Saturday, 31 March 2012

Image of the Day - 31st March

We've not featured an "Image of the Day" for a while, so here's one for you all to get your teeth stuck into.

This photo is one I recently acquired through a well-known online auction site. The seller had very little information and there is nothing written on the back.

The most obvious piece of information is that the men are all in the Seaforth Highlanders - for once the cap badges can be seen!

The presence of several medal ribbons leads me to think that this might date post-First World War. The man seated in the centre clearly has more than the usual three WW1 medals - is there perhaps a couple of gallantry awards in those ribbons? Perhaps that will help us to identify him.

As with all our "image" posts, you can click the image for a closeup, and you can either post your thoughts in the comments here on the blog, on our Twitter feed or  Facebook page, or by emailing

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Help needed to locate a relative

We were recently contacted by William Nicol, who advised us he had come into possession of a First World War "death plaque" named to Alexander Niddrie Waugh.

The Memorial Plaques were presented to the next of kin of all those who had died in the First World War. Many are still prized possessions of the family, but many more can be found for sale, particularly on Ebay where they can vary in price dramatically, depending on the circumstances.

William would be keen for this particular plaque to be returned to the family, and so we're hoping that someone out there might have some information that could help us to locate a living relative of Alexander Waugh.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission records some information about Alexander which might be useful:


Rank:   Private
Service No:31332
Date of Death:24/04/1917
Regiment/Service: Royal Scots, "B" Coy. 2nd Bn.
Grave Reference: IV. C. 26.

Additional Information: Son of John D. Waugh, of 11, Harley St., Ibrox, Glasgow.

Alexander is also listed on the City of Glasgow Roll of Honour, under the address given for his father above.

Can you add some detail to help us find any living relatives? Did Alexander have any brothers or sisters? And if so, are there any of the family still around today?

You can contact us at the usual email address and we will pass any information received on to William.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Nairn's wartime links to D-Day revealed

Today's BBC Scotland News reports on some seventy years old ordnance being found on a Scottish beach:

War-time explosives at Nairn's East Beach made safe

Two mortar bombs found on a Highland beach used to train troops for the D-Day landings in World War II have been safely disposed of.

Explosives found at Nairn's East Beach. Pic: Northern ConstabularyThe devices found by a member of the public at about 09:45 were thought to have been exposed by shifting sand at Nairn's East Beach. Edinburgh-based bomb disposal experts made the weapons safe, police said.

Nairn's beaches were used to prepare soldiers and sailors for the Allied landings in Normandy in June 1944. Military personnel were based at nearby Fort George at the time.

The remains of tanks used in the rehearsals have previously been found further east along the coast from Nairn. A Valentine tank was lost by the Royal Hussars at Culbin Forest and two others in Burghead Bay.
Northern Constabulary had put in place a 100m (328ft) cordon at East Beach.

It's worth adding that the 13/18th Royal Hussars put their training to good use when they landed on Sword Beach on D-Day along with the rest of 3rd Division. If you are wondering how they could lose a Valentine tank in a forest as reported by the BBC, it is in fact under the sea off Culbin Sands

Culbin Sands offered what seemed like a perfect place to practice amphibious landings but the treacherous tides ensured that 3rd Division suffered several casualties in training over the winter of 1943-44. A small memorial commemorates the time before D-Day spent on the beaches of Nairn and Moray by the Division. You can see a photograph of it on the Scottish War Memorials Project.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Advance notice of the annual Royal Scots Gretna Rail Disaster Service

From the Leith Neighbourhood Partnership's website. Advance notice of an annual remembrance service:

Royal Scots Service

Gretna Rail Disaster

Saturday 19th May

Rosebank Cemetery


(Assemble 10am. Pilrig St. Entrance)

Annual Service of Remembrance at the Royal Scots Memorial in Rosebank Cemetery, where 214 men of the 1/7th Leith Royal Scots are interred as a  result of the horrific Gretna Rail Disaster on the 22nd May 1915.

We use the nearest Saturday to the Disaster date which will be the 19th May 2012 meeting at 10am. at the Pilrig entrance to Rosebank Cemetery, we shall then proceed to the Memorial for a 10.30am Service.  With so many groups and associations committed throughout the City on Armistice Day (11th November) we wish to hold a "Remembrance Service" when people are more readily available.

This service will allow... "Leithers".... ex Royal Scots'...ex Service men and others an opportunity to show their respects. Prayers will also be said for our forces serving in Afghanistan and their families, and the children who also died at Quintinshill.

Please come and show your respects.

Further information:  Revd. Ray Williamson  Tel: 07548740250

Help with an unknown memorial location

David Hutchison has sent us this family snap with what looks like a war memorial in the background. Can anyone help us identify it. Perhaps the buildings in the back may help? 

It looks like the bronze plaque behind the family is a relief of a war scene rather than a list of names. Perhaps warships on the high sea or biplanes in the sky? 

The Caithness sand that helped the war effort

Today's BBC Scotland News website reports on a Sutherland artist's plans to record in stone the lost beaches around John O'Groats.

John O'Groats beaches lost to war effort to be recalled

Artist Gavin Lockhart will carve Caithness flagstones with images of how the beaches once looked 

A new arts project will celebrate John O'Groats beaches that lost their white sands to the Dig for Victory campaign during World War II. The sand was prized as a soil improver due to the large volume of empty and broken shells it contained.

With food rationed, Dig for Victory encouraged people to grow vegetables in their gardens and allotments to help feed themselves and others.

Stones carved with images of how the beaches had looked are to be created.

Sutherland-based artist Gavin Lockhart has been commissioned to undertake the £15,000 public arts project. It is part of wider efforts led by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) to revamp John O'Groats.

Mr Lockhart plans to develop a trail marked by six Caithness flagstones leading people to views across the Pentland Firth to Orkney. Each stone will be carved with images taken from photographs of similar beaches to those found at John O'Groats before World War II.

Mr Lockhart said: "It's a shock to realise that this rugged, rocky shore was in living memory a beautiful white sandy beach and deserves us to look upon this landscape with a little more consideration of its historical sacrifice."

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Free buns and coffee!

Sandy Leishman has posted on Facebook that a small group called "Unsung Heroes of the British Armed Forces" will be giving out free buns and coffee to all visitors at the Museum of the Royal Highland Fusiliers this Friday (16th March) between 1pm and 3pm.

All are welcome.

We've already posted abut the museum, and if you didn't have a reason to go before (and you should, it;s a great museum) then perhaps the idea of a free coffee and a bun will persuade you!

(thanks to Sandy for the tip-off!)

Monday, 12 March 2012

Australian sources for research

We were recently contact by Sandra Young, a researcher based in Australia, who suggested some sources of information which we thought may be of interest.

Our thanks to Sandra for these suggestions. If you have any question on Australian research, you contact Sandra via our website.

Australians who enlisted and fought in WW1 contained numerous Scottish linked veterans, so searching the Australian National Archives, which you can search freely as a guest, allows you to search Australian military records, including our comprehensive Australian WW1 record collection.

The Australian War Memorial website contains an arsenal of useful information and searchable data bases, such as listings of WW1 Australian embarkation lists, WW1 nominal rolls, Honour Roll listings, that give information about Australian veteran casualties.

The Department of Veteran Affairs also contains searcahble nominal rolls for Australian WW2 veterans, which you can search by enlistment towns, service number and a useful feature is if you know a surname and perhapsone or  two initials, a search using this information, also then using place of birth and place of enlistment can often find the WW2 veteran you may be searching for.

The Department of Veteran Affairs also has nominal rolls for Vietnam etc.

The National Library of Australia (NLA) has digitised many old Australian newspapers, up to about 1954, which are now freely available to search online at the NLA website.

The NLA has a "Trove" search function that allows people to search for perhaps WW1 veteran names in both old newspapers and some library resources etc.

(I think the "Trove" search is short for "Treasure Trove".)

Many Australian states would have their own memorial sites such as the register of war memorials in NSW, (New South Wales), which may be helpful to some Scottish people who had relatives who enlisted with Australian troops.

For example,  when you visit the New South Wales site, choose the town as Yass and then choose the bank of NSW officers listing, it should contain  links to some Scottish veterans in some Australian WW1 era banking Honour books.

These veterans happened to work in some Australian based banks that had overseas based staff, as well as Australian staff in the WW1 era.

Other sites include:
  •  an Australian Gallipoli dedicated website, Spirits of Gallipoli;
  • The AIF Project, which allows you to try to find out some aliases of some AIF veterans etc;
  • The ACT Heritage Library's ACT Memorial, with photos and stories about Canberra, or ACT based veterans;
  • The Monaro Pioneers, which has numerous originally Scottish descandant families, who settled in the Monaro area (this site explains where the Monaro NSW area is) and also an extensive listing of some Australian military resource web references in its link section.
  • "Mapping Our Anzacs", is a tool to browse 375,971 records of service in the Australian Army during World War I according to the person’s place of birth or enlistment. This tool gives you a new way of seeing Australia’s involvement in World War I. It shows 9694 men from Scotland having served in the Australian forces.

There are also electronic resources at the National Library of Australia, some of which are freely available, some you need to have a library card and some resources are limited by copyright restrictions, so you have to be physically present in the NLA to use them.

One useful and free resource is the Ryerson Index, run by volunteers, it allows you to search for contemporary, mainly NSW death and probate notices, but you then have to go to the indicated Australian paper where these death and probate notices were published.

The Ryerson Index mainly was useful for NSW death and probabte notices, but it now seems to be adding othe Australian state papers to its arsenal of resourced papers.

I also use some Australian Boer War sites,  one useful one is the Oz-Boer Database, which allows you to freely download a zip file.

Another Boer War site is the Australian Boer War memorial website, which displays numerous photos of Australian Boer War Memorials and other useful information.

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Honouring a war hero

We came across this letter to the Edmonton Journal, and thought it worth featuring here.

Craig Anderson of Banffshire has for the last three years been researching and planning a memorial to Donald Banbury Douglas of Ontario, the pilot of a Second World War crash near Banff.

For further information, and to contact Craig if you have any information, please take a moment to read his letter to the Journal.

Royal Regiment of Scotland receives freedom of Stirling

From the BBC News website today:

The Royal Regiment of Scotland is to be given the freedom of the city of Stirling in a special ceremony.

The soldiers are being awarded the civic honour in recognition of their services and strong links to the area.

They will then be entitled to enter the city "with drums beating, colours flying, and bayonets fixed".
Provost Fergus Wood said: "It will be a great day for the people of Stirling to come out and cheer on the Royal Regiment of Scotland."

He said the city was "very proud" to be bestowing the honour on the regiment.

The event will begin at 11:00 with 51st Highland, 7th Battalion of the Royal Scottish Regiment marching from Stirling Castle, led by a combined military and pipe band. 

The parade will then march down Broad Street before heading along Corn Exchange Road to the Albert Halls.

A band will play at the Albert Halls giving people an opportunity to enjoy the music with the soldiers.

The parade will then march along Dumbarton Road to Port Street, finishing up at Old Viewforth.

Awarding the freedom of the city is an age-old tradition dating back to the laws of ancient Rome that made it a capital offence for Roman legions to enter the city in formation or with weapons without permission.

Will you be at today's ceremony? Are you planning to take pictures? If so, we'd love to feature them here. Please send any pictures to

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Image of the Day - 3rd March 2012

It's a return to our series of "mystery images" today, which today features a group of soldier. This was a recent acquisition to my collection, and the seller didn't have much information on it, apart from thinking it was possibly a group of Highland Light Infantry.

The cap badges seem to suggest that, although the officer in the centre seems to have a different cap badge - is it possibly Royal Scots?

Click on the image for a closer look, and tell us what information you can glean from this picture. As always, you can tell us in the comments below, or you can email your thoughts to