the fact that George was only three when she left his life it is highly probable that George believed his mother to be dead and it is possible he didn't know her name. Thankyou also for the time you spent on the MICs - you have certainly eliminated George S/23415 from the list of contenders as my mother was born in 1920. I will investigate the strong possibility he is the man Stuart found on Scotlandspeople.

I have printed the MIC of George 2364 and think I have worked out what most of the notes mean - I'm assuming "Trans 9/10/17" means the time he joined the Labour Corps. I think you are right about 2364 being the most probable George.

Stuart - If 2364 is my George, the article you provided adds to the very few pieces of personal information I have about the adult George - thankyou so much.

I have just realised that your information about 2364, suggesting George enlisted in 1912 (aged 18), may make my above statement to Eveanne obsolete -is it possible for George, as a regular soldier, to have completed an apprenticeship as an electrician with the army and by 1916?

My George's occupation in 1920 was Insurance Agent and I assume that this means he was no longer serving and would not have a file at MOD. As above, I'll see if there is any personal information about S/23415 on CWGC website to link him to George D on Scotlandspeople.

Tom - I haven't yet completed a thorough search to try to determine an enlistment date for George but will do so - using the site Eveanne suggested and Balhousie Castle. The only military connection I have found so far within Kingussie George's family is his brother Angus. He was serving with Lovat's Scouts in South Africa in December 1901 - this may have influenced George to enlist in the BW before 1914. Thankyou for providing more detail about 1st BW, you have inadvertently answered some of the questions I had about where and how George may have enlisted. I have a feeling I may have to wait for the 1911 census to further track his movements.

Regards

Kathy

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I was just wondering - given speculation that he was a 1912 enlistment and knowledge that he was a time-expired electrician, could he have been a Special Reserve enlistment or have even "bought himself out" (there are a few other variations but do not have access to my references at work) ? Hence the low number......

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Hi

Just noticed the thread.

2364 Pte G. Mcpherson was on the Official Wounded List Compiled on 22/5/1915, Published in The Scotsman on 8/6/1915 and as you know on the Hospital Lists Published on 17/5/1915. Its a rare one this, as they are usually in the wounded list before the hospital list. Probably wounded at Auber Ridge.

Regards

Fred

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Hello

Capt. Starlight - Thankyou for your ideas. My quick and basic search indicates that the Special Reserves could be a good explanation for a 1912 enlistment and the completion of the apprenticeship but I haven't been able to learn much about "bought himself out". What would this entail?

Fred - Great information, thankyou. I'll subscribe and get the lists as well as learn more about Auber Ridge.

Eveanne and Tom - I've emailed blackwatch.co to request an enlistment roll search and will wait and see if they can find anything.

Regards

Kathy

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Hello

Capt. Starlight - Thankyou for your ideas. My quick and basic search indicates that the Special Reserves could be a good explanation for a 1912 enlistment and the completion of the apprenticeship but I haven't been able to learn much about "bought himself out". What would this entail?

Literally that - paying to get out of the Army. I don't have details on the rates charged, etc. Perhaps they are in Charles Messenger's work Call to Arms: The British Army 1914-18or less likely Richard Holes' Tommy: The British Soldier on the Western Front . Both have an introduction on the British Army pre-war. There may be works on the specific pre-war period (at tthe level of your relation). I first ran across the term in Frank Richards' Good Soldier Sahib I think.

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Sorry Eveanne

Hate to rain on your parade but I disagree with that prefix being special reserve.

There are some with special reserve with no prefix and some with SRA.

I have always taken 3/ as joining 3rd Bn prior to being moved on.

Kind regards

Fred

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Sorry Eveanne

Hate to rain on your parade but I disagree with that prefix being special reserve.

There are some with special reserve with no prefix and some with SRA.

I have always taken 3/ as joining 3rd Bn prior to being moved on.

Kind regards

Fred

Fred,

Can you explain ? I have always been under the impression that Black Watch Special Reservists were prefixed 3/ Do you have the Army directive on this?

Tom

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Hello Everyone

I've had a very quick reply from an archivist at blackwatch.co who searched the Depot Roll Book and found that George 2364 attested for The BW at Inverness, 31/5/1912 - so Stuart's thoughts were correct. Nothing stands out to this novice that would link him to enlistment with the Special Reserves. I have discovered that, in 1908, students could leave school at age 14 (or from age 12 if certain educational standards were met) so George, at a pinch, may have been able to complete his apprenticeship before 1912. Might be clutching at straws.

Regards

Kathy

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