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“If the Germans get me noo they winna ha’e got me cheap.” Alexander “S


neilston
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“If the Germans get me noo they winna ha’e got me cheap.”
Alexander “Sandy” Martin D.C.M of the 1st Battalion Scots Guards
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“If the Germans get me noo they winna ha’e got me cheap.”
Alexander “Sandy” Martin D.C.M of the 1st Battalion Scots Guards
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“If the Germans get me noo they winna ha’e got me cheap.”
Alexander “Sandy” Martin D.C.M of the 1st Battalion Scots Guards
The Rev. William Phin Gillieson chaplain to the 1st Scots Guards, (during Sandy’s time in France) sent home a regular letter to his Church of Scotland congregation in Ayr, to keep his parishioners updated with his experiences at the front with the Guards.
This letter dated November, 22nd 1915 is written only some weeks, before, Sandy died of Gun Shot Wounds to the head on Wednesday 9th of February 1916
The Rev Gillieson makes the following reference to Sergeant Martin:-
Our Sergeant of stretcher bearers in this battalion is a splendid man, Serg. Sandy Martin – Known to high and low as “Sandy.” He is an old Soldier of twenty years’ service, once a piper. But now his fingers are too stiff for the more twiddley bits. And he has found a better place caring for the wounded. He told me not long ago that he never had a scratch since this war began and that “Providence alone has kept him” And he has, for Sandy has never hesitated to go about opposing lines looking for wounded, And all wounded are the same to him-it not the a case of his regiment only and first.
He tells one he comes- “Frae a wee sma’ place ca’ed Springhull, near Barrheid , County O’ Renfrew no far frae Paisley but mair tae the Newton Mearns side” Which is pretty good for an address isn’t it?
He is full of Humour. Not long since he was awarded a D.C.M., and on his return was warmly congratulated by everyone. One Officer who is not very fluent in the language of compliment was congratulating him, when to help him out Sandy said “Yes sir, if there’s one man in the battalion deserves it, it wis me!” After that there was little further to add.
Sandy has been shot at so often while out for the wounded that he says- “If the Germans get me noo they winna ha’e got me cheap.” That is true, for he is one of our bravest, most unselfish of souls.
The Rev Gillieson adds “If I get wounded may Sandy Martin be about”.
Rev. W. Phin Gillieson Ayr, Ayrshire Scotland

Rev William  phin McGillieson

GILLIESON, WILLIAM PHIN
Thurso Academy. MA 1901. Minister, Church of Scotland. Chaplain 4th Class, Sept. 1915: 3rd Class Jan. 1918. Attached 2nd Ayrshire Imperial Yeomanry, 1914-1915. 1st Scots Guards, Aug 1915. Senior Chaplain 51st Highland Division, March 1918. France. Dispatches 1918. M.C. Jan 1919.
Rev. Phin Gillieson, was a 28 year old bachelor, the son of a Caithness minister. When He went to Mannofield Aberdeen from St. Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh. He was only at Mannofield for 4 years but in that time he was instrumental in starting many of the organisations we know today e.g. BB's, Guides, Sunday School & even the Guild. He left for Ayr in 1910.
He was awarded the Military Cross as he served as a chaplain in H.M. Forces from 1915 - 1918. He remained at Ayr for the rest of his life and died there in 1942.
Sergeant Alexander Martin 1st Scots Guards (Ex Piper)

Alexander "Sandy" Martin DCM 1st Batt Scots Guards KIA 9th Feb 1916

Sandy died of Gun Shot Wounds to the head on the 9th Feb 1916 age 39.
He, enlisted at Paisley, a native of Neilston Parish at Springhill East Renfrewshire
As a member of the Neilston Kirk, Sandy is commemorated on Neilston Church WW1 memorial window: He was the Son of William Martin (Print Field labourer) and Jean Martin (nee Miss Pender). Sandy was the Husband of Frances Laura Martin of 75 Gardener Cottages Windsor they had no children and Frances was the sole benefactor of Sandy’s estate;
Sandy served in South African Campaign also served in Egypt. He was awarded Long service and good conduct medal & DCM
Distinguished Conduct Medal citations 1914-1920-Ser/Num 991; Reads:-Acting Serg A. Martin 1st Batt Scots Guards (LG 30 June 1915) for conspicuous gallantry and resource throughout the campaign when in charge of the stretcher bearers. He has on many occasions picked up wounded men and carried messages under a heavy fire, and shown the greatest devotion to duty.
I would like to document the 1st Batt Scots Guards Movements that Alex would have experienced and from his own comments went through “without a scratch” Before his death on 9th Feb 1916
Would the following be true???
The Scots Guards were based in Aldershot with the 1st (Guards) Brigade, 1st Division when war broke out in August 1914 they were mobilised quickly and Sandy would have proceeded to France landing at le Harve on the 14th of August 1914, They being amongst the first troops of the British Expeditionary Force to Land.
The Scots Guards fought in The Battle of Mons and took part in the staged retreat from Mons, during the “race to the Sea” They see heavy action at the Battle of the Marne, The Battle of the Aisne, And the First Battle of Ypres battle, fought for the strategically important town of Ypres in western Belgium in October and November 1914.
In May 1915 the Scots Guards saw action at the Battle of Aubers Ridge, And He would have experienced trench warfare on the Hohenzollern Redoubt in Oct following the Battle of Loos in September 15, where many of his fellow Neilston Friends died. (16 men)
Sandy might have partook in the Battalion's brief fraternisation with the Germans on Christmas Day 1915 ( Which led to the SG company commander Sir Iain Colquhoun's subsequent court martial for initiating this truce)
In the Ypres Salient.
I have notes that Sandy was in the Ypres Salient Feb 1916 with the 1st Batt Scots Guards
Could anyone please help me with maps or more details on Sandy’s Last few week with 1st Battalion Scots Guards between Christmas and before his death on the 9th of Feb 1916 in the no9 field ambulance from Gunshot wounds to the head,? Has anyone got a picture of his grave they could share?
I am writing a profile on this brave Man for our village Facebook page, I am new at all this research stuff, so please excuse any simple errors or bad habits, I might have added, Please Feel free to add comment and direct me correctly.
Kind Regards
Matt Drennan
Neilston War Memorial Association East Renfrewshire
Many thanks to the Rootschat.com restorers for Sandy’s picture repair
Edited by neilston
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  • 3 months later...

Matt,

I found a paragraph in an article "Reminiscences of the First War" written by G M Cumming for the 1972 edition of The Scots Guards Magazine which probably relates to Sandy Martin.

"One of the saddest incidents was the death of our Sergeant Piper, whose name I forget. In the dreary road, pock-marked with water filled shell holes beyond a crossroads known as Rouge Croix, a first aid post had been established in a partly ruined house some distance off the road. The Pipers were billetted there, and the Sergeant, who was about to go on leave that night, came out for a breath of fresh air having been cooped up all day. He walked along the duck-board towards the road, when a sniper's bullet, probably fired from a fixed rifle, hit him in the head. There was just the one shot, and the circumstances seemed to all of us indeed tragic".

Rouge Croix is, I believe, on the D947 La Bassee to Estaires road, about 2 kilometers North West of Neuve Chapelle. Maybe someone can pinpoint the first aid post.

Sandy is also briefly mentioned in the Regimental History."The Scots Guards in the Great War" - Ewart.

"February was an equally uneventful month for the 1st Battalion, which was at Riez Bailleul or in trenches, till the 16th, having only one casualty - Sergeant Martin - killed by a stray bullet outside Battalion Headquarters on the 9th".

There is a footnote - "One of the oldest Pipers in the Scots Guards, killed on his way home for permanent leave from the front."

I appreciate it has been a few months since you posted your request, but as there have been no other replies, I hope you find this of interest.

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War Diary is digital and downloadable:

http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C7351892

Day-to-day account with orders/reports/maybe maps,from first landing in Aug 1914 through to Jul 1915,and a second Diary which includes up to AMs war's end :

http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C7351843

Medal Rolls show he landed with 1 SG as a Piper on 14.8.1914 (1914 Star) and as a Sergeant, 1 SG,for the issue of his British War and Victory Medals.

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  • 5 months later...

Matt,

I found a paragraph in an article "Reminiscences of the First War" written by G M Cumming for the 1972 edition of The Scots Guards Magazine which probably relates to Sandy Martin.

"One of the saddest incidents was the death of our Sergeant Piper, whose name I forget. In the dreary road, pock-marked with water filled shell holes beyond a crossroads known as Rouge Croix, a first aid post had been established in a partly ruined house some distance off the road. The Pipers were billetted there, and the Sergeant, who was about to go on leave that night, came out for a breath of fresh air having been cooped up all day. He walked along the duck-board towards the road, when a sniper's bullet, probably fired from a fixed rifle, hit him in the head. There was just the one shot, and the circumstances seemed to all of us indeed tragic".

Rouge Croix is, I believe, on the D947 La Bassee to Estaires road, about 2 kilometers North West of Neuve Chapelle. Maybe someone can pinpoint the first aid post.

Sandy is also briefly mentioned in the Regimental History."The Scots Guards in the Great War" - Ewart.

"February was an equally uneventful month for the 1st Battalion, which was at Riez Bailleul or in trenches, till the 16th, having only one casualty - Sergeant Martin - killed by a stray bullet outside Battalion Headquarters on the 9th".

There is a footnote - "One of the oldest Pipers in the Scots Guards, killed on his way home for permanent leave from the front."

I appreciate it has been a few months since you posted your request, but as there have been no other replies, I hope you find this of interest.

Many Thanks I will add this important detail to Sand's history and pass this to his family.

Cheers Matt

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