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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

6th Black Watch


dhubthaigh

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Hi,

My g-uncle John Duffy was KIA 30th July 1916.

I have been looking at other Black Watch casualties from the same day and saw quite a number from Barnsley!

EDWIN BROOKE bn & enlisted Barnsley

CHARLES EDWARDS bn & enlisted Barnsley

THOMAS GASCOIGNE bn Kexbrough, Barnsley. Son of Mrs. Maria Battye, of Kexbrough, Barnsley; husband of Eliza Gascoigne, of 11, Princes St., Victoria Buildings, Wibsey, Bradford.

BERNARD JOYNER bn & enlisted Barnsley

LEONARD MICKLETHWAITE bn Silkstone & enlisted Barnsley

ARTHUR MOXON bn Monk Brettes & enlisted Barnsley

HAROLD SAWYER bn & enlisted Barnsley

(JAMES WALLACE bn Leeds, Yorkshire)

Can anyone enlighten me as to the background of why this was?

regards,

Mark

l

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Hello,

In the regimental Museum, WW1 room there is a video clip of a First War soldier, who I seem to remember was from the north of England. He states on the video that his pals and himself volunteered for the Black Watch because they had known a man who had been in the 42nd. He does not state if this man was a local or if he had been posted to the area.

Dispite what some forum pals say about bagpipes and kilts :lol: , they have always been a great recruiting aid and very many Englishmen have volunteered because of the glamour of the Highland Regiments.

As you know the 6th Battalion was Perthshire's own TF battalion, they went overseas in 1915. The men you mentioned will not be Original members of the battalion, but will be replacements sent out to the Battalion.

The 6th Bn did have, however, a section of men recruited in Ireland, who attended the annual camps prior to war breaking out. Within two days of the war starting, the who lot had reported to the Battalion HQ in Perth.

Regards,

Stewart

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Mark,

I have been pondering this issue as well :) , and as Stewart says there is good little clip of a Barnsley man (I think his surname is Gilbert) in Balhousie castle. He states in the film that there was a Black Watch Sergeant living in, or frequented, a local inn or pub (paraphrasing now ) and he quite impressed a few of the chaps from the local area; so they joined up together.

(Hypothesis now) :) They would probably have to go to the Regimental Depot – Perth - after enlistment, or to enlist; and it would be easy for the County Association to have held some sway in deciding which battalion these men went to (read William Linton Andrew’s book about how he ended up in the 4th (Dundee) Bn Black Watch, when he thought he was joining a regular battalion) and of course, the 6th was the local battalion for Perth.

I have been working on a spreadsheet of Black Watch TF Battalions and there was a very noticeable amount of men from Barnsley, or its surrounding area. Like most Scottish Battalions, you do get a few from outside the recruiting area or those that are not Scottish, such as a Belgian in one battalion.

It may be worth having a word with Tom Smyth at Balhousie Castle (Black Watch Museum in Perth), to see if you can get a transcript of the video. The video signs off to the pipe tune Donald Blue which is 'Lights Out' in the Black Watch.

Hope this helps

Tom McC

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Hello,

They may not have had to come to Perth to enlist, as such. I have read an account of a man who joined up in WW1, he asked which regiments were in need of recruits and chose the one which was the furthest away, not even in the same region of England, the reason being that he came from a poor family and he had never been on a Holiday before, so he thought it would be a nice way to see the country!

Therefore I think it would have been possible to volunteer for any regiment and be given a travel warrant to get to the training depot.

Regards,

Stewart

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Stewart,

your absolutely right, I have read one account of one chap that joined a highland regiment so that he could get a ride on a train :lol:

Also, a couple of the Barnsley lads enlisted in Barnsley, but joined the Black Watch (from SDGW).

Hope this helps

Tom McC

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:) Hello,

I should be going through to the Black Watch RHQ later on this week, or the begining of next week, I will watch the video and see if he mentioned which pub it was.

Regards,

Stewart

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Recruitment and the Great War is a fascinating subject, as for many regiments it's the first occassion in which they become truly parochial, in the sense that they had more men enlisting from the County from which the regiment took it's name than ever before. At the same time you have groups of men or individuals travelling the length and breadth of the country to get into a regiment in which they wished to serve.

Two excellent books which cover the subject are "The Kitchener Armies" by Victor Wallace Germains and "Kitcheners Army" by Peter Simkins, both ground breaking works, although Germains broached the subject in the 1930's. Sadly both are long out of print and I believe you'd pay the same price as you would for a Divisional or Regimental History if you could get a copy.

One of the best sources I came across during my own research was local newspapers and I'll have to try and post some of the advertisements I found from units wanting to recruit from the North East. Fascinating stuff. One of the more unusual was the clearing out of Northern Command Regimental Depots and sending the men to Crystal Palace to help reform the Royal Naval Division after most of the original Division was interned in Holland.

Graham.

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I would like to add something to this discussion. I have two photos, taken in 1917, of my grandfather's cousin Tom Leatham, born and raised in Barnsley, proudly wearing his Black Watch uniform. I used to wonder why this Yorkshire lad ended up serving in a Highland regiment. Now I think I've found a plausible explanation. Even more curiously, I wonder which pub the Black Watch Sergeant mentioned in the video frequented, as one of Tom Leatham's uncles was himself a publican in Barnsley during this period.

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I seem to recall reading somewhere that a lot of Scottish Regiments had to take in drafts from England to make up the numbers when Scotland was struggling to provide reinforcements after the initial rush of volunteers to repalce casualties after Loos and the Somme.....also why the South Africans ended up in the 9th (Scottish) Division.....

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  • 2 weeks later...

Niall,

In the case of the Black Watch, I cannot see evidence of a large percentage of English recruits (using deaths as a sample). There is a large contingent of Barnsley men in the 6th Black Watch - which is noticeable. There are some volunteers from the South and North of Ireland - though not much more than that the average in any of the Black Watch battalions. Also, a couple of the chaps recruited in Ireland are actually Scots. I have nowhere seen evidence of a company of Irishmen as reported in Derek Young's book.

On the whole the regiment (The Black Watch) remains mainly Scottish. I can put some of this down to amalgamation of battalions and also the absorption of the Fife & Forfar Yeomanry, and the Scottish Horse. That said, I cannot talk for other Highland/Lowland battalions.

For the South Africans, please read the included excerpts from the 9th Division's History. It reflects the dearth of manpower that is felt by the Scottish regiments - as I mentioned partially remedied by amalgamation.

Hope this helps

Tom McC

PS - Nearly the 91st Anniversary of Loos

post-10175-1158770986.jpg

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  • 3 weeks later...

No real documentry evidence for this.

Could another factor be the movement of the population prior to 1914. I am thinking that Fife was a mining area and many of the coal mines in the Barnsley area opened in the years between 1900 and about 1912.

Scottish family & heritage, so go off to fight with cousins etc.

My thinking behind this is my father's family were miners in Durham and moved down to Yorkshire in early 1920s to work down the pit in this area.

Just a thought, and hope Im not clouding the issue.

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