Friday, 4 April 2014

Coll or Callanish?


Private DONALD MACLEAN
Last address in Lewis: 7 Coll
Son of Murdo and Isabella Maclean
Service unit: Seaforth Highlanders
Date of death: 22 May 1916 at the age of 21
Died after 1½ years suffering of phthisis
Local memorial: Back
His brothers Kenneth and Murdo served in the RNR, but survived the war.

Please note
Donald Maclean's date of death on the Back War Memorial is quoted as January 1916. However, his death certificate states that he died on 22 May 1916, aged 21, of phthisis of which he had suffered for 18 months. No reference to any military service could be found.

Donald Maclean, 21 Callanish, died on 7 January 1916 in Mesopotamia. The entry on CWGC refers to Donald being the son of Finlay Maclean, which tallies with the information from the Roll of Honour, which lists an identical date of death, although it erroneously lists his location of death as La Bassee.

Private DONALD MACLEAN
Last address in Lewis: 21 Callanish,
Son of Finlay and Annie Maclean.
Service unit: 1st Seaforth Highlanders
Service number: 3/7031
Enlisted at Stornoway
Date of death: 7 January 1916 at the age of 22
Killed in action at Persian Gulf
Memorial: Basra Memorial, Iraq, Panel 37 and 64
Local memorial: East Loch Roag, Callanish

Saturday, 15 March 2014

A Stornoway WW1 casualty: Ernest L. Gillanders

Private ERNEST LEWIS GILLANDERS
Last address in Lewis: 34 Francis Street, Stornoway
Service unit: 1st Scots Guards
Service number: 14042
Enlisted at Dundee
Date of death: 11 October 1918
Interred: Delsaux Farm Cemetery, Beugny, grave I. F. 23

Ernest is shown in the 1891 census at 34 Francis Street, Stornoway, aged 1, the son of William  and Jemima Gillanders, and brother of Wm Mackay (9), Rose (6), MacKenzie (3) and Everard Francis (1). His father William (41) was born at Nigg, and was an Acct & District Comlter Clerk [Accountant]. His mother Jemima (34, nee Mackenzie) was born at Stornoway. The couple are shown, without children, in the 1881 census at 18 Francis Street. They were married at Helensburgh on 24 March 1881, just ten days before the 1881 census.

Ernest Lewis was one of twins, the other being Everard Francis. They were born at 10.20 am at 18 Francis Street on 4 November 1889.  Their father reported the birth on 26 November.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

A Stornoway WW1 casualty, Frederick Charles

Private FREDERICK CHARLES
Last address in Lewis: 32 Keith Street, Stornoway
Service unit: 4th Royal Irish Fusiliers
Service number: 18635
Date of death: 9 September 1915 at the age of 45
Died of drowning in the River Clyde
Interred: Glasgow Eastern Necropolis, grave 12. 2057.

Frederick Charles was born at 32 Keith Street on 28 August 1869 at 5 am. He was the son of Frederick Charles, seaman, and Margaret nee Macleod; they were married on 11 March 1864 at Stornoway.   Margaret's mother Margaret Macleod reported the birth at the Stornoway registry office on 10 September 1869. She affirmed the registration with a cross in the register.

Frederick is shown in the 1881 census of Stornoway, aged 11, living at 32 Keith Street, Back Court. He is a scholar, the son of Margaret (32) and  Frederick (a seaman, not present at census time) and brother of Johanna (13).

In 1891, Frederick appears in the census at 6 Blackburn Street, Govan, Glasgow, aged 21. He is a baker, living with his mother Margaret (46) and siblings Johanna (23) and Donald (14).

By 1901, Frederick (31) is married to Isabella Charles (27), and has a baby son, Kenneth, aged 9 months. They live at 136 Nelson Street, Govan; Frederick is a journeyman baker.

At 8 o'clock in the morning of 9th September 1915, Frederick drowned in the River Clyde opposite berth no 12, Broomielaw, Glasgow. He is quoted as living at 89 Oran Street. It is mentioned he was a private in the 4th Royal Irish Fusiliers. At the time of his death, both his parents were deceased.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

The missing link

Searching for the keyword Stornoway on the military databases on Ancestry has yielded 445 names, and checking name #2 immediately presented a puzzle.

Robert Bruce, 9th Highland Light Infantry 330122, was killed in action on 20 May 1917 at the age of 22. His place of birth is quoted as Stornoway, Caithness. That is already an oddity, as Stornoway used to be in Ross-shire. Looking at the census returns from 1901, I find a Robert Simon Bruce, aged 6, who lives at 34 Bayhead Street, Stornoway, living with his parents John and Jessie (aged 60 and 50 respectively) and several siblings.

However, the military records do not show any confirmed connection with Stornoway. The service returns, showing warrant officers, non-commissioned officers and men, only say that this man came from Scotland.

So, although the evidence is strong, it is not strong enough for Robert Bruce, 330122 HLI, to be included in the listings for the Isle of Lewis.

Additions to listings

Further research has unearthed about a dozen names of men lost in WW1 who had connections to Lewis, but not listed as such. The determining factor is whether they were born there, or their parents came from the island, or mentioned on a local memorial.

Serjeant WALTER ARMSTRONG BRUCE
Last address in Lewis: Knockiandue Schoolhouse, Keose
Son of William and Agnes E (nee Armstrong)
Born at Langwell, Caithness
Service unit: 5th Black Watch
Service number: 2063
Enlisted at Montrose
Date of birth: 11 March 1889
Date of death: 19 June 1915
Killed in action
Interred: Y Farm Military Cemetery, Bois-Grenier, grave D. 40.
Local memorial: Kinloch, Laxay

Lance Corporal HECTOR MACKENZIE
Last address in Lewis: 34 Point Street, Stornoway
Son of Simon and Wilhelmina Mckenzie of "Glentin", Derby St, Kogarah, NSW, Australia. Born in Stornoway
Service unit: 1st Australian Infantry
Service number: 341
Date of death: 10 May 1915 at the age of 30
Killed in action at Gallipoli
Memorial: Lone Pine memorial, panel 13

Private ANGUS MACKAY
Last address in Lewis: 7 Calbost
Son of Kenneth and Ann Mackay (nee Maclean),
Husband of Jessie Mackay of Inver Inn, Fearn, Ross-shire
Service unit: 12th Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders
Service number: S/16380
Date of death: 9 August 1918 at the age of 35
Interred: Salonika (Lembet Road) Military Cemetery,  grave 1126

Private MALCOLM MACDONALD
Last address in Lewis: 18 Laxay
Son of John and Catherine Macdonald
Service unit: 16th Canadian Infantry
Service number: 21742
Date of birth: 14 August 1882
Date of death: 9 July 1921 at the age of 38
Interred: Winnipeg (Brookside) Cemetery, grave Mil. 337

Sapper ALEXANDER MORRISON
Last address in Lewis: 35 Eoropie
Son of John and Anne Morrison
Husband of Minnie Gertrude Morrison of 55A Upcerne Road, Chelsea, London
Service unit: 2 Coy, Royal Engineers
Service number: 327066
Date of death: 22 February 1919 at the age of 46
Interred: Wandsworth (Earlsfield) Cemetery, Screen Wall B. 20. 371. 

Private MURDO MACLEOD
Last address in Lewis: 29 Laxay
Son of Malcolm and Mary (nee Morrison) of Laxay
Service unit:  Cameron Highlanders
Service number: 29466 transferred to 375320 Labour Corps
Date of birth: 2 July 1889
Date of death: 10 March 1921 at the age of 32
Interred: Inverness (Tomnahurich) Cemetery, grave 6.3.4. 

Deckhand NORMAN MACLEOD
Last address in Lewis: 22 Ranish,
Son of Alexander and Catherine Macleod
Service unit: Royal Naval Reserve, Armed Fishing Vessel Egret
Service number: 14988DA
Date of death: 1 June 1918 at the age of 20
Ship sunk by U-boat near Humber LV
Memorial: Chatham Naval Memorial, panel 30
Local memorial: North Lochs, Crossbost

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Additions to listings

As I was checking the CWGC website for casualty listings which included to word "stornoway", I came across at least three names of men who had connections to the town, or to the island. The search also yielded results that had no connections to the Isle of Lewis; four lived on Stornoway Road in Southend-on-Sea in Essex; one came from Stornoway in Saskatchewan, Canada.

Captain REGINALD FOWLER GREENHILL
Only son of Mrs. and the late Dr. S. F. Greenhill, of 9, Bank St., Stornoway, Isle of Lewis.
Last address in Lewis: 9 Bank Street, Stornoway
Service unit: 15th Lancashire Fusiliers
Date of death: 1 January 1918 at the age of 22
Interred: Wimereux Communal Cemetery, grave IV. I. 3

Private JOHN FORREST
Last address in Lewis: Stornoway
Son of Mr. A. M. Forrest, of Beach House, South Beach St., Stornoway.
Service unit: 1st Scots Guards
Service number: 9892
Born at Montrose
Enlisted at Paisley
Date of death: 28 September 1915
Died of wounds
Interred: Noeux-les-Mines Communal cemetery, grave I. D. 28.

Private DONALD DRUMMOND
Last address in Lewis: Garrabost
Son of the late Alexander and Jemima Drummond, of Garrabost, Stornoway.
Service unit: 7th Seaforth Highlanders
Service number: S/12696
Date of death: 10 November 1916 at the age of 23
Died of wounds
Interred: Warrington Cemetery, grave C. NC. 717

Archibald Macphee - to be brought in from the cold

A couple of years ago, I managed to have private Norman Morrison, late of South Dell, and private Finlay Maclean, late of Sandwick, "in from the cold". That means that they were awarded Commonwealth War Dead status.

In recent months, I have focused on compiling a listing of Great War casualties from the Southern Isles. This comprises the islands of Harris, Berneray, North Uist, Grimsay, Benbecula, South Uist, Eriskay, Barra and Vatersay. One of the casualties, Archibald Macphee, was found to be a potential candidate for Commonwealth War Dead status as well. The proces is lengthy, and I'll update as developments occur.

Private ARCHIBALD MACPHEE
Last known address in South Uist: Garryhillie
Son of John and Mary Macphee
Service unit: 3rd Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders
Service number: 3/5553
Date of death: 10 February 1917 at the age of 23
Died at home of illness
Local memorial: South Uist

Pte Macphee died of TB, which he contracted whilst on service. He was repatriated in order to be treated for trench foot. I am indebted to a relative for highlighting this man.