Bat­tle of The Somme

The Oban Times - - NEWS -

THE BAT­TLE of the Somme was one of the defin­ing events of the First World War, writes He­len Glen­nie.

It took place be­tween July 1 and Novem­ber 18, 1916, on both sides of the River Somme in France. It was one of the largest bat­tles in the First World War in which more than 1,000,000 were wounded or killed.

There were huge losses of men on the day – July 1, 1916 – but the Somme of­fen­sive con­tin­ued for a to­tal of 141 days. Men from ev­ery part of Bri­tain and across the Com­mon­wealth took part.

Some 150,000 Com­mon­wealth ser­vice­men lie buried in 250 mil­i­tary and 150 civil­ian ceme­ter­ies on the Somme and six memo­ri­als to the miss­ing, built and cared for by the Com­mon­wealth War Graves Com­mis­sion, com­mem­o­rate by name more than 100,000 whose graves are not known – a last­ing re­minder of the hu­man cost of the fight­ing in this re­gion through­out the First World War.

The Bat­tle of the Somme left a deep mark on mil­lions of fam­i­lies across the Com­mon­wealth, in­clud­ing seven men from the small com­mu­nity of the Slate Is­lands. It is im­por­tant that we never for­get what hap­pened on the bat­tle­fields, and al­ways hon­our the mem­ory and brav­ery of those who served and those who fell. Pri­vate Hugh Cameron, 9th Bat­tal­ion the Camero­ni­ans (Scot­tish Ri­fles). Lance Cor­po­ral Archibald Dou­glas, 1st/14th Lon­don Scot­tish. Cor­po­ral Archibald McDer­mid May, 10th Bat­tal­ion Ar­gyll and Suther­land High­landers. Cor­po­ral Don­ald Liv­ingston, 5th Reg­i­ment (Que­bec) Cana­dian Mounted Ri­fles. Pri­vate John Liv­ingston, 1st/14th Lon­don Scot­tish. Pioneer Ken­neth Liv­ingston, 51st Coy High­land Divi­sional Sig­nals Royal Engi­neers. Pri­vate Peter Alexan­der Macdougall, 2nd Bat­tal­ion Ar­gyll and Suther­land High­landers.

Don­ald Liv­ingston

COR­PO­RAL Don­ald Liv­ingston, 5th Reg­i­ment (Que­bec) Cana­dian Mounted Ri­fles, was born on Oc­to­ber 16, 1888, in Oban, to John Liv­ingston and Ann McGil­vray of Balvicar, Seil. He em­i­grated to Canada, where he be­came a riv­eter be­fore en­list­ing in Van­cou­ver on Novem­ber 7, 1914.

Don­ald died, aged 33, on Septem- ber 14, 1916, at the Bat­tle of the Somme and has no known grave. He is com­mem­o­rated on France’s Vimy Memo­rial: the high­est point of Vimy ridge which com­mem­o­rates all Cana­di­ans who served their coun­try in bat­tle dur­ing the First World War, and par­tic­u­larly to the 60,000 who gave their lives in France. It also bears the names of 11,000 Cana­dian ser­vice­men who died in France – many of them in the fight for Vimy Ridge – who have no known grave.

Don­ald’s brother, Alexan­der Liv­ingston, listed above his name on the Kil­bran­don war memo­rial, also died in the First World War.

Peter Macdougall

PRI­VATE Peter Alexan­der Macdougall, 2nd Bat­tal­ion Ar­gyll and Suther­land High­landers, was born at Ardincaple, Seil, on June 15, 1892. Peter’s obit­u­ary in The Oban

Times on December 2, 1916, re­lates: ‘BALVICAR – KILLED IN AC­TION – On the 13th, Mr and Mrs Macdougall, Ash­bur­ton, Balvicar, re­ceived the sad in­tel­li­gence that their el­dest son, Peter, Ar­gyll and Suther­land High­landers, was killed in ac­tion on the 28th Oc­to­ber. Of a most gen­tle, ami­able dis­po­si­tion from early child­hood, pri­vate Macdougall was a uni­ver­sal favourite.

‘Had he been spared, there was ev­ery rea­son to be­lieve that a suc­cess­ful ca­reer in his pro­fes­sion lay be­fore him. The heart­felt sym­pa­thy of the whole district goes out to the stricken parents, sis­ter and brother.

‘A younger brother, James, also of the Ar­gylls, and who has been wounded in one of the re­cent at­tacks, and is in hos­pi­tal at Havre.

‘A Cal­lan­der pa­per says: “In­for- ma­tion has been re­ceived that Pri­vate Peter Macdougall, Ar­gyll and Suther­land High­landers, was killed in ac­tion in France of 28th Oc­to­ber. Pte. Macdougall, who was 24 years of age, came from Eas­dale in 1906 and at­tended the McLaren High School un­til 1911, when he en­tered the Cal­lan­der Branch of the Bank of Scot­land”.

‘Af­ter suc­cess­fully com­plet­ing his ap­pren­tice­ship, he was ap­pointed teller at the Killin branch of the bank, which po­si­tion he held un­til he en­tered the Army in the early months of this year. Pri­vate Macdougall was a great favourite at school and in busi­ness and ath­letic cir­cles, and the news of his death has caused gen­eral re­gret in Cal­lan­der. He was a prom­i­nent foot­ball player and a com­pan­ion of the late Lieut. John Fer­gu­son in the McLaren High School and Cal­lan­der This­tle foot­ball teams.’

Peter Macdougall is buried among the 3,137 graves at the Guards’ Ceme­tery, Les­boefs, France, where his head­stone is in­scribed ‘To Mem­ory Ever Dear.’

Peter Macdougall was one of the sol­diers who were re-in­terred from a map ref­er­ence from the bat­tle­field. Some 1,644 of the buri­als are uniden­ti­fied. His brother Don­ald Macdougall also died in the First World War and is named on the Kil­bran­don war memo­rial. Peter was awarded Bri­tish and Vic­tory Medals.

Ken­neth Liv­ingston

PIONEER Ken­neth Liv­ingston, 51st Coy High­land Divi­sional Sig­nals Royal Engi­neers, was born on July 12, 1892, in Lorn Com­bi­na­tion Poor House, Oban, a twin with sis­ter Is­abella, to mother Is­abella Liv­ingston, who had six chil­dren, but did not marry.

Ken­neth had en­listed in the Ar­gyll and Suther­land High­landers Ter­ri­to­rial Force at Eas­dale in 1909 when he was 16, and then was trans­ferred in April 1915 to the 51st High­land Divi­sion Sig­nal Coy Royal Engi­neers. He was reg­is­tered Sap­per Tele­graphist Field Line in December 1915.

He was killed in ac­tion on July 22, 1916, at High Wood, Somme, aged 24. The 51st Divi­sion at­tack at High Wood came un­der heavy ma­chine gun fire, and they were forced to with­draw with 450 ca­su­al­ties.

He is also com­mem­o­rated on the Thiep­val Memo­rial as he has no known grave. Ken­neth was awarded the Vic­tory, Bri­tish and Star Medals. His next of kin was given as Gil­bert May, Oban, Seil, Eas­dale, a farmer with whom he had been liv­ing. Ken­neth’s obit­u­ary in The Oban

Times on Septem­ber 2, 1916, car­ried the fol­low­ing po­ems:

In Me­mo­riam

LIV­ING­STONE – Killed in ac­tion in France on 22 July. You are ly­ing in a for­eign land, In a grave we shall never see; But as long as life and mem­ory be, Ken­neth, we’ll re­mem­ber thee. – Inserted by his sor­row­ing Sis­ters and Brothers He was brave, lov­ing, kind and true, He faced the shot and shell; Al­though his grave I can­not see, He like a sol­dier fell. – Inserted by Mrs Al­lan Liv­ing­stone

The Oban Times obit­u­ary of Don­ald Liv­ingston on Oc­to­ber 28, 1916.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.