Other KOSB battalions

Individual accounts of service

This page will contain mini-biographies of soldiers who served with other battalions of the King's Own Scottish Borderers during WW1. As with the corresponding 5th KOSB page, people may send information on their relative (with photo, if available), including family details and any stories relating to their service, and a brief biography will be inserted.

If you would like your relative's story included, then please get in touch via the contact form. Thank you.

Private Robert Anderson, DundrennanRobert Anderson

Private 14802 Robert Anderson, 1st King's Own Scottish Borderers
- drowned 13 August 1915, Aegean Sea, age 20

Born 1894, Dundrennan, Kirkcudbrightshire. Youngest son of Gilbert, gardener, and Emily, Port Mary, Dundrennan. Educated at Dundrennan Public School.

Robert enlisted in September 1914 and was posted to the 9th (Reserve) Battalion. He was drowned on 13 August 1915, when the troopship, Royal Edward, was sunk on the way to Gallipoli with reinforcements for, among others, the 1st KOSB. Commemorated on Helles Memorial and Dundrennan War Memorial.

The Kirkcudbrightshire Advertiser, August 1915:
The death of this young soldier has brought many letters of sympathy to his father and mother. Among these are two from Mr and Mrs Henryson-Caird of Cassencary, and their son, Captain A.J. Henryson-Caird. Mr Henryson-Caird says he and Mrs Henryson-Caird can never forget the deep debt of gratitude they owed to the deceased soldier for what he did towards saving the life of their son at the time of the Solway boating accident (when the "Sirius" was burned). They felt very much for Mr and Mrs Anderson, and offered their sincerest sympathy.

Captain Henryson-Caird, in his letter, says: I shall never forget the debt of gratitude I owe to your son for his help in saving my life at the time I was so nearly drowned.... Mrs Anderson and yourself can always remember your son Robert with pride.

CQMS James Callander, DalbeattieJames Callander

CQMS 9419 James Callander, 1st King's Own Scottish Borderers
- killed in action 21 August 1915, Gallipoli, age 30

Born 1886, Maxwelltown, Kirkcudbrightshire. James (Jim) was the eldest of seven sons in the family of George Callander and Elizabeth Galloway. The family moved to Dalbeattie, where the children were educated.

James enlisted in the KOSB in 1905 and spent nine years with the 1st Battalion, including four each in Egypt and India. He took part in the original Gallipoli landing, at 'Y' Beach, on 25 April 1915 and was through the Battles of Krithia, during which time he was captured by the Turks but after a struggle succeeded in escaping from his captors. Jim was promoted to Colour Sergeant and appointed Company Quartermaster Sergeant with 'C' Company.

The Battalion later embarked for Suvla Bay arriving there on the morning of 17 August. Three days later the 1st KOSB moved forward to the firing line between Chocolate Hill and Scimitar Hill and on 21 August, supported the attack on Scimitar Hill. One officer and 25 other ranks were casualties, including Jim Callander. He is buried in Green Hill Cemetery, plot II.A.20 and commemorated on Dalbeattie War Memorial.

A letter written by CSM Alexander Muirhead (Dalbeattie), 'D' Company, 1st KOSB, states:
Jim and I were always the best of friends. We enlisted together, and had been like brothers for over nine years. He got his wish anyway, that when he got hit, he would get a good one, and be killed without any pain. His officer and he were killed by shrapnel. I am exceedingly sorry about it, for he had a promising career in front of him.

Private Edward Gordon, DornochEdward Gordon

Private 23678 Edward Gordon, 7/8th King's Own Scottish Borderers
- killed in action 23 July 1918, Soissons, age 20

Born 25 July 1897, Brydekirk, Dumfriesshire, one of twin sons (brother Matthew) to Edward and Maggie Gordon. The family moved to Dornoch soon afterwards.

Edward (Ted) was called up for service with the KOSB in May 1916 and is likely to have proceeded overseas to the Western Front in September of that year. Ted was killed in action while serving with the 7/8th KOSB during the Battle of Soissonais in July 1918, just two days before his 21st birthday.

Lieut Thomas Rodger Gormley, GourockThomas Gormley

2nd Lieut Thomas Rodger Gormley, 1st King's Own Scottish Borderers, att. 7/8th Bn
- died of wounds 12 June 1918, near Arras

Thomas was born 12 April 1887 in Gourock, son of John Gormley and Agnes Rodger. Thomas married Alice Finn from Campbeltown in 1909; they brought up their four children, Catherine, Agnes, Thomas and Ethel, in Gourock where Thomas was employed as an Insurance Inspector.

A pre-war member of the local Territorials, the 5th (Renfrewshire) Bn., Argyll & Southern Highlanders, he was mobilised on 5 August 1914. He served as Sergeant 1890, 'B' Company, 1/5th A&SH at Gallipoli. Like many of the 1/5th KOSB men mentioned within these pages, Thomas was wounded during the charge of 12 July 1915. Afterwards, he became quite ill and was invalided to the 1st Southern General Hospital, Birmingham suffering from 'sickness severe'. After recovery and a lengthy period of home service, Thomas underwent officer training with the 9th (Scottish) Officer Cadet Battalion at Stirling and was commissioned with the King's Own Scottish Borderers on 17 April 1917. Thereafter he was posted to the KOSB on the Western Front and was attached to the 7/8th Battalion in October 1917 as Officer in Command No. 16 Platoon, 'D' Company.

On the evening of 11 June 1918 Thomas led a ten-man fighting patrol, made up of men from 'D' Company, on a successful raid on a German outpost. They brought back valuable information and a cache of bombs, for which Thomas was highly commended. The following evening, Thomas led another patrol but the Germans 'lay in wait for them with a great many bombs and gave them a hot time'; only three got back to the British line uninjured. Thomas Gormley, Sergeant Robert Wightman and Private Ferguson (Lt. Gormley's servant) failed to return. A second party volunteered to go out and search for the missing men. Sergeant Wightman and Private Ferguson were eventually found, both severely wounded. Sergeant Wightman was in such pain that when lifted, he groaned so loudly that the enemy heard him and opened fire on the rescue party. The two wounded men were recovered but Sergeant Wightman died the following day. Private Ferguson had received seventeen wounds but survived; he stated that 'Mr. Gormley had bravely rushed the German post'. Thomas could not be found; it was later discovered that he had been wounded and captured, dying later at a German dressing station.

The British Military Mission in Berlin informed his widow Alice that Thomas was buried in Hebuterne Puisieux Cemetery. He is commemorated on the Arras Memorial and Gourock War Memorial.

David Green, Tinwald DownsDavid Green

Lance Corporal 29529 David Green, 7/8th King's Own Scottish Borderers
- wounded in action 12 June 1918, near Arras

David James Green was born on 30 June 1895 at Mouswald Grange, Dumfriesshire, the eldest son of George Green and Agnes Rae, latterly of Lindsay Place, Greenbrae, Dumfries. On his enlistment as Private 2757 with the 2/5th KOSB on 22 December 1914, David was residing at Tinwald Downs, Dumfriesshire.

The first two years of David's army service were spent on home defence duties with the 2/5th KOSB and 12th and 10th Provisional Battalions. On 7 January 1917 he was transferred to the 3rd (Reserve) Battalion as Private 29529 and disembarked in France, afterwards being posted to the 7/8th KOSB. The Battalion served in the Arras Offensive and at Third Ypres in 1917; David survived these engagements unscathed. He was appointed Lance Corporal in January 1918. On 12 June 1918 David was wounded in action (see story of 2nd Lt Gormley above). It is not known whether he was part of the original patrol or in the search party sent out to rescue the men who failed to return after being fired on by the enemy. David suffered GSW to his right cheek, chest and shoulder.

He was evacuated to England and made a good recovery from his wounds. He was never under fire again but returned to France with the 1st KOSB from late November 1918 until March 1919; he was disembodied on demobilisation on 21 April 1919. After the war, David married and had a family but tragically, died still a young man from illness exacerbated by his wounds and the toll on his health caused by the harsh conditions of army service. He left a wife and two infant sons.

Private John Griffin, Woburn SandsJohn Griffin

Private 42174 John Griffin, 6th King's Own Scottish Borderers
- killed in action 30 September 1918, near Ypres, age 33

Born 1884, Woburn Sands, son of Reuben and Sarah Griffin; husband of Harriet Bettle.

John enlisted with the Bedfordshire Regiment as Private 12803 in August 1914 and proceeded to France on 27 October 1915 with 8th Bedfordshire Regiment. He was wounded on the Somme in September 1916 (probably during the Battle of Morval) and again during the Arras Offensive in April 1917. After recovering from his wounds, he was transferred to the Highland Light Infantry in September 1917 as Private 52832 and served in the 2/5th and 21st Battalions in Ireland and Kent until June 1918. On 30th June 1918 he again proceeded to the Western Front, this time posted to the 18th Highland Light Infantry. However, almost immediately part of his draft was transferred to the King's Own Scottish Borderers; John served as Private 42174 with the 6th Battalion from 7 July 1918. He took part in the Advance in Flanders and the Battle of Ypres. During the latter battle, he was killed in action on 30 September 1918. John is buried in Ledeghem Military Cemetery, Grave A. 42.

Private Fergus Hall, Kirkpatrick-FlemingFergus Hall

Private 23862 Fergus Hall, 6th King's Own Scottish Borderers
- wounded and prisoner of war, May 1917, near Arras, France

Born 24 Sep 1896, Kirkpatrick-Fleming, Dumfriesshire, the third son of Francis Hall and Georgina Graham.

Fergus was called up for service with the KOSB in early June 1916 and proceeded overseas to the Western Front in October of that year. Fergus was wounded and taken prisoner on 3 May 1917 while serving with the 6th KOSB during the Third Battle of the Scarpe, part of the Arras Offensive. The family story has it that, 'he was hit in the left hand breast pocket which contained his baccy tin and the bullet ricocheted up into his shoulder'.

Lockhart headstone

Private 24909 John Lockhart, 6th King's Own Scottish Borderers
- missing and presumed killed in action, 3 May 1917, near Arras, France

Ploughman, Twynholm Mains. Born 1890, Borgue, Kirkcudbrightshire, the youngest son of James Lockhart and Janet McGhie; husband of Jane Gordon, Valleyfield (married 28 April 1916).

John volunteered either in late 1915 or early 1916 and was posted to Army Reserve. Mobilised on 5 June 1916, he arrived at the KOSB Depot, Berwick-upon-Tweed, on 7 June and two days later, was posted to the 9th Reserve battalion. With a large draft of reinforcements, John proceeded overseas to the Western Front on 27 October 1916 and after a fortnight at No. 21 Infantry Base Depot, Etaples, was posted to the 6th KOSB in the field in mid-November. He was reported missing and presumed killed during his first and only action, the opening day of the Third Battle of the Scarpe. He left his wife a widow just a few days after their first wedding anniversary. Jane did not readily give up hope, appealing in the local newspaper for information from John's comrades. It was only after the Armistice was declared that an article in the same newspaper reported John as officially presumed killed in action on 3 May 1917.

Wm Preacher Ramleh headstone

Private 201496 William Preacher, 1/4th King's Own Scottish Borderers
- killed in action, 13 November 1917, Palestine, age 30

Born on 21 October 1887 in Maxwelltown, the son of Francis Preacher and Jane Duncan, William followed in his father's footsteps and became a joiner. He married Jane Gordon in Dumfries on 13 June 1910. They had one son, Thomas, who died age 16 days. His wife Jane never remarried and died exactly forty-nine years later on 13 November 1966.

William and his brother, James (201495), enlisted together (so have consecutive KOSB regimental numbers) and were sent to Palestine in January 1917 as part of a large draft of reinforcements for the two KOSB territorial battalions stationed there. William was posted to the 1/4th and James to the 1/5th. Both brothers survived the horrors of 2nd Gaza in April 1917. The next major engagements for the KOSB territorials were not until November that year. The second attack, the Battle of El Mughar, took place on Tuesday 13th:

When dawn came... It was a beautiful, peaceful, sunny morning. On the surrounding hillsides sheep and goats could be seen grazing and birds were whistling. Everything appeared so calm...

It was indeed a memorable charge. Our men without exception were splendid. The enemy did not yield the village without putting up a stiff fight, but by 5 p.m., the victory was complete. Very soon the sun sank behind the hills and the dark mantle of night crept down upon the battlefield, shrouding the agony and the misery.

Those killed during the engagement numbered 3 officers and 30 other ranks from the 1/4th KOSB, William among them. Total casualties for the battalion in the battle were 182. William Taylor Preacher is buried in the Ramleh War Cemetery, Israel and commemorated on Maxwelltown War Memorial. He is also remembered on the family headstone in Troqueer Parish Cemetery.