Dedicated to my late Grandfather Private 64457 John Duncan Royal Army Medical Corps whom I never met, but was my inspiration to make this journey.
Also my Granny's brother Private S/26739 Charlie Gibson 4th Seaforth Highlanders who died of wounds received in action 23rd October, 1918 and to all the other men from the Parish who did their duty for King and Country.
"They gave their bodies to the Commonwealth and received each for his memory praise that will never die, and with it the noblest sepulchre - not the post where their bones are laid, but a place in the minds of men"
This site commemorates the men from the Parish of Newbattle in Midlothian who fought and sadly for many, died in the Great War of 1914 - 1919.Well over a hundred men did not return to their villages of Newtongrange, Newbattle , Easthouses , Lothian Bridge and Eskbank, collectively known as Newbattle Parish. Teachers, Plumbers, Police Officers, Bakers but mainly Miners in their hundreds left their peace time jobs and answered Lord Kitchener's call
"Your Country Needs You" - This is their story.
The largest of the villages in the Parish, Newtongrange lived and breathed coal, the Lothian Coal Company ruled the roost and most of the men of the villaged earned their living from one of the pits. Home to the Lady Victoria and Lingerwood pits and the football teams of Newtongrange United, Thistle and the mighty Newtongrange Star.
A smaller near neighbour of Newtongrange and again heavily dependant on the pits for a living. My Great Grandfather was the pit manger here.
A hamlet now almost gone on the A7 road between Newtongrange and Eskbank, a mixture of miners, farm workers and tradesmen resided here. The famous Lothian Bridge which carried the railway over the River Esk can still be seen as can the Sun Hotel. The houses that stood on the same side as the Sun are long demolished.
A scattered collection of houses , the men were predominantly of farming stock, it also is home to the Parish Church an ancient and historic building at the edge of the Red Woods and opposite Newbattle Abbey. The Declaration of Abroath was signed at this ancient location.
A Royal Burgh closer to Dalkeith and the most affluent area in the district, most of the officers mentioned came from here,technically not part of Newbattle Parish at all but several men from the area attended Newbattle Church.
This one threw me at first, but in this era, parts of Arniston, such as Hunterfield and the Arniston Engine were part of Newbattle Parish, so was the small village of Gowkshill. Westhouses, Kippielaw and Fordel also formed part of the Parish.
Most definitely not part of the Parish ,however numerous men from Dalkeith had family in the Parish and a considerable number were members of Newbattle Church.