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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Brothers in arms...


ResearcherDave

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Remembering the sacrifices made by my dad's side of the family who went to war from Earlston in the Scottish Borders. On the left is my grandfather, William (Wull) Meikle alongside my great uncle, Angus Sutherland Meikle. Wull suffered severe frostbite and was sent home to recover. He returned to France and survived the war. I remember him when I was a young child. He suffered from breathing problems; not sure if it had anything to do with the trenches or his work on a farm after the war. Wull's brother Angus, on the right, was killed in action in France on 21 April 1918 during the German Spring Offensive on the River Lys, aged 23. He was a Lance Corporal at the time of his death. Angus is buried in Bienvillers Military Cemetery at Pas-de-Calais. Could someone please describe the uniforms, as my grandfather has a cord on his left shoulder? (Frogsmile confirms that they are with the King's Own Scottish Borderers. Also, see Frogsmile's explanation of the lanyard on the shoulder). When Angus died, he was serving with the Royal Scots. I'm not sure if my grandfather stayed with K.O.S.B. Image: Family/ K.O.S.B.

Memorial to Angus Sutherland Meikle

834053958_GreatUncleAngus.jpg.a0fcbb781f83979816436cd0a7db7e45.jpg

Edited by ResearcherDave
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They are KOSB - King’s Own Scottish Borderers. The lanyard at the shoulder was to secure the issue clasp knife in the top left pocket and was made of unbleached twine.  Many men plaited them into a weave to shorten the length and create a decorative effect.  The man on the left is wearing the simplified jacket that was issued late 1914 through to Summer 1915, when the rush to the colours led to accelerated demand.  The shoulder patches were removed and the chest pockets made deeper to compensate for the removal of expanding pleats designed to extend the capacity.

 

 

221167DE-5545-4B48-B04C-47B187A7D5CC.jpeg

Edited by FROGSMILE
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I had a feeling that would have been their local regiment. I'm not sure if my grandfather stayed with them, but Angus certainly joined the Royal Scots. Many thanks, now I can add more to the post.  

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1 hour ago, ResearcherDave said:

I had a feeling that would have been their local regiment. I'm not sure if my grandfather stayed with them, but Angus certainly joined the Royal Scots. Many thanks, now I can add more to the post.  


Unless you know specifically of any incident of gassing (was it mentioned?), it’s best to be circumspect, as not all frontline soldiers experienced gassing.  Conversely, pretty much all men tended to smoke prolifically at that time, either cigarettes or pipes, and many suffered from endemic lung disease in later life as a direct result of the damage done to their lungs by smoking tobacco.  Also some former lowland Scots soldiers were employed in mines after the war and suffered from work related emphysema, which was an occupational hazard then.  Sometimes when we look back we conflate these circumstances and reach the wrong conclusion, although of course I’m not saying that that’s what happened in your family’s case.

Edited by FROGSMILE
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We didn't have mines in the Borders. He worked on a farm, and possibly dust may have been a factor. I have a memory of gas being mentioned. I'll take it out as I can't be 100% sure.

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  • I remember the K.O.S.B. used to recruit in Galashiels. That may be where Wull and Angus joined up. Local soldiers were known affectionately as the 'KOSBIES' and highly respected throughout the Borders.
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46 minutes ago, ResearcherDave said:

We didn't have mines in the Borders. He worked on a farm, and possibly dust may have been a factor. I have a memory of gas being mentioned. I'll take it out as I can't be 100% sure.


There was certainly a lot of gas used during the German’s Spring offensive of 1918, so it’s quite feasible that there was some family mention of the effects of gassing.

Edited by FROGSMILE
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39 minutes ago, ResearcherDave said:
  • I remember the K.O.S.B. used to recruit in Galashiels. That may be where Wull and Angus joined up. Local soldiers were known affectionately as the 'KOSBIES' and highly respected throughout the Borders.


Yes, the KOSBIES were most certainly the local regiment for that area and had their regimental HQ and Depot in Berwick-upon-Tweed, on the border, since 1881.

Edited by FROGSMILE
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The Royal Scots medal award roll shows Angus among a number of men of 7/8 Bn KOSB who were transferred, perhaps all at the same time,  to 12 Royal Scots and in his case further transferred to 2 Bn then 5/6 Bn where he was serving when he was killed.  His war gratuity of £8 10s suggests (courtesy Craig's calculator) that he joined up in May 1916.

 

 There is a medal record for 20653 William Meikle of 6 Bn KOSB (raised in Berwick)  but no surviving service record.  He has a 1914/1915 Star with a date of entry to France on 14 October 1915.  His discharge in Dec 1918 was "not having suffered impairment in the service".  (There is just one other William Meikle showing in the KOSB but he came from Dumbartonshire).

 

Max

Edited by MaxD
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Hi Max, my Uncle Jimmy remembers grandpa talking about the frostbite. I'm assuming he made a recovery from that. I remember gas was mentioned by the family in grandpa's case, but I can't be sure of that.  After the war he came into contact with lots of dust during farm work and that wouldn't have helped. I must ask my uncle for more details. I have chapter and verse about my great uncle Wull Clark, and his DCM etc., provided to me by the Black Watch.  I should have more details on grandpa Wull soon, I hope...

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Frogsmile has referred to gas - another aspect is that the overwhelming majority of men affected made good recoveries and were able to return to duty although the effects often came back to affect them more in later years.  I would have thought that an employment such as you describe may have made him more siusceptible.

 

Max

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