Of the nine names from the First World War on the memorial, clear information about seven of the young men has been found from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
However, more information is needed to pinpoint Private Alexander Milne’s resting place. On Thursday 21st March 1918, three young men named alexander Milne, all in the Black Watch, all in the 6th Battalion, were killed in the Arras section during the start of the last great German Spring Offensive which saw the Germans retake all the land struggled over by the ‘Allies’ during all the offensives of the previous three and a half years, to end up, as they had been in the Autumn of 1914, within sight of Paris, and with the possibility of ‘winning’ the war very much within their grasp. An Alexander Milne, also of the Black Watch, was killed in an often forgotten theatre of the Great War, in the Middle East, on the Mesopotamian Front.
Private Robertson 11 SP remains untraced at present. The unit ‘SP’ cannot, as yet, be identified. His service number would, as with Alexander Milne, be useful.
Perhaps the saddest thing to contemplate is the fact that on one single weekend, three men named on the memorial were killed. Sgt Daniel Godfrey; Cpl John Morgan; L.Cpl William Ruddiman, were lost during the start of the first of the major debacles which the British generals created - The Battle of Loos. Although eventually a ‘success’ the offensive was incredibly wasteful of young men’s lives.
Two of those names were lost on ‘The Somme’. Privates Gordon and Watson were killed in later stages of field Marshall Haig’s blind and futile attempt at ‘attrition’, which went on from July 1st to the end of November 1916. It is possible that Pte McEwan was also mortally wounded during the September phase of the offensive, but he died at a field hospital ‘down the line’ in Rouen. Private Scrimgeour, killed in the May of the German Spring Offensive, also seems to have died at a Casualty Clearing Station at Houchin, in the Pas de Calais region.
It is noticeable that of all the young men killed, only two would appear to have graves. Most of the others traced, are mentioned only on plaques on memorials. This was generally due to the constant churning of the soil by shellfire, making it impossible for the dead to remain undisturbed in hastily dug raves - if it were even possible to safely Carry out such burials.
It remains unclear what percentage of the young men of service age in the area of Colenhaugh/Stormontfield the nine names on the St David’s plaque represents. Recently released information shows that Scottish regiments had a fatality rate of over 25%. One in four of all those enlisted in such regiments was killed during the First World War: the highest loss rate of any regional or national group amongst the main allies.
article by Greg McShane, Colenhaugh
To the memory of the men of this district who, to uphold liberty and justice, laid down their lives in the great war.
WE WILL REMEMBER THEM
Pte. JOHN ROBERT GORDON
6th BLACK WATCH
Born at Ruthwell, Dumfriesshire, on the 14th of May 1893. Prior to enlistment he was employed as a forester on the Scone Estate. He enlisted in the Scottish Horse on 17th August, 1914. He saw service in Gallipoli and was invalided, suffering from enteric fever, first to Malta, and later to England. He sailed for France with the 6th Black Watch in August, 1916, and was killed at Beaumont Hamel on the 13th November of that year.
Sergeant DONALD GODFREY
9th BLACK WATCH
Son of the late Mr and Mrs John Godfrey, Stormontfield, was born at Stormontfield on 14th September, 1876. He received his education at Stormontfield School, and was in employ of Messrs Lumsden and Mackenzie. He had previously served in the South African War. At Magersfontein, then being in the 2nd Black Watch, he was taken prisoner, but was released on the advance of the British Army under Lord Roberts. Early in the summer of 1915 he sailed with his regiment to France. He was present at, and was wounded, in the battle of Loos on September 25th, 1915. The wounds he received were the cause of his death. Sergeant Godfrey was twice married and is survived by a son and daughter.
Pte. ALLISTAIR McEWAN
1st BLACK WATCH
Grandson of the late Mr and Mrs John McEwan, Stormontfield, was born at Stormontfield on 9th June, 1895. He was educated at Stormontfield School, and previous to his enlistment was employed in Stormontfield Works as a beetler. He enlisted on 19th January 1915, in the H.C.B., and in July, 1916, was transferred to the 1st Black Watch. he was severely wounded in action near Thiepval on the River Ancre, and died of his wounds on 29th September, 1916, at Rouen. He is buried at St Sever Cemetery, Rouen.
Corporal JOHN MORGAN
7th R.S. FUSILIERS
New photo supplied by grandson see end of page.
Son of Mr and Mrs D Morgan, formerly of Lethendy, in the Parish of Scone, was born at Over Durdie, Kilspindie, on 12th December 1890. He was educated at Guildtown Public School before his enlistment he was employed as a forester on the Scone Estate for 7 years. He enlisted in Kitchener's Army on 3rd September, 1914. He proceeded to France in the beginning of July, 1915,and was killed in action at Hill 70, Loos, on Sunday 26th September, of the same year. In June, 1915, he married Annie Clark Sturrock, who died in October, 1918. He is survived by one little girl - Kathy who was brought up by her Aunt and Uncle Mr & Mrs Joe Scrimgeour after her Mother died in the flu pandemic.
Pte. ALBERT MILNE
A native of Alyth, and spent his boyhood in Methven. He was employed as a forester on the Scone Estate prior to his enlistment and was well known in Stormontfield and neighbourhood. He was reported missing on 18th November, 1917. His platoon officer says that Private Milne was a general favourite in the platoon, and set a good example to his comrades.
Pte. GEORGE ROBERTSON
Son of the late Mr and Mrs Donald Robertson was born at 9 Watt Street, Forfar, on 17th June, 1889. In civil life he was a forester, having served his time on the Scone Estate. While in Scone he resided with his aunt, Mrs Bremner, at Lady Mansfield's Cottage. He joined the Army on 12th August, 1914. He served on three different fronts. He took part in the Battle of Neuve Chapelle in April, 1915, where he was wounded. In June of the same year he was drafted to Gallipoli. He saw fighting in Egypt. About the middle of 1917 he was back in France, and on 4th October, 1917 at Polechappelle he met his death. While removing a wounded man, he was instantaneously killed by the explosion of a shell beside him.
L. Cpl.WILLIAM RUDDIMAN
KINGS OWN SCOTTISH BORDERERS
A native of Leslie in Fife, he was by occupation a forester, and was employed as such on the Scone Estate.
He enlisted early in the war, and was killed at the Battle of Loos on 25th September 1915, aged 25 years.
Pte JAMES SCRIMGEOUR
1st BLACK WATCH
Son of Mr and Mrs James Scrimgeour, Fish Ponds, Stormontfield, was born at Fish Ponds, on 28th July 1893. Before enlisting he was employed as Clerk with Messrs Lumsden and Mackenzie. He joined the H.C.B. on 9th September, 1915. In July, 1916, he was transferred to the 1st Black Watch, and proceeded to France on 30th July of the same year. he was taken prisoner on 18th April, 1918, during the great German offensive, but pluckily contrived his escape the same evening. He died of his wounds in the 15th C.C.S. on 28th May, 1918, and is buried at Houchin Military Cemetery Meuse Les Mines.
Sgt ALEXANDER TAIT
ROYAL ARMY SERVICE CORPS
Son of John and Christina Tait, of Stormontfield, was born on 2nd October 1920 and was educated at Stormontfield School. On leaving school he served his time with McDiarmid the Grocers of South Street Perth. When he was 18 years old he joined the Territorial Army. In 1938 just after the Munich Crisis, and served with the R.A.S.C. Company from Perth. he went with this unit to France where they formed part of the 51st Highland Division. he was fortunate to escape from St Valery. he then served in North Africa and North West Europe, in France, Belgium and Holland. Alex was granted leave from his unit in October 1944 and was in Antwerp when he was killed when a flying bomb landed where he was staying. He is buried at Schoonselhof Cemetery, Antwerpen, Belgium - Grave Ref VA42. He died on Saturday, 16th December 1944, aged 24 years.