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Tom Wilkie, 1st Black Watch


Ian Robertson
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Tom,

Many thanks for your recent posts, especially the picture of the other side of the canal and the natural conclusion to the raft exercise!

I've been trying to find out a bit more about Tom Wilkie's life before going into the Army. He joined at 17 but he left School at 14. At first I thought he may have either worked with his Father or his elder brother William. However it looks as if he was a telegram boy working from offices in Euclid Street at the back of the General Post office. Coincidentally years later my Uncle Pat worked at the same job between leaving the school and going into the R.A.F. in 1939 where he served as a rear gunner in a succession of Bombers. I can remember the row of red Post Office "Bantams" parked in Euclid st that the telegram boys used in the 60's and early 70's but I suppose it would have been Shank's pony for Tom and Pat.

regards

Ian

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Tom,

Many thanks for your recent posts, especially the picture of the other side of the canal and the natural conclusion to the raft exercise!

I've been trying to find out a bit more about Tom Wilkie's life before going into the Army. He joined at 17 but he left School at 14. At first I thought he may have either worked with his Father or his elder brother William. However it looks as if he was a telegram boy working from offices in Euclid Street at the back of the General Post office. Coincidentally years later my Uncle Pat worked at the same job between leaving the school and going into the R.A.F. in 1939 where he served as a rear gunner in a succession of Bombers. I can remember the row of red Post Office "Bantams" parked in Euclid st that the telegram boys used in the 60's and early 70's but I suppose it would have been Shank's pony for Tom and Pat.

regards

Ian

ian,

Many lads were "paid off" on reaching their 16th birthday on account of them having to be paid more. I know it happened in the mills. Perhaps the lure of adventure drew him to the Watch.

Tom

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Tom,

From what my Grandmother said he had always wanted to go into the Army. He had been a "robust" laddie always in plenty scrapes including once when he was 7 and she was 4 and he chucked her in the Swanny Ponds so that she wouldn't follow him and his pals on some adventure. Apparently his mother made sure he didn't sit down for a week after that. His father's business went west around the time that Tom joined the army and I'm wondering if the change of house meant that there was no room for him and he made the decision to join a year early. At one point he was getting communication sent to him at an address in Lochee but that dates from a time he was at Aldershot so I still have to sort out that part of the story.

regards

Ian

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  • 2 months later...

Tidings of Great Joy!

Tom's Victory medal was missing which obviously meant that his Trio was incomplete. Its ribbon was attached to the War medal so that would seem to indicate that it had been in our family's possession at one time. We've searched high and low for it in both our house and my folk's but I had given up hope of finding it. We are contemplating making some changes to our house and in preparation we have been cleaning out cupboards and sideboards. While my wife was cleaning out the hall sideboard today she uncovered a medal. At first I thought it must have belonged to one of her relatives as I couldn't even remember having Tom's full set. When I looked at the inscription however, it confirmed it was Tom's missing medal. How it got into that particular drawer I have no idea but I am delighted that I have found it. All that is now required is a ribbon for the War Medal. It's discovery is also making me wonder about his plaque and whether it is not somewhere in our house after all.

regards

Ian

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Ian,

Tremendous news, and to think it was in the house all along. Your wife's going to be accusing you of doing a 'man's look' :D

Aye

Tom McC

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  • 4 weeks later...

While looking for some documents, my father has uncovered three certificates awarded to Tom Wilkie.

The first is from the Postmaster in Dundee and is a certificate of character. It states that he was appointed a boy messenger on the 8th July 1908 (just after his 14tgh birthday) and that he performed the duties asked of him in a satisfactory manner until he resigned on the 13th August 1910. The certificate is dated the 7th September 1910 and confirms he did serve as a telegram boy after leaving the school.

The second and third certificates are very interesting.. They are Certificates of Education awarded by the Army council to Private No 1694 Thomas Wilkie (Special Reserve) 3rd Reserve Battalion of the Black Watch. The first is a third class certificate and is dated the 24th March 1911 and the second is a second class certificate dated the 26th April 1911. The subjects covered are ARITHMETIC- First Four Rules;Money;Avoirdupios, Weight and linear measurement; Addition and subtraction of Vulgar Fractions. WRITING FROM DICTATION- Proficiency in Writing Regimental Orders COMPOSITION-Writing a simple letter. Both certificates are signed by Major A. A. Stewart commanding Depot the Black Watch.

His attachment to the 3rd is a surprise but I do have in my possesion a spoon stamped 3RH and the numbers 149. This was returned with his kit and my grandmother had used it most of her married life when she was cooking. Tom signed up with the 1st Battalion in July 1911 amonth after his 17th birthday.

regards

Ian

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Ian,

That's great finding the medal as well as getting his certificate of character from the PO. Can you check again the Edn certs for the officers signature, I am trying to find out about him.

Tom

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Tom,

The surname certainly looks like Stewart. On second look the Forename initial looks like M rather than the double A that I first thought

regards

Ian

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Tom,

The surname certainly looks like Stewart. On second look the Forename initial looks like M rather than the double A that I first thought

regards

Ian

I think this is the man as he commanded the depot at the time Tom was there

post-18033-1233599319.jpg

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Tom,

I think that this is the correct man. I'm wondering if the signature that looks like an A.A. (or M) is actually a p.p.; meaning that the certificate was signed on the major's behalf by some office wallah.

regards

Ian

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  • 5 months later...

Today's a good day. After a search that has last four years and involved people in Scotland, Canada, England and Australia I have finally discovered the location of Thomas Wilkie's Plaque. Originally, two years ago I had been told that it wasn't with the Australian branch of the Wilkie family. However, Tom's father, had an illigitimate son who in turn had eight children. One of them, Jim, had also emmigrated to Australia and he had been given the plaque at one time. It is now with his son Nicoll and this was only discovered when the Aussie Wilkies had a get together recently

Nicolplaque2.jpg

It is great to know that it is witha family member and not lost.

regards

Ian

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That is great news, you must be so happy to have tracked it down.

Regards,

Stewart

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Tremendous news! Ian, finding that Tom's 'Death Penny' has been tracked down and is in the safe-keeping of one of your family.

It is also good that Tom's story keeps rolling on.

Tom

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  • 6 months later...

I am indebited to Black Jock who discovered this article while researching at Dundee Central Library. The cutting is from the "The Dundee Courier dated the 13th May 1916.

post-16112-1266919274.jpg

regards

Ian

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Was he related to the Wilkie brothers of Kirriemuir? Two of them died with the Black Watch, as well.

post-16112-1163118691.jpg

Hello, I wonder if some one can help me. I am currently involved in researching my great uncle , Tom Wilkie, army history. I have a picture of him which I have attached. It was probably taken in his barracks at Aldershot sometime just before the out break of the war in the summer of 1914. He was in the 1st Battalion of the Black Watch and as you can see he was at this time a lance corporal. I know that this is probably basic stuff but what does the badge above the L/Cpl cheveron on his right sleeve signify? Also am I correcting in thinking that the inverted chevron low above his left cuff indicates service of two years? I would be very grateful for any help.

Thanks in anticipation

Ian

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Jesse,

That's a good question.The Wilkie lineage is somewhat complicated. Tom's father had been illigitimate and actually had been registered with his mother's surname which was Bruce. Tom's father started to be known as Wilkie about the time of the 1861 census when he was 4. Family legend has it that there were some relatives of Tom's serving in the same area when he was killed but I haven't been able to verify that so far.

regards

Ian

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  • 3 months later...

Ian,

I have just caught up with your thread on Tom Wilkie and it is fascinating to see how much it has progressed. Tom's plaque turning up is an excellent revelation. The good thing is, you never know, there might be more to come yet.

Aye

Tom McC

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Tom,

The process of finding the Plaque had the very pleasant side effect of revealing a whole family branch that I hitherto did not know about in Australia. I wouldn't say that there were a lot of them but if they all decided to leave Australia the whole country would be a few more feet above sea level!

Having confirmed most of the family stories about Tom such as his role in the battalion and the manner and place of his death, I guess the question is "Where next?". The one outstanding legend which may bear some investigation is the idea that he was on his way to meet up with a relative who was in a adjacent position when he was killed. Tom's father's family line was rather convoluted and I know that he had several sisters and so it is possible that there was a cousin serving nearby. My father did know of some family members dotted around Angus when he was a boy but that is a long time ago... still I might give it a bash,

regards

Ian

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  • 2 months later...

Ian,

A very interesting read. I came across this thread while searching for info on Tom Wilkie. Tom's father Nicoll Wilkie and my great grandfather, William McIntosh Wilkie were first cousins. I guess that makes us 4th cousins. I'm from the Wilkie branch of the family that landed up in South Africa. I do know Tom's half brother, Nicoll Fraser Wilkie was a Pte in the Tank Corps (No. 306349). He enlisted on 8 November 1915 and was discharged on 16 January 1919 under KR392 XVI (no longer fit for duty). His medal index card is the type generally used for the issuing of the Silver War Badge. It makes no mention of a War Badge but shows he got the BM and VM. Under 'Cause of Discharge' where 'KR392 XVI' is written in, a '5' or 'S' is written. I presume he served in France and the '5' doesn't mean the abbreviation for service in Africa. Of all my great grandfather's brothers and Wilkie cousins it's just Tom and Nicoll Fraser that I've been able to identify from medal index cards. I've got several other possible matches with medal index cards but nothing definite.

Best,

Mark Wilkie

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Mark,

It was great to hear from you; another distant relative reconnnect through Tom's story. I've e-mailed you some info on Nicoll Fraser Wilkie (tanks). I have also sent a message to Jesse who posted on this thread back in February asking if Tom was related to two Wilkies from Kirriemuir who were killed while serving with 1st B.W. If he has some christian names, with the information that you supplied about Tom's grandfather and Uncles I may be able to investigate a little.

regards

Ian

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Hi Ian, thanks for your message. The Wilkie's I mentioned were the four Wilkie brothers of Platten, Kirriemuir, Forfarshire, two of whom; 2ndLt. George Spence Wilkie, and Major David Wilkie died in the war. Both were with the 5th Black Watch, though Major Wilkie was killed at Gavrelle while attached to the Nelson Battalion. They were sons of Mr. & Mrs. James Wilkie of Platten, and are memorialized on a monument at the Kirriemuir Cemetery, in addition to the Merville Cemetery and the Arras Memorial. Surviving the war were James B. Wilkie as a doctor with the RAMC, and Harrower Wilkie serving with the RFA.

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Jesse,

Thanks for your response. I'll look into it but I don't hold out much hoping looking at the ranks of the Wilkies and the fact that one was a doctor. Still you never know.

I'll let you know.

regards

Ian

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Thanks, Ian,

Yes, doesn't seem likely considering the ranks and the doctor. Our family all seemed to be bakers, labourers, butchers, farmers etc.

Best,

Mark

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O.K.

I've had a look at the possible connection between the Kirriemuir Wilkies and Tom and his family. The Kirriemuir Wilkies were an educated and wealthy family. The Father James was a linen Manufacturer as was the Grandfather David. There is a James and David in Tom's family tree but the dates of births etc tell me these are not the same people. The kirriemuir Wilkies owned factories, became doctors and generally were well educated, Tom's grandfather couldn't write his own name at the time of his first wedding in 1856 and worked in a quarry. These families lived in entirely different social classes. As much as I would have liked it there is no meaningfull connection between them so its back below stairs for me!

regards

Ian

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