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Remembered Today:

Pte. William Lawrie 5271 5th. Battalion Connaught Rangers


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Guys, looking for a bit of help on this one.

The story is, I am researching a guy from our local War Memorial, W. Lawrie - Scottish Rifles who died in Serbia. The Memorial is in Morningside, Lanarkshire. Through a great deal of assistance from a few guys on the Forum it has been established that these details are a little ary, and it is much more likey to be the guy below. If anyone can add to these details I'd be obliged.

Pte. William Lawrie 5271 5th. Battalion Connaught Rangers is recorded in Ireland's Memorial Records 1914-1918 as being killed in Salonica on 7th. December 1915. Scotlands People records a man with the same service number, regiment and date of death and his birth place was in Scotland. Both SNWM and SDGW records him as Larrie and the SDGW also records him as being born in Portobello, Edinburgh.
I had a look on Soldiers Died CD and it would appear that W. Laurie records him as being born in Portobello, Edinburgh and enlisting in Hamilton.

William Laurie arrived in the Balkans 2 Oct 1915, William Lawrie's father was born in Ireland so his joining of the Connaught Rangers is probably due to his family background

On December 7, 1915 a huge army of Bulgarian troops overran the frozen trenches occupied by the 10th Irish Division near the village of Kosturino. The main thrust of the attack fell upon the part of the line being held by the 5th Connaught Rangers. In the fierce battle, which followed, the Rangers sustained massive losses and were forced to retreat into Greece. 138 Officers and men of the Connaught Rangers were killed in action at Kosturino. A further 130 were taken prisoner.



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War Diary 5th Bn. Connaught Rangers.

October 2nd 1915. Mudros East.

In camp. The Battn. changed into serge clothing & caps & were inspected by the Brigadier. He saw all CO’s & QMr’s in the afternoon & told them that the Brigade had to re-equip at once & be ready to move within a day – destination not disclosed. At 6 pm a draft of 136 R&F from 3rd & 4th Bn’s & 40 from hospital, sick & wounded, joined & were taken on the strength of the Battn. 2/Lt C.F.B. Harvey rejoined from hospital. Effective strength 12 Officers & 818 OR.

In addition the Official History of the Connaught rangers records –

October 2nd was exceedingly sultry and hot, and although the men were exercised in drill, and good rations were supplied – a welcome change after the poor rations served out on Gallipoli – dysentery had already again made inroads into the strength of the Battalion; indeed ever since their arrival in Lemnos Island.”

The OH disagrees slightly with the draft numbers –

…thirty four NCO’s and Men who had arrived from hospital……and 148 of a draft that had been detained at Mudros.

Interestingly –

On October 3rd….Many men during their service on Gallipoli had grown beards, as shaving was almost impossible on the Peninsula. Now by order of the Brigade Commander the beards were ordered to be shaved off without delay – perhaps lest they might shock the Hellenic Army at Salonika !

There is a detailed account of the Battle of Kosturino in Vol 3 of the Official History by Jourdain and Fraser. Jourdain was the CO of the 5th Bn. for most of the war.

Very few service or pension records survive for men of the 5th Bn. My Great Grandfather was at Kosturino with the 5th Bn and while I have found his records with the Sligo Artillery pre-war nothing exists for his Connaught Rangers service 1914 to 1918.


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Thanks John, an interesting insight. I don't think his service record exists either. He appears on tne Morningside (Newmains) war memorial as Scottish Rifles.



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A lot of men on the Coatbridge Memorial are listed by the Regt and Bn they joined and not the one they necessarily the ones they served in theatre with and Died with, some don't even have the Regt on the Memorial against their name on their MIC, this may explain the anomaly.

My Gt Uncle Thomas McGuire listed in my signature who joined the 5th Bn with the same batch as William Lawrie on 2nd October and who was also KIA 7th December is listed on the Coatbridge Memorial as 3rd Bn, the home based Bn he joined for training.


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It would appear he joined the Connaught not the Rifles, that may have been a West of Scotland thing

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  • 2 years later...



I think that between your good self and some other contributors you may have discovered all the information I was looking for this morning so thank you.  This chap, I think, is an ancestor of my husband and I am in possession of the "war penny" medallion inscribed William Lawrie, a smaller medal sized 1914-15 Star of copper coloured metal with crossed swords, a wreath, a crown, a hanging loop and "1914-15" on a sash across the front - the reverse is engraved "5271 PTE W LAWRIE CONN RANG", the letter from Cork Record Office asking for the tearoff to be returned acknowledging the receipt of the star and the scroll that I think came with the penny medallion.  Apologies for the laymans terms - I have not investigated enough of this to know the correct terminology.


I also have a photograph of him, in uniform, with his wife and three young daughters.  


I think from a very quick scroll through your posts that maybe you have finished with this part of your research but I am hoping some of it may be of interest to you, it certainly is to me.  Thank you.


I'm off to investigate another ancestor whose penny we have, I think it is William Lawrie's brother in law (his wife's brother) who served in the Cameron Highlanders - lets hope its as easy to track down his details.




Edited by Daisy Bright
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  • 4 months later...



that is great news.

can you possibly send me his picture and any other info and I can update my book.





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