You are welcome to comment on these pictures

Ross and Cromarty Heritage Society welcome further information and comments about any person or photos on our website. Adding a comment means that you accept our Privacy Policy.

Photo: #6584

Chapman Horace J, Pte, Tore

Private Horace John Chapman

Date of Paper: 26.05.1916
Surname: Chapman
First Name(s): Horace John
Rank: Private
Regiment: Cameron Highlanders
Home Address: Muckernich, Tore, Killearnan.

THE LATE PTE. H. CHAPMAN

Private Horace John Chapman, 2nd Cameron Highlanders, who was killed at Hill 60 on May 10th, 1915, was an orphan, and resided with his grandfather, Mr Evan Mackenzie, Muckernich, Tore, Killearnan. A companion, writing from the front intimating his death, says: “He was a fine soldier and had he lived he would have won the Victoria Cross.”

Photo: #6581

Dransfield H, Capt Rev, Tore

Captain (Rev.) H. Dransfield

Date of Paper: 03.05.1918
Surname: Dransfield
First Name(s): H.
Rank: Captain (Rev.)
Regiment: S. C. F.
Home Address: Tore / Invergordon.

Capt. Rev. H. Dransfield, S.C.F., whose photo is reproduced to-day, has just been appointed priest-in-charge at Invergordon. Capt Dransfield has been working in France as Chaplain for two years, and had, some months ago, been elected Senior Chaplain to the forces in this area. He returns from France in June, and will take up new work in Invergordon early in July. He worked there for six months in 1915 with Naval and Military Defences. Before joining up Captain Dransfield was rector of Arpafeelie, Tore, Ross-shire

Photo: #6582

Forsyth George, Corp, Tore

Corporal George Forsyth

Date of Paper: 23.11.1917
Surname: Forsyth
First Name(s): George
Rank: Corporal
Regiment: Camerons
Home Address: Glaickmore, Tore.

We reproduce today photographs of three of the five soldier sons of Mr and Mrs Forsyth, Glaickmore, Tore, Ross-shire.

Lance-Corpl. W. Forsyth, Seaforths, has been two years and four months in France, going over with the County Territorials in 1914. He was wounded at the battle of Arras and buried in a shell hole for 4-1/2 hours before being dug out by a Royal Scot. He has made a wonderful recovery, and is now convalescent at Aldershot. He is the youngest son of the family, and before the war was a ploughman with the laird of Fettes.

Corpl. George Forsyth, Camerons, the eldest son of the family, was a year and a half in France, and is now with the third battalion. Before the war he was a chauffeur with Col. Grant Peterkin, Grangehall, Forres.

Corpl. Rowallan Forsyth, the fifth son of the family, served nine months in the Dardanelles, and has been two years in France. He was a barman before joining up.

The other two sons, Archie and David, are on home service.

See entries below for details of his brothers Rowallan and William Forsyth

Photo: #6583

Forsyth Rowallan, Corp, Tore

Corporal Rowallan Forsyth

Date of Paper: 23.11.1917
Surname: Forsyth
First Name(s): Rowallan
Rank: Corporal
Regiment: Not stated
Home Address: Glaickmore, Tore.

We reproduce today photographs of three of the five soldier sons of Mr and Mrs Forsyth, Glaickmore, Tore, Ross-shire.

Lance-Corpl. W. Forsyth, Seaforths, has been two years and four months in France, going over with the County Territorials in 1914. He was wounded at the battle of Arras and buried in a shell hole for 4-1/2 hours before being dug out by a Royal Scot. He has made a wonderful recovery, and is now convalescent at Aldershot. He is the youngest son of the family, and before the war was a ploughman with the laird of Fettes.

Corpl. George Forsyth, Camerons, the eldest son of the family, was a year and a half in France, and is now with the third battalion. Before the war he was a chauffeur with Col. Grant Peterkin, Grangehall, Forres.

Corpl. Rowallan Forsyth, the fifth son of the family, served nine months in the Dardanelles, and has been two years in France. He was a barman before joining up.

The other two sons, Archie and David, are on home service.

See entry above for details of his brother George and entry below for his brother William Forsyth

No photo available

Lance Corporal William Forsyth

Date of Paper: 23.11.1917
Surname: Forsyth
First Name(s): William
Rank: Lance Corporal
Regiment: Seaforths
Home Address: Glaickmore, Tore

We reproduce today photographs of three of the five soldier sons of Mr and Mrs Forsyth, Glaickmore, Tore, Ross-shire.

Lance-Corpl. W. Forsyth, Seaforths, has been two years and four months in France, going over with the County Territorials in 1914. He was wounded at the battle of Arras and buried in a shell hole for 4-1/2 hours before being dug out by a Royal Scot. He has made a wonderful recovery, and is now convalescent at Aldershot. He is the youngest son of the family, and before the war was a ploughman with the laird of Fettes.

Corpl. George Forsyth, Camerons, the eldest son of the family, was a year and a half in France, and is now with the third battalion. Before the war he was a chauffeur with Col. Grant Peterkin, Grangehall, Forres.

Corpl. Rowallan Forsyth, the fifth son of the family, served nine months in the Dardanelles, and has been two years in France. He was a barman before joining up.

The other two sons, Archie and David, are on home service.

See entries above for details of his brothers George and Rowallan Forsyth

No photo of Donald Gillies available

Photo: #6278

Gillies Donald, Gunner, Kessock

Attribution: photo supplied by Mr William Gillies, North Kessock.

Gunner Donald Gillies

Gunner Donald Gillies, reported as the “younger son” who had lost a limb in the war.
Surname: Gillies
First Name(s): Donald
Rank: Gunner
Regiment: Royal Horse Artillery and Royal Field Artillery
Home Address: Charleston, North Kessock

606286 Gunner Donald Gillies enlisted in the Royal Horse Artillery on 8 December 1915 and served until 16 August 1917 when he was discharged owing to “wounds”. He was awarded the British War Medal and Victory Medal for his service.

See entry below for details of his brother Walter Gillies

Photo: #6279

Gillies Walter N, Pte, Kessock

Private Walter N Gillies

Private Walter Neil Gillies, MM
Surname: Gillies
First Name(s): Walter Neil
Rank: Private
Regiment: 5th Battalion Cameron Highlanders
Home Address: Charleston, North Kessock

S/40448 Private Walter N Gillies, MM, died in action in Flanders on 19 July 1918 and is buried in Meteren Military Cemetery, France. He was born in Knockbain, Ross-shire, An account of his death at the time reads as follows:

“Private Walter Neil Gillies, MM, killed in action on July 19, was the eldest son of Mr D Gillies, Charleston, North Kessock. He had been in France for over two years, and some time ago was awarded the Military Medal for outstanding bravery. A younger son of Mr Gillies has lost a limb in the war. In pre-war days Private Gillies was employed as a carpenter with Fraser & Macdonald, Kenneth Street, Inverness.

See entry above for details of his brother Donald Gillies
Gillies Walter N, Pte, Kessock

Attribution: photo supplied by Mr William Gillies, North Kessock.

Gillies Walter N, Pte, Kessock

Attribution: photo supplied by Mr William Gillies, North Kessock.

Photo: #6304

Macdonald John, Pte, Killearnan

Private John Macdonald

Date of Paper: 15.09.1915
Surname: Macdonald
First Name(s): John
Rank: Private
Regiment: Royal Scots Fusiliers
Home Address: Linnie, Redcastle, Killearnan

REDCASTLE FUSILIER KILLED

As already reported Private John Macdonald, Royal Scots, Fusiliers, whose photograph appears to day, was killed in action on 12th August on the Western Front. Deceased was the son of Mrs Donald Macdonald, Linnie, Redcastle, Killearnan, Ross-shire. Twenty-eight years of age, he joined up in Glasgow where he was employed in a steel works, in January, 1915. After training at home he was sent East, and served in Egypt. He suffered from fever, and was in hospital for 9 weeks. Subsequently he returned to England, and in May this year proceeded to France.
In a letter to the widowed mother Captain D. Macdonald, chaplain to the battalion, says, “Your son was a great favourite. His officers trusted him as a fearless, devoted, noble spirited lad, while he won the love of all his mates by his generous and winning personality. Our grief at his death at the moment of a striking victory is very profound. Several of his comrades have spoken of him to me with deep emotion, and I promised them that I should write to tell you how sorry they are for you. He was laid to rest today in the British Cemetery with full military honours. It was an impressive ceremony. I pray that the God of all comfort may sustain you in your grief at the death of this the noblest of all our gallant lads.”
Private Macdonald is well remembered in Killearnan. Before going to Glasgow he was employed as foreman with Mr Grant, Flowerburn. He was a devoted son and well-beloved. Mrs Macdonald has two other sons serving. One is in hospital in England. He has been wounded three times.
The youngest son is fighting in France. Of the two daughters one is employed as a munitions worker.

Photo: #6300

Maclean Duncan, 2 Lieut, Killearnan

Second Lieutenant Duncan Maclean

Date of Paper: 12.04.1918
Surname: Maclean
First Name(s): Duncan
Rank: Second Lieutenant
Regiment: New Zealanders
Home Address: Parkton, Killearnan.

2/Lt. Duncan Maclean, 9/383, Otago Regiment New Zealand Forces, whose photograph is reproduced to-day, and who was the youngest son of Mr Donald Maclean, Parkton, Killearnan, Ross-shire, was accidentally killed on the Western Front on the 3rd March, 1918. Thirty five years of age the deceased officer went to New Zealand twelve years ago, and there he established a most successful agricultural business. On the outbreak of war he came across with the first New Zealand Expeditionary Force, and went through the campaign in Gallipoli, where he was wounded. Subsequently he proceeded to France, and has been through much severe fighting there. At Passchendaele for his most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty, Lt. Maclean was awarded the D.C.M. and promoted to officer rank on the field. A few weeks ago he was home on short leave to see his aged parents, who are in infirm health, and to whom the community extend the deepest sympathy in their bereavement.

His chaplain writing to Lt. Maclean’s father says :– “He was an excellent officer, for it is very seldom a man nowadays is promoted on the field as he was. Further, just a few days ago, he had been offered the position of Transport Officer of the brigade with the rank of Captain; but evidently his service in this work was finished and God took him to other work through the thin film which we call death. He was accorded a full military funeral with firing party and band and battalion present this afternoon. His body is laid in a quiet little churchyard far behind the firing line. The place will be marked by a cross with his name. I am sure you must have been proud of him, for he was a son that any father and mother might well have been proud of. In this great cause he did what he could. He served his King and country with every ounce of his strength. Will you please accept through me the sympathy of the battalion in the [remainder obscured]

N.B. Duncan Maclean was Mentioned in Dispatches twice.

In March 2018 RCHS was contacted by Ms Janet Glass, Toronto, who had found the above extract in our website and who has a family connection with Lt Duncan Maclean. She provided a link to a friend in New Zealand, Iain Davidson, who had researched the history behind the “accidentally killed” mentioned above and who had submitted it as an article to The Otago Daily Times. Iain Davidson has kindly given permission for his research to be added to the extract on 2/Lieutenant Duncan Maclean, for which RCHS is most grateful.

An incident that occurred on the Western Front in the opening months of 1918 is both chilling and compelling. It was not reported by the press at the time, as such stories were censored. For the war-weary public the story would have been seen by the authorities as demoralising.

The Official History of the Otago Regiment NZEF in the Great War written after the war mentions briefly that “A tragic affair occurred in the 2nd Battalion lines on March 3rd.” Captain Roland J Hill, MC, and 2/Lieutenant Duncan Maclean, MM, “were fatally shot without apparent reason by a private of the Battalion Transport who, presumably insane, subsequently shot himself.

Roderique Avon John, Pte,

Story re Lieut Duncan Maclean

Private Avon John Roderique

Roderique Avon John, Pte, grave

Story re Lieut Duncan Maclean

Private Avon John Roderique gravestone in Hazebrouck communal cemetery.

Hill Roland J, Capt,

Story re Lieut Duncan Maclean

Captain Roland J. Hill, MC [Photo courtesy of Maggie Petch, Northampton, whose husband is a great-nephew of Captain Hill.]

Private Avon John Roderique, 9/1958, was a 20-year-old labourer from Round Hill, Riverton, when he enlisted in October 1915. After service in Egypt and Gallipoli he was sent to the Western Front where he spent several months as a frontline soldier and had no reported disciplinary problems. A brother, 8/2117 Private Sylvester Roderique, was killed in action on 27 September 1916.

On 3 March 1916 Roderique was behind lines, attached to the battalion’s transport section, near Hondeghem, France. That morning, 2/Lieutenant Maclean went to the Transport Sergeant to detail a driver for a mess cart. Pte Roderique was summoned, as he was due back with his company at the front. Five minutes later a shot rang out and 2/Lieutenant Maclean was shot with a revolver, dying instantly. He was found with his hands in his pockets and a bullet wound to his forehead. He had been shot by Roderique who, being a private, was not entitled to have a revolver (and this was probably a souvenired German sidearm).

Roderique then proceeded to the Quartermaster’s Stores where he talked to Captain Hill. He was reported as saying to Hill, “I believe you are sending me back to the trenches, Sir.” Hill told him to go and do his work. Seconds later another shot rang out. Hill was seen to stagger and fall. Private Roderique was seen to have a revolver in his hand, and was rushed from behind by another soldier but managed to shoot himself through the head. His fellow soldiers reported that Roderique was in his normal mind earlier that morning. He was buried at the Hazebrouck communal cemetery two days later. A court of inquiry found that his wounds were self-inflicted.

Eye-witnesses at the hearing included Lt Colonel James Hardie Neil who said, “I am the OC No. 3 NZ Field Ambulance. This morning at or about 9.30 am I was called by a sergeant of the Otago Battalion to the transport lines at Hondeghem. At the entrance of the east side of the stables I found the body of 2/Lieutenant Maclean. He had not been dead more than half an hour, and had a wound over his left eye. It was obvious a bullet wound was his cause of death, as his hands were in his breech pockets and [as] there was no sign of a struggle it was obvious he had been taken unawares when shot. I was then taken to the Quartermaster’s Store and in an ambulance car [was] the body of Captain Hill. He had a bullet wound to the side of his head that was obviously the cause of his death. In the yard I found the body of a private [Roderique] of the same battalion. He had been dead no longer than a quarter of an hour. He had a bullet wound in the roof of the mouth. There was no sign of other injury to the body, from the position of the wound [it] could only have been self-inflicted.”

Sergeant John William Sim, 9/81, stated: “I am Transport Sergeant of the Regiment. I was working on the limbers at about 9.30 am on 3 March 1918. 2/Lieutenant Maclean came down to notify me to detail another driver for mess cart as Private Roderique was being returned to his company today. About five minutes after, while I was in the stable, I heard a shot fired and immediately after I saw a head protruding from underneath the tarpaulin at the end of the stable, not knowing at the time what really had happened until I went outside the stable and saw 2/Lieutenant Maclean lying on his back, shot through the forehead. I immediately sent for a doctor and gave what attention I could to Lt Maclean. I also gave orders that no one was to touch the body. I looked around for Private Roderique but he was nowhere to be found. Having an idea that he may have gone to the Quartermaster’s Stores, I followed him there. When I arrived the first thing I saw was Captain Hill lying on his face in the Store, with a wound to the head. He seemed to be dead.”

Private George Armstrong Turnbull, 8/3777, stated: “I belong to the Transport of the 2nd Battalion Otago Regiment. At the stables about 9.30 am on 3 March 1918, I was grooming my charger which was tied up just inside the stable door. I heard the report of a firearm which startled the animal. As soon as it got quietened I went to see what had happened. On lifting the wind screen over the stable door, I found Lt Maclean lying on his back with a wound in his forehead. He had both hands in his trouser pockets. He did not seem to be quite dead then.” Private Turnbull also said that he saw Private Roderique at 8 o’clock and said he was joking and laughing at that hour and seemed in his normal state of mind.

Another witness, Private Alexander Ballantyne, 13305, made the statement: “I am employed at the Quartermaster’s Stores of the 2nd Otago Regiment. At about half past nine on 3 March I saw Captain Hill come into the Quartermaster’s Stores. Shortly after, Private Roderique came into the stores and said to Captain Hill, ‘I believe you are sending me back to the trenches, Sir’. Captain Hill told Roderique in reply to get out of it and do his work. A few seconds afterwards, as I was putting away the brushes, I heard a shot fired. On turning around I saw Captain hill stagger and fall, and with Privatem Roderique with a revolver, and I caught him from behind at the same instant he shot himself through the head.” Ballantyne had seen Roderique at 8.30 am and then again at 9 am, and said he seemed to be in his normal state of mind.

The last witness, a civilian, Suzanne Lobbuduz of Hondeghem, said: “At about 9.15 am I saw a soldier pointing a revolver at Lt Maclean after the latter had passed on his way down the street. The soldier then followed Lt Maclean at a few yards distance. Five minutes later I saw this soldier come running back towards the Quartermaster’s Stores. Fearing that he may harm, I ran to warn Captain Hill. At that moment I saw Captain Hill come out of his office to go to the stores. The soldier asked Captain Hill ‘are you going to send me back to the trenches’. Captain Hill said ‘No’ and turned around to speak to me. At that moment the soldier fired a revolver wounding Captain Hill in the head. Another soldier rushed at the one who fired the shot and tried to disarm him, but before he could do so the soldier with the revolver shot himself through the head.”

Of the two murdered that day, Scotsman Duncan Maclean was a Main Body man, service number 9/383, from Lady Barkly, Winton. He served in Gallipoli where he received a gunshot wound to the head. He recovered and was back at the front two months later. He was awarded the Military Medal for acts of gallantry in the field in France and was twice Mentioned in Dispatches. He gradually rose up the ranks, receiving a commission as second lieutenant in late 1917, and was appointed 2nd Otago Battalion’s Transport Officer.

The other officer involved was Roland Justice Hill, a married man with two young children, from Dunedin. He enlisted as a private, service number 8/1506, and sailed with the 3rd Reinforcements Otago Infantry Battalion. He rose up the ranks to be Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant Major and was then commissioned, rising to the rank of captain. He also won a gallantry award, the Military Cross, in January 1918 for “conspicuous gallantry and devoktion to duty” and was also Mentioned in Dispatches.

The funeral of Captain Hill and 2/Lieutenant Maclean at Hondeghem, as captured by Sanders in the official NZEF series of photos, H443.

Maclean Duncan, 2 Lieut, Killearnan
Maclean Duncan, 2 Lieut, Killearnan
Maclean Duncan, 2 Lieut, Killearnan

Two photographs of the graves of Captain Hill (right) and 2/Lieutenant Maclean (right). [Photos courtesy of Maggie Petch, Northampton.]

Photo: #6303

Noble D, Pte, Killearnan

Private D. Noble

Date of Paper: 29.10.1915
Surname: Noble
First Name(s): D.
Rank: Private
Regiment: Not Stated
Home: Address Manse Park, Killearnan

No entry.
[Handwritten notes: “Pte. R. Noble missing France July 1917. Pte. D. Noble in Salonica April 1918. See Mrs Macdonald, Killearnan.”]

Photo: #6305

Noble R, Pte, Killearnan

Private R. Noble

Date of Paper: 29.10.1915
Surname: Noble
First Name(s): R.
Rank: Private
Regiment: Not Stated
Home Address -Manse Park, Killearnan

No entry.
[Handwritten notes: “Pte. R. Noble missing France July 1917. Pte. D. Noble in Salonica April 1918. See Mrs Macdonald, Killearnan.”]

No photo available

Sergeant James Rennie

Date of Paper: 31.08.1916
Surname: Rennie
First Name(s): James
Rank: Sergeant
Regiment: 1/4th Seaforths
Home Address: Killearnan

THE LATE SERGT. RENNIE, SEAFORTHS

We reproduce this week the photograph of Sergt. James Rennie, Seaforths, who was killed in action on 5th August. The deceased, who was about 25 years of age, was well-known at the Dingwall station, where for several years he was a popular, courteous, and most obliging porter. This popularity followed him in the Army, which he joined immediately on the outbreak of war. His comrades in the Seaforths miss him very much.

He was a native of Killearnan district.

Photo: #6302

Wanklyn W H, Lieut, Killearnan

Second Lieutenant W. H. Wanklyn

Date of Paper: 15.06.1917
Surname: Wanklyn
First Name(s): W. H.
Rank: Second Lieutenant
Regiment: Life Guards
Home Address: The Manse, Killearnan, Ross-shire

2/LT. W. H. WANKLYN, LIFE GUARDS, MISSING

A photograph is reproduced to-day of this fine young officer, who was officially reported missing, believed killed, on 11th May, and, as reported last week, information is asked for by Mrs Macdonald, The Manse, Killearnan, Ross-shire, the sister of Lt. Wanklyn’s widowed mother, whose only son he is.

The point of the Ross-shire connection, in asking information, is that a bombing party of a Seaforth battalion were engaged in the same sort of enterprise as Lt. Wanklyn, and it is hoped some of them may be able to add material information to the facts, and will communicate direct with Mrs Macdonald.

Lt. Wanklyn went forward with a few of his men, somewhere in the Arras sector . Their objective was a certain machine gun. Lt. Wanklyn’s orderly was shot just by his side, and, resolved to avenge him, he proceeded ahead alone at first, and was seen entering a house, believed to be full of Germans. Seaforths, out on a like exploit, rushed forward after him, and they also entered the house. Some say they saw Lt. Wanklyn come out; some, missing him, went back and searched for him, but he could not be traced, nor, when the ground was searched the next day, was there any sign of him .
To clear up, if possible, the uncertainty is what is desired, and anyone who can help to do this will confer a great kindness on the anxious relatives.

Lt. Wanklyn is a splendid officer, tall, as befits a Life Guardsman, and adored by all ranks in his unit.