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Robert Allan 2nd Gordon Highlanders


David Earley

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I am trying to find out more about the military career of my maternal grandfather Robert Ewart Allan. I have the certificate of his marriage to my grandmother on 13 August 1915, where his occupation is shown as ”Private 2nd Battalion Gordon Highlanders No 122”. This enabled me to find his Medal Roll index card on Ancestry as attached.

From his low service number, would I be correct in assuming that he was a regular soldier? This would explain why he was sent to France in October 1914. He survived the war but the marriage broke up soon after the birth of my mother in December 1918.

Any help putting some “flesh” onto these bare bones would be greatly appreciated.

IMG_0013.jpeg

Edited by David Earley
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Robert enlisted on the 6/10/08 and was discharged from service on the 24/7/1918

awarded SWB no 391 813

his age on discharge is given as 27 and 11mths

Ray 

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6 hours ago, David Earley said:

Any help putting some “flesh” onto these bare bones would be greatly appreciated.

5 hours ago, RaySearching said:

discharged from service on the 24/7/1918

Ministry of Pensions records are available from WFA/Fold3

Pension index card indicates an on-going disability at discharge since he was awarded 27/6 pw from 25.7.18 to 4.2.19 [Under the 1918 Royal Warrant for a pension Class V soldier / Pte without children that represented the 100% degree of disability rate, no allowance was made for having a wife under that RW] - I would suggest likely an initial temporary rate which would have been later re-evaluated

Pension ledger page indicates Gun Shot Wound Amputation Right Arm and GSW Left leg.  Married, born 1890 and living at 12 Kirk Wynd, Falkirk [or Kirk Wood on PIC]

We can see a Treatment File opened 21/7/21 - it is not possible to definitively determine if this was treatment for his wounds - it may well have been to help him use a prosthetic or if it was rehabilitation/occupational training.  It may have been for both purposes.

The 1919 RW offered higher disability rates and would have also offered additional similarly proportionate elements for a wife and child.

Unfortunately his pension award file appears lost [probably deliberately destroyed, as were most] so we can't see a lot more to determine where his arm might have been amputated [different pension award rates represented differing degrees of disability/positions of arm amputation - 90% at shoulder through to 50% below elbow, less for lost thumbs & fingers - for a naturally  right-handed man loss of right provided more, if left-handed then 10% less] nor if his leg wound might have added to his overall on-going disability.

I hope that there has not been too much flesh involved. :ph34r:

I would suggest that an official published Casualty List entry might offer a start so as to try and determine when he was wounded, treated, evacuated etc. [typically published about 4-6 weeks after wounding]

The PLP only seems to have dates from after that Nov. 1921 treatment entry so I'd also be looking out for the 1921 Census [19 June 1921] as it should offer an indication of where he was resident - possibly for in-patient or out-patient treatment?? https://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk

Should it be wished to be provided ... personal knowledge/comment would be welcomed on his disability as it could help me reality/quality-check my interpretation - or perhaps re-calibrate my thoughts.

M

Edited by Matlock1418
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The war diary for the 2nd Bn Gordon Highlanders can be downloaded from the National Archive (free) you will have to register first (also free)

2ndbatGH.JPG.61876b69a8e2866d4f42664277d0eb7f.JPG

LINK TO RECORD HERE

Ray

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6 hours ago, David Earley said:

IMG_0013.jpeg

A 'Mons Star' MIC for an 'Old Contemptible' - but it rather looks like he left it until Nov. 1933 to claim/get his C&Rs [Clasp & Roses (x2)] for his 1914 Star

M

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From the Long Long Trail 

2nd Battalion
August 1914 : in Cairo. Returned to England, landing Southampton on 1 October 1914.
Moved to Lyndhurst and came under command of 20th Brigade in 7th Division.
7 October 1914 : landed at Zeebrugge.
November 1917 : moved with Division to Italy.

Its possible that Robert may have sustained his wounds in Italy  as the 2nd Bn moved to Italy in Nov 17  

a casualty  list may confirm the date of his wounding

Ray

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Thanks to you all for so much research in such a short space of time. I hope you don’t mind if I respond to you all in one post.

Sadly, my mother never really knew her father and she died over 30 years ago. She did know that he was in the Gordon Highlanders but little else. He and my grandmother were divorced in 1947 on the grounds of her infidelity (with the man she later married). No one in the family knows much about Robert Allan, so there’s no personal knowledge of the nature of his disability.

He’s very elusive on Scotland’s People - we can’t find any record of his birth nor does he seem to appear on a census. I guess in 1911 he would have been with the regiment - would that be in Scotland or overseas? We have no firm evidence for his death date either; there are too many potential candidates on Scotland’s People.

I will download the war diary and see what I can find from there.

Thanks again to you all

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A search of the 1911 England and Wales census produces a 21-year old Robert Allan, born in Stirling Falkirk, Stirlingshire, in the Goojerat Barracks Station Hospital at Colchester Castle, Colchester, Essex. You would need to look at the actual enumeration sheet to see if there is any more information on it, but the 1911 edition of Hart's Army List records the 1st Battalion of the Gordon Highlanders in residence at Colchester, England, while the 2nd Battalion was stationed at Cawnpore, India. Given he enlisted in 1908, even though he was with the 2nd Battalion in 1915, this would look to be a good match for him. 

https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XWNC-HRH

https://digital.nls.uk/british-military-lists/archive/100806145

A quick search of ScotlandsPeople produces no Robert Ewart Allan births registered in Stirlingshire between 1889 and 1891. There are, however, seven Robert Allan births registered in this timeframe, four of whom do not have a middle name. Two of these births were registered in Bothkennar, which is just to the north of Falkirk.

Given you have the exact date of his marriage, I am assuming that you have a copy of the actual marriage registration, and it is this one that you are referring to.

ALLAN    ROBERT EWART    BRANCH    KATE ALFREDA    1915    168 / 2 / 238    St Machar

This should record the names of his parents, and, more especially, the maiden name of his mother. ScotlandsPeople have made a massive effort over the last few years to index mother's maiden name for all births registered in Scotland, so if you know his mother's maiden name you should very quickly be able to identify his birth registration.

Edited by Tawhiri
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14 minutes ago, Tawhiri said:

This should record the names of his parents, and, more especially, the maiden name of his mother. ScotlandsPeople have made a massive effort over the last few years to index mother's maiden name for all births registered in Scotland, so if you know his mother's maiden name you should very quickly be able to identify his birth registration.

Hi 

Kate Branch was my grandmother.

The marriage record shows him as Robert  Ewart Allan, aged 24 of Castlehill Barracks, Aberdeen. His father was Thomas Duff(?) Allan dec’d, a journeyman baker. His mother was Alice Robertson, previously Allan, Maiden surname Ewart. With all that, it should be easy to pin him down, but I keep drawing blanks. I’ll take another look at the births register 

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3 hours ago, David Earley said:

His father was Thomas Duff(?) Allan dec’d, a journeyman baker. His mother was Alice Robertson, previously Allan, Maiden surname Ewart.

That's pointing us to Falkirk again, with this marriage registered there in 1900.

EWART     ALICE     ROBERTSON     JOHN     1900     479 / 174     Falkirk

RUTHERFORD     ALICE     ROBERTSON     JOHN     1900     479 / 174     Falkirk

That's telling us that either Alice's previous married name was Rutherford, not Allan, as stated on the marriage certificate, or that she was born illegitimate and subsequently took the surname of whoever her mother married. I'd put my money on this being your Robert Ewart Allan's birth, forenames match, year matches, mother matches, and geographical location matches with what we now know.

RUTHERFORD     ROBERT EWART     EWART     M     1891     479 / 1 / 354     Falkirk Burgh

I'd strongly suspect he was born illegitimately, I cannot find any trace of a Alice Ewart/Rutherford marriage on ScotlandsPeople that would fit. I'm not sure where the surname Allan comes from.

Edited to add that there are two further Rutherford/Ewart births registered in Falkirk around this time, Beatrice Wallace in 1888 and Isabella Pryde in 1896. A possible smoking gun, however, is the birth of a Thomas Allan in St Andrew (Edinburgh) in 1886.

Edited by Tawhiri
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11 minutes ago, Tawhiri said:

 

I'd strongly suspect he was born illegitimately, I cannot find any trace of a Alice Ewart/Rutherford marriage on ScotlandsPeople that would fit. I'm not sure where the surname Allan comes from.

Edited to add that there are two further Rutherford/Ewart births registered in Falkirk around this time, Beatrice Wallace in 1888 and Isabella Pryde in 1896. A possible smoking gun, however, is the birth of a Thomas Allan in St Andrew (Edinburgh) in 1886.

Magic! I found the same items myself and was coming to the same conclusion. My head is spinning now, so I’ll take another look tomorrow. 

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2 hours ago, RaySearching said:

Its possible that Robert may have sustained his wounds in Italy  as the 2nd Bn moved to Italy in Nov 17  

a casualty  list may confirm the date of his wounding

He had been in the 18 General Hospital (Camiers) from some time in September 1917 (possibly even earlier) as the attached image states 'No longer ser(iously) ill' -- dated 2d October 1917. It also states that he was attached to the 1/4th Gordons.

(image courtesy of Find My Past)

Allan_122_October 1917.jpg

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This is the family in the 1901 Scotland census, living in Falkirk, three Rutherford siblings living with Alice and John Robertson, and their infant child Margaret.

ROBERTSON ALICE 1901 F 30 479/ 1/ 47 Falkirk Stirling
ROBERTSON JOHN 1901 M 25 479/ 1/ 47 Falkirk Stirling
RUTHERFORD BEATRICE 1901 F 13 479/ 1/ 47 Falkirk Stirling
RUTHERFORD ROBERT 1901 M 9 479/ 1/ 47 Falkirk Stirling
RUTHERFORD JAMES 1901 M 7 479/ 1/ 47 Falkirk Stirling
ROBERTSON MARGARET 1901 F 0 479/ 1/ 47 Falkirk Stirling

No sign of Isabella born in 1896, and there also appears to be a James born around 1893/94.

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A few more bits and pieces. The birth of a James Duff Rutherford in 1893, and the death of a Thomas Allan Rutherford, mother's maiden name Pryde, in 1896, both registered in Falkirk. So there definitely has to be a Rutherford/Ewart marriage around somewhere, and all the children were born legitimate. Any one of their birth registrations should give the date and place of their parent's marriage.

RUTHERFORD     JAMES DUFF     M     1893     479 / 399     Falkirk

RUTHERFORD    THOMAS ALLAN    33    PRYDE    M    1896    479 / 186    Falkirk

For some reason then, Robert Ewart Rutherford chose to enlist in 1908 using the surname Allan, rather than Rutherford.

Edited to add that Alice Ewart was married to Thomas Allan Rutherford as Alison Ewart in 1885 in St Andrew (Edinburgh), which then fits with the birth of oldest son, Thomas Allan, in the same district in 1886.

RUTHERFORD    THOMAS ALLAN    EWART    ALISON    1885    685 / 2 / 410    St Andrew (Edinburgh)

Edited by Tawhiri
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And finally, the conclusive evidence, Robert's death registered in Crieff in 1963, under the surnames of both Allan and Rutherford.

ALLAN     ROBERT EWART     73     M     1964     342 / 46     Crieff

RUTHERFORD     ROBERT EWART     73     M     1964     342 / 46     Crieff

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1 hour ago, Tawhiri said:

And finally, the conclusive evidence, Robert's death registered in Crieff in 1963, under the surnames of both Allan and Rutherford

That’s amazing . Thanks so much. I just need to write up his life story!

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Well done Tawhiri

a nice bit of sleuthing

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Allan 1892 wrote

He had been in the 18 General Hospital (Camiers) from some time in September 1917 (possibly even earlier) as the attached image states 'No longer ser(iously) ill' -- dated 2d October 1917. It also states that he was attached to the 1/4th Gordons.

I wonder if the reason Robert is listed attached to the 1/4th Gordons on the casualty form (was for administrative purposes only) as the 2nd Bn Gordons had moved to Italy whilst Robert was hospitalised 

opinions sought

Ray

 

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4 hours ago, Tawhiri said:

finally, the conclusive evidence, Robert's death registered in Crieff in 1963, under the surnames of both Allan and Rutherford

Thanks - that’s magic! 

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His regimental number, 122, doesn't look like a Regular enlistment - they were in 5 digits by 1908 - but it does fit the pattern for the 4th Gordons (TF) according to Paul Nixon's blog: "1 – 155 all joined in April 1908, the majority of these men having previously served in the 1st VB Gordon Highlanders". I don't know enough to say how he came to be in Regular service with that number, as I have always just assumed men renumbered when moving from TF to Regular Army. Perhaps not? Nor can I say why, if it's a TF number, he wasn't renumbered as a matter of course in 1917. It's not a Special Reserve 3rd Gordons number (again, according to Paul Nixon's blog) - were there other Reserve battalions e.g. Extra Special Reserve, as in other regiments?

 

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On 10/07/2024 at 17:44, Allan1892 said:

It also states that he was attached to the 1/4th Gordons

I cannot trace a mention of him in the War Diary for the 2nd Battalion. But should I be looking in the diary for the 1/4th Gordons? If so, can someone give me the link (or explain how I can find it] Thanks

Edited by David Earley
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24 minutes ago, David Earley said:

But should I be looking in the diary for the 1/4th Gordons? If so, can someone give me the link

Try this link:

https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/results/r?_srt=3&_q="WO+95"+"Gordon+Highlanders"+"4+Battalion"

For future info: this type of search at TNA seems to work pretty well for me to find War Diaries:  "WO 95" "Gordon Highlanders" "4 Battalion" [include all this as a keyword search string in https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk including all the quotes ... for other regiments change accordingly and for other battalions change the number - but don't use st, nd, rd, th]

M

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His medal roll entry on Ancestry tells us he served 2nd, then 9th, then 4th Battalion overseas.

Screenshot_20240716-225057_Chrome.jpg.2c20bb272b637fa39e3506675c9230a0.jpg

He appears as wounded, at least twice:

Times 8/1/15 under report dated 4/1/15.

Screenshot_20240716-224632_Chrome.jpg.8b17fe423b189f377149b233640a64af.jpg

Daily Casualty List 2310/17.

Screenshot_20240716-224903_Chrome.jpg.8daf562feaf66c4cb3b3ed6edf823ea9.jpg

These dates might explain change of battalion. However his final wounding leading to amputation would have meant evacuation to UK. Was this a third wounding?

Charlie

(Caslists courtesy The Genealogist)

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