Jump to content
Free downloads from TNA ×
The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Robert Langton Douglas


Recommended Posts


only been on here 24 hours i am digging into subjects i didnt expect

i registered here to ask about my Grandfather on my father´s side and now find myself fascinated to discover more about others who i researched thoroughly in the past

my Great Grandfather on my mothers side "Robert Langton Douglas" is known in specialist circles for a number of things, normally involving art, history (of siena) , the church and women

but when war broke out he was by one account someone who was desparate to be part of it

he was around 50 but lied about his age and died his hair and according to this biographer he signed up in October 14 with the Fourth PS Battalion of The Royal Fusiliers stationed at Ashtead in Surrey.

after five weeks he was given a Commission in the Army Service Corps and this is seemingly where his war record starts "ASC Capt": how could i get confirmation that he was ever in the 4th PS Battalion

he went to France according to the same war medals record on 28th Feb 1915

as a capt i am thinking there is more informationabout his movements wiith the Army Service Corps than with my Private in the Norfolk Regiment

any ideas where i should start looking

many thanks Andrew

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Admin

HI Andrew

According to the index to officers' service records held in the National Archives, he stayed on in the Army after the war. This means his file is still held by the MoD. You can apply for a copy from here.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

He was issued with a Silver War Badge in (Sept ?)1918, List: Off./997. Could he have signed off and signed on again ?

Link to comment
Share on other sites


I've an interest in the Universities and Public Schools Brigade; I'm always keen to find out about new individuals who served in their ranks; I'm currently on about 3700 men out of the 10000 plus who served with a PS/ service number. By my reckoning he would have been assigned a service number between PS/2606 and 2628; though this would be an estimate - it would state for sure in his service records if you get them from the MoD.

Can I suggest having a browse in this free book which may give background on the UPS brigade:


The 4th Battalion was 21st Battalion Royal Fusiliers though he did not serve with them for long. There is a memorial to the battalion in a church in Ashstead near where the spent much of their time training. The battalion was disbanded in early 1916 to provide candidates for commissions. As soon as the battalion had been formed men periodically left it for commissions as Robert did.

If I may; could I ask what biography of Robert you are referring to; I'd be keen to read it if it mentions his time with 21st RF.

Kind regards


Link to comment
Share on other sites

i am referring to

"Robert Langton Douglas Connoisseur of Art and Life by Denys Sutton" which appeared in the Apollo Magazine in April 1979

Chapter XV is called The War Years and starts

"When the War broke out in August, 1914 Douglas was determined to join up and by September he was already engaged in rifle drill. In

writing to Johnson on 9 September he said: ...I am trying to get a job in the regular army or the territorials, and I want to set as many business matters settled as I can. I have been rejected

but they may be glad to have me in a bit. My brother, my eldest son and my eldest nephew have all been given work to do. My son is an officer in the Artillery."

By October, although over fifty, Douglas had been able to enlist in the Army. he dyed hhis hair and gave his age as forty.... He took the precaution of having a fur liing made for his khaki uniform

and went off to join the Fourth P.S. Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers; he was stationed at Ashtead in Surrey ... .... ... However after five weeks in the ranks he was given a commission in the Army Service Corps"

It then goes on to describe how he bought and sold works of art while in service! I dont have Chapters XV1 and XV11 which may shed light on how his war continued.

Chapter XVIII is entitled a Freash Start and starts in 1926, when he met Jean Stewart, with whom he had a daughter Claire who married JD Salinger in 1955. RLD died in Tuscany on 14 August 1951.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

ps one of his children was Sir William Sholto Douglas Ist Baron of Kirtleside who he refers to above as joining the Artillery. In 1915 he transferred to the newly formed Royal Flying Corps and he went on to have the highest possible rank in the RAF in WW2. Another of his many children was Claire mentioned above and a third was my grandfather, Terence W Hutcison: a truly Great Granfather to my 2!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Admin

While we all enjoy doing research on limited information, you could have perhaps added all that in your first post.

Nevertheless, my links still apply and don't expect a\ny more help from me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

am very sorry : i didnt realise the information in the magazine article might help and only realised when colin asked about the source that i was missing possible key chapters from the biography

many thanks for all your help : i have plenty to work on !

Link to comment
Share on other sites

so i have invested in the attached

an excellent service!

i can see that RLD went to France on 28th Feb 1915

what else does this form tell me?

which number is most relevant for my further enquiries?

is the unique long number 412539 (that refers to the Badge mentioned in the thread previously

or the 38375/4


PS/2606 and 2628 : there is no mention here of this UPS Record or number : Colin mentions this earlier in this thread?

RLD one page.pdf

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...