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Hi everyone

I am a new addition to this most interesting site. Please forgive any mistakes or stupid questions. I am looking for a copy of the Leith Roll of Honour. I have gathered together as much information as I can about my Great Uncle Pte 1046 Robert MacDonald Fergie 1st Battalion Seaforth Highlanders Died 9th May 1915 Battle of Aubers. But am unable to ascertain his date and place of enlistment. The family lived in Leith (which at the time was separate from Edinburgh)and I suspect he enlisted before the war as his date of arrival in France is October 1914 which is when the regiment arrived from India. I am hoping the Roll will shed some light on this. If anyone can offer any other advice I would be grateful to hear.



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Scottish National War Memorial, Edinburgh Castle gives hs place of birth as ' South Leith '


Firstname Robert McDonald

Service number 1046

Date of death 09/05/1915


Place of birth South Leith

Other 1st Bn.


Rank Pte

Theatre of death F.& F.

You can visit the Memorial WITHOUT PAYING a Castle entrance fee by making an appointment.

There is a RoH in South Leith Parish Church and he may be on that but the place to get most info will be

1. write to IWM National Inventory of War Memorials who will give you a list of the Memorials in Leith.

2. The Edinburgh Room, Edinburgh Main Library, George IV Bridge, Edinburgh.

3. Asking old boys in the Boundary Bar on Leith Walk. (bit dodgy this one!)

As he was 1st Battalion he seems to have been a regular. National Archives in Kew may have some info and his MIC card is available for £3.50 from:




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Thanks Malcolm

He is on the memorial in South Leith Parish Church but nothing about his enlistment. Neither is there anything in Key. I was wondering if his service number would reveal anything, it seems very low, does that suggest he had been a regular for some time ? he was 23 when he died.

I think I'll leave the Boundary Bar alone thanks if it is anything like the Tommy Younger used to be I'd be taking my life in my hands (lol)

Thanks again


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Thanks Pam

I wonder why some entries give date of enlistment and others not. Is this perhaps an indication that he was already a regular soldier at the outbreak of war ?

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  • 17 years later...

Paul Nixons' Arny numbers website shows that the Regular Army Battalions of the Seaforth Highlanders would have issued Regimental Service Number 1046 as some point between the 12th January 1912, (982) and the 12th August 1913, (1228). So unfortunately just too late to use the 1911 Census to see what age he told the Army he was.

The family were asked to verify the details to be recorded by what was then the Imperial War Graves Commission, so hopefully 22 is correct. Unfortunately the best that can be said for the information on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website is that the Army believed him to be 22.

The standard enlistment term was 12 years, split between a period in the Colours, (i.e. in uniform, in barracks, receiving full board and lodgings and healthcare and pay, and subject to military discipline 24/7), and a period in the Reserves, (i.e. back in civvy street, subject to military discipline only while receiving refresher training, and receiving half pay, but liable to immediate mobilisation in the event of a national emergency such as war).

Given the likely period of enlistment and that the minimum period in the Colours was 3 years, Robert would still have been in the Colours at the time war was declared.

Hope that's of interest,

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  • Admin

1047 Dickson enlisted 22nd April 1912 (SWB Roll)

Medal Roll for 14 Star shows Pte Fergie landed in France on the 12th October 1914, the same date the 1st Battalion landed in France at Marseille. The Battalion was serving in India when war was declared and was part of the Meerut Division who were sent to France to  reinforce the BEF.

He was therefore a serving regular soldier when the Great War began.

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