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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Private Robert Smith, 1st Gordon Highlanders


Malcolm12hl

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My mother's uncle Robert Smith served with some distinction in the 1st Battalion of the Gordon Highlanders, and I would very much like to find out what I can about his service on the Western Front.  I have his medal bar with the ribbons for the Military Medal, the British War Medal, and the Victory Medal with Oak Leaves denoting a Mention in Despatches.  I also have a small citation card, which I take to refer to the Mention, which reads as follows:

 

No.3/6635 Pte. R. Smith

1st Battalion, The Gordon Highlanders

Your Gallant Conduct in the Field on 23rd to 27th March 1918 has been reported to me, and I have placed it on record with great pleasure.

Robt. Wolfe Murray, Lieut. Colonel

Commanding

1st Bn. The Gordon Highlanders

In the Field

4th April 1918

 

Finally I have a photo of him in uniform wearing only the ribbon of the Military Medal, which I presume must have been taken at home on leave during the war, before the post-war issue of campaign medals.

 

Smith is a fairly common surname in Northeast Scotland, and there are other men called Robert Smith on the Gordon Highlanders medal rolls, but 6635 Robert Smith is on the Military Medal roll, which cross-references with the presumed Mention quoted above.  My man was born at 41 Church Street, Huntly on 29 May 1897, the only son, but fourth of seven children of Robert Smith & Mary Smith (nee Wilson).  The family moved from Huntly to Crossmyloof, Glasgow at some time between the birth of the fifth daughter in 1902 and the sixth in 1907.

 

I would be very interested to know what might be learned about his war service and his gallantry awards.

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I checked the personal account of Lt DDA Lockhart, which details the period covered by his medal citation, but there's no mention of Pte Smith (a long shot, but hey); the battalion War Diary - which I accessed on Ancestry - includes Lockhart's account and gives a good flavour of this time of crisis, though. Paul Nixon's excellent Army Service Numbers 1888-1918 blog suggests Robert Smith probably enlisted towards the end of August 1914 into the 3rd (Special Reserve) Bn.

 

Good luck, Pat

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Thank you Pat

 

I am not an expert on gallantry awards, but I assume that the Mention was for conduct over the period in question rather than one particular act.

 

I wonder if anybody can help me with the Military Medal award?  I am assuming that there would be a citation which would help me establish where, when and how he earned it, so any pointer here would be very much appreciated.

 

Malcolm

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Hi Malcolm,

 

MM citations weren't published in the London Gazette, just a notification that the award had been made. In your case see here. It often seems that the award was agreed quickly after being recommended, and can appear in divisional level war diaries , under "Routine Orders" (though most commonly without a citation). There was often a delay of months before the award then appeared in the London Gazette. There is some advice on how to try to research a MM on the LLT here.

 

Regards

Chris

 

 

 

 

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Chris

 

Thank you very much for your guidance - it sounds as if I will not be able to add much, but I will check the divisional war diaries, and likely newspapers to see if I can find anything.

 

Malcolm

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