25 February 2010

7th (Deeside Highland) Battalion, Gordon Highlanders

The 7th (Deeside Highland) Battalion, Gordon Highlanders was the natural heir to the 5th Volunteer Battalion, Gordon Highlanders and was headquartered at Banchory. It was administered by two Territorial Force County Associations and, certainly until 1914, ran two distinct series of numbers - the first series starting at 1, the second series starting at 2000.

In 1914, the disposition of the battalion's companies was as follows:

A Company:
Banchory; drill stations at Durris and Torphins
B Company:
C Company:
D Company:
Laurencekirk; drill stations at Auchenblae, Bervie, Fettercairn, Fordoun and Marykirk
E Company:
Ballater, drill stations at Crathie and Braemar
F Company:
Aboyne; drill stations at Tarland, Finzean and Logie Coldstone
G Company:
Kemnay; drill stations at Skene, Blackburn, Monymusk and Echt
H Company:
Peterculter; drill station at Countesswells.

Numbering in the battalion, pre 1917, appears to follow a fairly logical and sequential path but the re-numbering certainly does not and is a hotch-potch (for want of a better technical term) of numbers from both series and with no apparent logic.

As an example of this, see below the first 100 numbers from the six digit block allocated to the 7th Gordon Highlanders (290001 to 315000). I searched for the medal index cards (MICs) on Ancestry and then, armed with these numbers and names, went looking for service records in the WO363 and WO364 series.

The first thing to say is that for 42 men in that first re-numbered sequence of 100, I found no MICs at all. This high failure rate could be due to a number of factors including mis-transcribed numbers, cards not yet uploaded onto the Ancestry website (although I understand that these particular MICs should all now be present), missing MICs, and of course no entitlement to medals because the man or men concerned neither served overseas nor received a silver war badge.

Of the 58 MICs I did find, enlistment dates were recorded on five cards (dates which should always be treated with caution as they may not necessarily refer to the same regiment / battalion - see Donald McLaren below as a possible example of this). I subsequently found no records at all in the WO 363 series but did locate five records in the WO 364 pension series. My commentary is below. Links are to the main Ancestry website which is currently offering a FREE 14-day trial.

290001 - Not Found
290002 - Not Found
290003 - Not Found
290004 - Not Found
290005 (formerly) 29 William Hendry
290006 - Not Found
290007 (formerly) 5 William Lamb
290008 (formerly) 36 John Milne
290009 (formerly) 45 James Robertson
290010 (formerly) 555 George W Dunbar
290011 - Not Found
290012 (formerly) 558 Fred Davison
290013 (formerly) 51 Andrew Taylor

290014 (formerly) 53 Douglas G Wilson
Only two pages from Douglas Wilson's service record survive in WO 364. His pensioner's record card gives his enlistment date as 5th August 1914 but this is clearly incorrect and is probably his date of embodiment rather than enlistment. Douglas Wilson was born in 1879 and I think it likely that he was a pre 1908 5th VB man who enlisted with the 7th Gordons in April 1908.

290015 - Not Found
290016 (formerly) 560 James Wallace
290017 (formerly) 561 Angus Cooper
290018 - Not Found
290019 - Not Found
290020 (formerly) 103 William L Bain
290021 - Not Found
290022 - Not Found
290023 (formerly) 565 John Tough
290024 (formerly) 267 David Milne
290025 (formerly) 271 Douglas Wilson
290026 (formerly) 568 Samuel McPherson
290027 - Not Found
290028 - Not Found
290029 - Not Found
290030 (formerly) 311 Charles Duncan
290031 (formerly) 76 James A Jamieson

290032 (formerly) 61 John Jamieson
John Jamieson's MIC gives his enlistment date as 1st April 1908 and he was almost certainly on old 5th VB man.

290033 - Not Found
290034 (formerly) 86 Andrew Walker
290035 - Not Found
290036 - Not Found
290037 (formerly) 134 William Blackhall
290038 (formerly) 139 Walter C Cruse
290039 (formerly) 127 George McDonald
290040 (formerly) 157 George Reith
290041 - Not Found
290042 - Not Found
290043 - Not Found
290044 - Not Found
290045 (formerly) 253 J A McLaren
290046 (formerly) 304 William Stewart
290047 (formerly) 2136 William Anderson
290048 - Not Found
290049 (formerly) 2141 George Duthie
290050 (formerly) 2165 James Lorimer
290051 (formerly) 2167 John Lorimer

290052 (original number unknown) John Sinclair
John Sinclair's MIC gives his enlistment date as 17th May 1915 which again would appear to be incorrect and may again reflect a date of embodiment. As no original number is given on his MIC however, it is virtually impossible to tell when this man originally joined the 7th Gordons.

290053 (formerly) 2179 Frank Shivas
290054 - Not Found

290055 (formerly) 2135 William Watson
Joined on 1st April 1908, an old 5th VB man.

290056 (formerly) 2224 Robert G Bain
290057 - Not Found
290058 (formerly) 2216 Robert Dowers
290059 - Not Found
290060 - Not Found
290061 (formerly) 2009 Donald Coutts
290062 (formerly) 2011 John Cumming
290063 (original number unknown) Frank Duguid
290064 (formerly) 2015 Robert Ewan
290065 - Not Found
290066 (formerly) 2031 Alexander McIntosh
290067 (formerly) 2189 John McHardy
290068 - Not Found
290069 (formerly) 2220 Joseph Coutts
290070 (formerly) 2313 Peter Lamont
290071 - Not Found
290072 - Not Found
290073 (formerly) 2250 William Findlater
290074 - Not Found
290075 - Not Found
290076 - Not Found
290077 (formerly) 2205 William Harper Henderson
290078 - Not Found
290079 (formerly) 2069 Gordon Smith
290080 (formerly) 361 James C Greig
290081 (formerly) 2357 Charles Dunbar
290082 - Not Found

290083 620 George Wood Main
George Wood's MIC gives an enlistment date of 2nd December 1913 and this is confirmed by surviving papers in WO 364.

290084 360 William Dunbar
290085 N/A A Lawson
290086 (formerly) 356 James McGregor

290087 (formerly) 358 Donald G McLaren
Donald McLaren's MIC gives an enlistment date of 3rd March 1910 (but see below).

290088 (formerly) 327 Robert Masson
Robert Masson's service record in WO 364 gives a joining date of 28th March 1910. This, sequentially, is at odds with Donald McLaren's original three digit number and it may be that McLaren previously served with another battalion or regiment before joining the 7th Gordons. (Or it could simply be another number anomaly).

290089 (formerly) 357 Joseph R Robb
290090 (formerly) 328 Victor Valentine
290091 (formerly) 341 William Fraser
290092 - Not Found
290093 - Not Found
290094 - Not Found
290095 (formerly) 351 William Emslie
290096 - Not Found
290097 - Not Found
290098 (formerly) 2368 Alexander Cruickshank

290099 (formerly) 2328 George Ross
George Ross's MIC gives an enlistment date of 14th March 1910 which fits in perfectly with other 7th Gordons numbers I have for this four digit series.

290100 - Not Found

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