Newbattle at War a history of the Parish at war   

 Now featuring Scots in the Great War Living History Society.    

The notebook of Lance Corporal David Stewart 12th RS

You may well have seen the pictures of David Stewart's notebook in the photo gallery, I thought I would expand the story a bit, find more about the identity of the men in the book, and what became of them during the war.

Let us start with author of the note book himself Lance Corporal 15863 David Stewart, he appears to have written the book from January,1916 onwards. He was promoted to acting  Sergeant and sadly was killed in France on 16th September,1916 he is buried within Villers Station Cemetery, Villers-Au-Bois. He was married to Emily Ellen Mellow (formerly Stewart), of 5, Longner Terrace, Mountfields, Shrewsbury.

What of the other men 20 men identified in the book then? Here's what happened to them.

Pte 15030 James McLennan survived the war.

Pte 3282 John Shaw survived the war.

Pte 23727 Basil Wells, promoted to Sergeant and survived the war.

Pte 11795 Thomas Baillie survived the war.

Pte 22773 Walter Wallace promoted to Corporal and survived the war.

Pte 23346 Neil Leven Latimir killed in action on the opening day of the Battle of Arras ,9th April,1917.He was 22 years old and the son of Margaret Latimir, of 117, Rosebery St., Oatlands, Glasgow, and the late Robert Latimir. Sadly his body was never found and he is commemorated on the Arras Memorial.

Pte 15629 Harry Urquhart, promoted to Sergeant and killed in action on 22nd August ,1917 whilst serving with the A Company,13th Royal Scots.Son of Janet Braid Urquhart, of 9, Lunan St., Friockheim, Forfarshire, and the late George Urquhart.Commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial.

Pte 13738 John Veitch was awarded the Military Medal for gallantry and died on 10th May,1918. He is listed as 33738 by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. He lies in Etaples Military Cemetery. A native of Edinburgh and the son of Andrew and Wilhelmina Veitch, he was 23.

Pte 14932 Charles Duncan, David has him in his notebook as 14922, promoted to Lance Corporal, he was killed in action 20th September,1917 and is buried within the Perth China Wall cemetery. A native of Brechin and the son of James and Agnes May Duncan, he was 20.

Pte 14922 Charles McCairns survived the war.

Pte 12378 William Angus who also served as Private D/34686 Corps of Dragoons, survived the war.

Pte 3146 Robert Geddes survived the war.

Pte 14746 James Martin survived the war.

Sgt N Bridgeman survived the war.

CQSM late WO2 21291 Hugh Farquhar survived the war.

Pte 15867 Thomas Henderson also served as 51700 Highland Light Infantry, survived the war.

Pte 15876 James Lewis Smith, who must have joined about the same time as Thomas Henderson, was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Royal Naval Division and survived the war.

Pte 13610 Donald Thomson survived the war.

Pte 20596 Robert Miller was promoted to Corporal and survived the war.

Pte 14746 James Martin survived the war

Pte 20335 Gilbert Kergan was promoted to Lance Corporal and killed in action on 28th January,1917. He lies within Fabourg D'Amiens Cemetery, Arras. These are his medals and death plaque which website member Dave Hill kindly sent me a picture of.


So from 21 men 6 were killed, an unknown number were wounded or captured, 1 was decorated and 1 was commissioned. A mortality rate of circa 30% , steep by any standard.