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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Robert Burns


trenchwalker

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in richard holmes series the westrn front he had a number of vets on. one was a scottish bloke who said he join when the WE WANT YOU poster came up in june 1916

but in when you see him he is wearing a 14-15 star have the bbc just plonked some medals on him?

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Guest Ian Bowbrick

Mr Burns fought with the Cameron Highlanders at the Battle of Loos in the attack on Hill 70 - so NO, the 14/15 Star trio was his.

Ian

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  • 3 years later...
Mr Burns fought with the Cameron Highlanders at the Battle of Loos in the attack on Hill 70 - so NO, the 14/15 Star trio was his.

Ian

As A first post on the forum, I think this is just what I was looking for to reply to. My wife is the great niece of Robert Burns of the 7th Cameron Highlanders, who appered in this documentry programme. He died at the age of 104 in October 2000, a few weeks befor his 105 birthday.

My wife was able to get his memories of his service published, unfortunatly a month after his death. Titled "Once a Cameron Highlander"

I'm now the proud custodian of his awards, which include the "Legion de Honour" that was presented to him in 1998.

Many thanks for providing me with a fantastic oppertunity to introduce myself to the Forum.

Cheers, Mike

Attached is a pic of Robert being presented to the Queen at the debut of the film " True Blue"

post-19256-1172008410.jpg

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Welcome to the forum MIke, what a proud chappie you must be!

Cheers,

Ian

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  • 2 months later...

Another forum member, Neil Richardson, published a book (Sense of Duty, 1998) about his great-grandfather, Private, S/16813, John Syme. Whilst researching his great-grandfather's service, he was visiting the IWM when he "had the almost unbelievable good luck of bumping into a man who is probably the last surving member of the 7th Camerons. Private Robert Burns is one hundered and two years old and served at the Battle of Loos." A number of Private Burns' memories of various incidents add to what is a well-researched and warmly told account of Private Syme's war.

Stuart

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  • 2 months later...
Welcome to the forum MIke, what a proud chappie you must be!

Cheers,

Ian

Ian,

Sorry for taking so long to reply to your kind comment.

Yes I am very proud to be Robert's great nephew. When he passed away in 2000, his awards and paperwork went to his son, my Uncle. He died just over a year ago and Robert's awards are now in my care.

Here is a picture of them along with a few other things. Also a picture of him just 2 months before he died at the Regimental Reunion in Inverness.

His picture at Inverness.

post-19256-1186780924.jpg

post-19256-1186781062.jpg

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Another forum member, Neil Richardson, published a book (Sense of Duty, 1998) about his great-grandfather, Private, S/16813, John Syme. Whilst researching his great-grandfather's service, he was visiting the IWM when he "had the almost unbelievable good luck of bumping into a man who is probably the last surving member of the 7th Camerons. Private Robert Burns is one hundered and two years old and served at the Battle of Loos." A number of Private Burns' memories of various incidents add to what is a well-researched and warmly told account of Private Syme's war.

Stuart

Stuart,

I met Neil Richardson at Robert funeral and have corresponded with him once since then. I have a copy of his book that Robert was mentioned in. A truly good book that adds to the proud history of the 7th Cameron Highlanders.

Thank you for mentioning it.

Regards, Mike

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One thing that I noticed about Roberts awards was that he had his BWM mounted in the reverse position. This was also the case on his earlier bar, before he was awarded the "Legion De Honour". I never thought at the time when he was alive to ask him why this had been done?

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What an interesting thread this is.

The photos are really nice and it is very hard to imagine that he was 104 when the photo of him was taken. He looks so well and so young..

May he rest in peace.

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What an interesting thread this is.

The photos are really nice and it is very hard to imagine that he was 104 when the photo of him was taken. He looks so well and so young..

May he rest in peace.

Thank you Susan. Robert told me many a story of his life in the trench's and what he went through. At over 100 and with a hip replacement, he could still walk for miles and chat up the ladies. His memory is still with me. He stayed with me for over 3 months, just after his 100th birthday. During an evening of drinking a few tumblers of his favorite tipple "Single Malt Whisky", I asked him what he thought had kept him going for so many years.

He replied that after walking forward at the "Battle of Loos" and seeing all his mates drop around him. Nothing was going to upset him .. if he lived through that, then life could not upset him or worry him. A tot of whisky and a few cigars up until his death never hurt him.

A man I am so proud of. He worked after the war to provide help to those that survived and bring pleasure to them.

If only there was that sort of feelings these days.

Regards,

Mike

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Too true Mike.

They are lovely memories you have of this tremendous man.

You and your wife are quite rightly proud of him and what he gave for all of us. I am one amongst hundreds of thousands who will always remain grateful to those who fought for us.

Thank you for the small insight into him. Will have to look out his book and now am interested in reading about him.

Susan.

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My favourite memory of Robert Burns was at the Friends of War Memorials (now the War Memorials Trust) annual 1st July Parade at the Cenotaph in Whitehall.

The Khaki Chums had provided the honour guard on the Cenotaph; a soldier, sailor, airman and marine all in Great War uniforms and a contingent representing troops of the Empire.

Robert was there with his arm in a sling having fallen out of bed and injured himself only a short while before.

Just as the parade was about to move off and march to the Cenotaph he pulled his arm out of the sling and handed his stick to a friend or relative and proudly marched on parade; what a great old soldier!

As with so many Great War veterans it was an honour to have met him.

Taff

The picture shows him with the Chums and Winston Churchill when we donated £500 to Friends of War Memorials. The occasion is mentioned in 'Once a Cameron Highlander'.

post-1565-1186821499.jpg

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Taff,

It's great to know that many others had good memories of Robert. I have 6 albums of his photo's, and there is the one that you posted here along with a few others of this occasion. I will look them out and post them at a little later.

In the meantime, here is a pictures of him at the reunion in August 2000 and a copy from the Daily Telegraph of the event.

post-19256-1186869282.jpg

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Roberts younger brother, John Crawford Burns also responded to the call. He served first with the Cameron Highlanders before accepting a commision to the Argyle & Sutherland Highlanders.

I am having trouble trying to track John's service record down. I have a few records, but not his orriginal service number. As far as I can establish he transfered to the RFC after being gassed and returned home.

A picture of him just after his commision.

post-19256-1186870024.jpg

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Regarding John, some extracts from the London Gazette:

London Gazette 13-7-1917

TERRITORIAL FORCE.

The undermentioned, from Officer Cadet Units, to be 2nd Lts. Dated 27th June 1917:

INFANTRY.

Arg. & Suth. Highrs.- John Crawford Burns.

http://www.gazettes-online.co.uk/archiveVi...;selHonourType=

LG 25-11-1919

7th Bn., Argyll & Sutherland, Highrs. - 2nd Lt. J. C. Burns to be Lt. 27th Dec. 1918

http://www.gazettes-online.co.uk/archiveVi...;selHonourType=

LG 22-12-1921

War Office,

22nd December, 1921.

TERRITORIAL, ARMY.

The undermentioned Offrs. relinquish their commns., 30thi Sept. 1921, under A.O. 166/21 as amended by A.O. 332/21, and retain their rank except where otherwise stated:

7th Bn., A. & S.H.

Lt. J. C. Burns.

http://www.gazettes-online.co.uk/archiveVi...;selHonourType=

His officers file at Kew could be one of these:

WO 374/10982 BURN, Lieut J C 1916-1920

WO 374/11078 BURNS, Lieut J C 1917-1921; 1937

Steve.

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Regarding John, some extracts from the London Gazette:

London Gazette 13-7-1917

TERRITORIAL FORCE.

The undermentioned, from Officer Cadet Units, to be 2nd Lts. Dated 27th June 1917:

INFANTRY.

Arg. & Suth. Highrs.- John Crawford Burns.

http://www.gazettes-online.co.uk/archiveVi...;selHonourType=

LG 25-11-1919

7th Bn., Argyll & Sutherland, Highrs. - 2nd Lt. J. C. Burns to be Lt. 27th Dec. 1918

http://www.gazettes-online.co.uk/archiveVi...;selHonourType=

LG 22-12-1921

War Office,

22nd December, 1921.

TERRITORIAL, ARMY.

The undermentioned Offrs. relinquish their commns., 30thi Sept. 1921, under A.O. 166/21 as amended by A.O. 332/21, and retain their rank except where otherwise stated:

7th Bn., A. & S.H.

Lt. J. C. Burns.

http://www.gazettes-online.co.uk/archiveVi...;selHonourType=

His officers file at Kew could be one of these:

WO 374/10982 BURN, Lieut J C 1916-1920

WO 374/11078 BURNS, Lieut J C 1917-1921; 1937

Steve.

Steve,

Your list is a great help. I do have the early entries in the LG for John. But a search of the archives produced a zero result. However I'm not sure if the last 2 mentioned WO numbers were searched. Maybe worth doing, thanks.

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  • 12 years later...

So October 2000 is when he died.

 

And he was born in 1895.

 

 

I'm just curious...What was his full date of birth and what was the full date,of when he died? I need them for work I'm doing.

 

Thanks

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