Are you re­lated to these brave men?

Soldier’s daugh­ter aims to trace fa­ther’s com­rades

Paisley Daily Express - - Front Page - Ken­neth Speirs

This pho­to­graph was taken 100 years ago but it could still bring back mem­o­ries for some Pais­ley Daily Ex­press read­ers to­day.

The group of sol­diers is be­lieved to be the 1st Ren­frew Field Com­pany, Royal En­gi­neer Ter­ri­to­ri­als, from Pais­ley.

And in it is the fa­ther of Wilt­shire woman Mau­reen West.

He can be seen sev­enth from the right in the long row at the back.

As the 100th an­niver­sary of the end of the First World War ap­proaches, Mrs West is won­der­ing if any­one in Pais­ley recog­nises any of the men in the pic­ture as a fore­bear of theirs – per­haps a grand­fa­ther or other rel­a­tive.

Mrs West’s fa­ther Robert An­der­son was born on Fe­bru­ary 23, 1894.

She said: “He joined the Ter­ri­to­ri­als on March 17, 1911, so when World War I broke out, he re­ceived an em­bod­i­ment which ar­rived on the fourth of Au­gust 1914 re­quir­ing him to at­tend the Royal En­gi­neers Drill Hall, Pais­ley, not later than 8am on Au­gust 5, 1914.

“The First Ren­frew Field Com­pany were a ter­ri­to­rial unit based in Pais­ley when war broke out, and it would seem they took up var­i­ous coastal de­fence du­ties in the Clyde and Forth ar­eas.

“They em­barked for the Egyp­tian Ex­pe­di­tionary Force on the troop­ship Ionic in Devon­port on Sun­day, De­cem­ber 19, 1915, and joined the 10th In­dian Di­vi­sion at El Kubri.”

The young Robert car­ried out sur­vey­ing work.

“At the end, the Gen­eral sent for him, shook his hand and thanked him for the job he had made of the sur­vey and rec­om­mended him for an in­crease in his en­gi­neer­ing pay and he later be­came a sergeant,” his daugh­ter said.

The com­pany was sent to France, where it joined the 4th Di­vi­sion on the Somme and was re­des­ig­nated 406th ( 1st Ren­frew) Field Com­pany, The Royal En­gi­neers.

“My fa­ther, now 23, had the job of de­sign­ing and su­per­vis­ing the build­ing of the bridge over the Rover Scarpe at St Ni­co­las – the per­ma­nent bridge had been blown up early in the war,” Mrs West said.

But things were later to take a dif­fi­cult turn when, on May 11, 1917, Robert was wounded at Fram­poux.

“He lay five- and- half hours in no-man’s land with a bul­let through his knee,” Mrs West said.

“He must have lain ex­tremely still as ap­par­ently a Ger­man stepped over him and later back the other way. By a stroke of luck, he was picked up by a small party who were be­ing re­lieved.”

Robert ar­rived home on crutches af­ter five months.

Were any of your an­ces­tors com­rades of Robert An­der­son? Do you recog­nise any­one in the pho­to­graph? If so, please call Ken­neth Speirs at the Pais­ley Daily Ex­press on 0141 309 3555.

He lay for five hours with a bul­let through his knee Mau­reen West

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