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Tom Wilkie, 1st Black Watch


Ian Robertson
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cant make my mind up wether hes wearing a cutaway tunic or not ? think it is but its also an economy one too. Great pic though.

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  • 1 month later...

Ian

Ref post 42, The photo of BW at Dundee Train Station. As Stewart mentioned, there was a big strike in Dundee in 1911. In the book 'Dundee a Short History' by Norman Watson, on page 150, in late 1911, it refers to 300 Black Watch being deployed to Dundee. At that time there was a bitter Dockers and Carters strike, the result of which 30,000 textile workers were laid off. You may want to check the Dundee People's Journal for that period. I dont think they could use local Territorials, as some of them would have been on strike, or may have be sympathetic to the strikers' cause.

Aye

Tom McC

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  • 4 weeks later...

Tom,

Thanks for the information once again

I missed your post at the time as, my computer was down for a while plus I've been pretty busy both at work and at home.(B&Q's shares must be going through the roof)

A couple of things I've wondered about; Tom was 18 on the 4th june 1912 and I think that he must have signed up about this time. I have a Christmas card from him to his parents in 1912 which he has proudly signed not with his normal "Tom" but as L/cpl T Wilkie. Although it's not exactly Field marshall status, i was wondering how normal it would be for a young lad to be made up to L/cpl in a regular battalion in Peacetime? One of the things that makes me wonder is his gravestone which gives his age as 22 although he died about 6 weeks before his 22nd birthday and I thought he mave have lied about his age and have joined before he was eighteen..

Since this thread started, besides the pictures in the Album, some embroidered cards and a couple of letters (one written after coming out of the line at Loos) I've managed to unearth in my father's loft; A scroll commemorating a life bravely give, notification of the erection of the peranent headstone dated 27th -07-1923,the letter accompanying the award of his British war and Victory medal and the letter sent with his estate (£12-10-0) to his Father as the sole legatee.

Also in my dad's attic was a formal picture of about 130 members of the regiment taken in a place that reminds me of the area next to dudhope castle in Dundee. Many of the soldiers are members of the band but there are several who don't seem to be and are wearing Glengarrys. There is also one member, a sergeant, who is wearing the equivalent of the german pickelhaub(sp). Unfortunately this puicture is mounted on pasteboard backing and is too large to scan.

In order to wrap up Tom's story it may be neccesary to visit Kew and see if his is one of the few records remaining. There is a mystery around what has become of his Death Penny. My Greatgrandfather and then my Grandmother kept everything else but there is no sign of it but I do suspect that it may have found it's way to Australia and may been in the keeping of Tom's brother Stewart's family.

One thing is that Tom's memory has been kept a lot better than other members of my family who also served in the Great War. While asking around relatives I came up with the following;

My Grandfather, Charles Smith, wounded and received a pension until he died in 1935, but what unit did he serve with and where?

My great Uncle David Webster,man of mystery, in receipt of a war pension from the Canadian Army until he died in 1964 and to the best of anyones knowledge lived (apart from the war) all his life in Scotland.

My step grandfather, James Kinnear, fought in the Great War( his trio is in my Dad's house someplace) but with whom and where?

and most of all I'd like to establish the name and background of the soldier who was engaged to my grandmother before he was killed,

it looks as if I've only started!

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Ian, just read through your thread. What a road to discovery. All that pooled help and knowledge. It is great stuff.

Good luck in your quest with the rest of your family.

And thank you for sharing all those wonderful photographs.

Susan.

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Ian,

Good to see that your search, like the rest of us, is raising more questions than answers :) . Anyway, there are many reasons for Tom being such a young LCpl. He could possibly, legally, joined young as a boy. Also, he may just have had the right qualities to make a good soldier; showed good junior leadership qualities; and could carry out the tasks and duties of a LCpl effectively and efficiently. In my opinion, one of the hardest ranks to be (the old saying hardest to get, easiest to lose), and possibly requires the most leadership...unless of course you are one of the toughest men in the platoon. Don't forget, there would be many soldiers in a Battalion that wanted no responsibility, and others, for reasons such as fighting and boozing would have been this rank on several occasions.

Looking at the fact that Tom was a Battalion Scout and a 21 year old Sergeant, I expect it would be because he was a good, efficient, soldier with the bearing and leadership qualities to carry it off.

LCpl was an appointment until I think 1962-ish where it formally became a rank. Albeit not officially endorsed, tacitly it always was a rank as such, as it came with an emoluent and responsibility.

Good luck on the search for the 'Penny'

Aye

Tom McC

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  • 2 weeks later...

I went to the central Library today to do a look up for someone else. I was thwarted in my original search but the bound copies of the "Peoples' Journal" for 1916 were lying out and instead of competely wasting my time I thought I'd have a look and see if there was any mention of Thomas Wilkie.

The edition of the 13th may contained the following report:

"A HERO'S DEATH,

Mentioned in Dispatches; Now Dead.

Mr Nicol Wilkie of 111 Princes street has received intimation that his son, Sergeant Thomas Wilkie, was killed in action on the 30th April 1916.

Sergeant Wilkie joined the Black Watch five and a half years ago and went to France with his regiment as part of the original expeditionary force. He has seen all the fighting and was present at Ypres on the 9th May last year; also at Neuve Chapelle, Festubert and Loos.

Mr Wilkie has a card signed by the Major General commanding the Division which was sent to Sergeant Wilkie which contains the following:- " I have read with great pleasure the reports of your good conduct in scouting in the Loos-Hullach section between the 15th November 1915 and 15th January 1916.

Your name and circumstances of the case have been duly noted"

Sergeant Wilkie was only 21 years of age."

regards

Ian

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Hi Ian,

Fantastic photos. My Robertson relatives were from Glamis....married into the Smarts of the same location. Don't suppose you have anyone in the family tree from the area? As far as I can tell a number were 5th Black Watch.

Rgds

Tim D

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Tim,

I don't think that there is a connection, there are a lot of Robertsons in the Dundee area, perhaps only second in number to Smiths. I'll P.M. you with family details; good connections to Oz though, I believe that's where Tom's plaque is.

regards

Ian

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  • 3 months later...

Thanks to Tom McCluskey and the link that he posted on another thread, I have just caught up with this one - for some reason I lost track of it after having seen the first few posts.

Thanks also then to Ian, for showing all these delightful photos and your great uncle – the ones of the Divisional training are magnificent!

Can anyone name the place they were taken?

Cheers,

Tony

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Tony,

Certainly some of the training pictures were taken in the Aldershot area. If you look at the picture in post 31 you will see some vans in the background. They are marked with the name of a company and it's location Aldershot.

regards

Ian

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Hi Ian,

Yes, I think that I can just make out ‘Aldershot’ on these vans.

Am I right in saying that these are horse drawn vehicles? – I see what appears to be a horse standing just above the fourth soldier from left, back row.

Many thanks,

Tony

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Hi Tony,

It looks as if they are horse drawn. The Company name on the van on the right hand side looks as if it is "Solomon Bros". No returns on Google for it though!

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Hi Ian,

Browsing through the Historical Directories I found this in:

Kelly's Directory of Hampshire & Isle of Wight, 1911

Page 30 – Aldershot

Solomon Brothers, house & camp furnishers, 5 High street & Victoria road.

I would think this was them, wouldn’t you?

Cheers,

Tony

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Thanks for that Tom! - And I also found the details here:

http://www3.hants.gov.uk/museum/aldershot-...de-barracks.htm

While I was at it, as I thought the name 'Oudenarde' looked very Flemish, and I also found this in Google.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Oudenarde

Well as Michael Cain says, "Not many people know that!"

Well I for one didn't, but isn't it wonderful how one thing leads to another?

Cheers,

Tony

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Tony,

thanks for the information on Solomon bros, it looks as if they could have provided the Marquees. On the subject of the architecture of the barracks, the 1st Auschwitz reminded me very much of these pictures. not surprising I suppose as tht was it's original function

Tom

Once again thanks. At the danger of desending into "the language of the playground " :o " You are the man". I had looked at this before but I had missed David Webster's papers. He is about 4th or 5th on the list, born in 1887. His attestation papers give his unit as 103 Bat Canadian Expeditionary Force. I now have something to work with. I am glad that my Father's memory has been proven to be correct. He's 81 now but he is still pretty sharp. His knowledge of our family history is good and a lot of his anecdotal evidence about Tom, such as him being a Scout and the fact that he was killed while in the reserve trench, has been bourne out by information received here.

The search for Tom's Death Penny continues. Through the offices of my pal in Australia I have just this weekend tracked down the relative who I think has it. Unfortunately he is off in Egypt at the moment and so I am still waiting to speak to him.

I am progessing slowly with research into my Grandfather, Charles Smith's war service. I am now pretty sure that he was in receipt of a pension through wounds received at the end of 1916, beginning of 1917. Family opinion is that he was in the B.W. but I'm not sure. I can remember a picture of him sitting on a horse in his military uniform and so there is still a fair amount of work to be carried out.

The search into the soldier who died of wounds and who was engaged to my grandmother has ground to a halt and the investigation into James Kinnear's war service hasn't started yet!

Some time ago you asked if I had anymore pictures of 1st BW in the white Shell Jacket I have suddenly realised that the inside of the 1912 Christmas card has two group pictures showing this. If you still require these examples P.M. me your e-mail and I'll scan these and send them to you.

In the meantime I'm off to see if I can get my hands on a copy of "Mud, Blood and Poppycock" to see what all the fuss is about...... see you in the playground after the bell!

regards

Ian

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Ian :lol:

Glad to be of some assistance – the Canadians are lucky to have such a handy resource. Next time I'm up in Dundee we might need to have the inaugural Dundee forum-pals meet-up in the Ship, or the Fisherman in Broughty. Two items on the agenda, you have already alluded to ;) .

Photos in the White Shell Jackets would be great. PM on its way.

Aye

Tom McC

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Tom,

Sounds good. "The Ship", "Fishermans", "Occidental", "Anchor" (used to belong to my father in Law) and "Royal Arch" are not places that are unknown to me and the amount of my disposable income that passed over the bar in the "Fort" during a twenty year period hardly bears thinking about. "The Gunners" on the other hand has never been a favourite of mine; far too dour a place.

Pictures on the way

regards

Ian

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Ian,

I must have spanked the best part of an Aston Martin DB9 in the aforementioned bars, before the habitual stroll down to "Buddies" nightclub - showing my era now. I mind of going to the fort, with Johnny Black standing outside making sure everyone was of age, but at the time concerned in case I looked too young or scruffy. The other bar was aye a dank, dour, place, lacking in vitality and talent.

Off to check the Email

Aye

Tom McC

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Ian,

When you mentioned Charles Smith and the horse, I was wondering if he might have been in the Fife & Forfar Yeomanry as there was a squadron in Dundee, or the Royal Field Artillery. Dundee also had a big detachment of RFA Territorials, I think at Dudhope Castle, where they used to do their dry drills in the park. There is still a chance that he may have been in the transport section of one of the battalions.

When browsing the National Archives for Smiths in the Fife & Forfar Yeomanry, I came up with the following:

http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/documen...mp;mediaarray=*

If it is him, even if its not, please find below a link to a free download of the history of the Fife and Forfar Yeomanry (the various formats of download are on the left):

http://www.archive.org/details/fifeforfar00ogiluoft

Aye

Tom McC

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  • 2 weeks later...

Bad news from Australia today; Tom's plaque is not there. I was convinced that my Grandmother had given it to her grandnephew when he visited in 1975-6. The likelyhood is now that my Father's step-sister lifted it when my Gran died...not good news! Still, the search goes on.

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The picture of the Soldiers on a raft with the Church in the background is withoubt doubt The Basingstoke Canal the small Brick building on the right is in my mind now Glovers the Military Taylors. Time permitting I will try and take a camparison. One other picture looks like Rushmoor Arena and a further one with the lake and bridge part of the Aldershot Training area near Bourley Lake

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Ian,

Did Charles make it through the war? If he did, he may be on the Absent Voters List. I am pretty sure there are copies of this in the Reference Section of the Dundee Central Library - you just have to be familiar with the old voting wards of Dundee.

Had a quick look for Black Watch men called Charles Smith, as you would expect, there are many:

http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/documen...mp;mediaarray=*

There's a fair few James Kinnears as well (checked the name, not the name and Regiment):

http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/documen...mp;mediaarray=*

Hope this is of use

Aye

Tom McC

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