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Thread: Private Robert Wardlaw - help please

  1. #1
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    Post Private Robert Wardlaw - help please

    Fairly recently I learned that my late grandmother's cousin, Private Robert Wardlaw (b. Bonhill, 1887) served in the 1st Battalion of the Black Watch (Royal Highlanders) in WW1, sadly being killed on 18th April 1918. My internet digging has told me that his name is listed on the Loos memorial and that on 18th April 1918, the BW were engaged in brutal fighting to the east of Bethune trying to withstand the German advance. I assume that Robert Wardlaw was one of the missing that night as his name is listed on a memorial wall.

    I saw somewhere, can't remember where though, that his soldier number of S/8535 means that he enlisted in 1915 and being the 1st Battalion meant that he was a regular rather than a conscript. Was it normal in 1915 for someone to chose to enlist as a regular, given that they were already 28?

    If anyone could please shed more light on the life and service of Private Robert Wardlaw I would be very grateful; for example, his enlistment date, where he trained, when he left for France, and more on the events of 18th April 1918, maybe the company he was in. I have a b/w photo of the 1st Battalion lined up in the village of Lapugnoy, to the west of Bethune, on 10th April 1918, but whether Robert Wardlaw is in it I wouldn't know. It is nice to think though that he is.

    Thanks
    Doug

  2. #2
    Administrator Chalky's Avatar
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    Hi Doug and welcome to the BW Forums.

    There is a S/8535 Pte R Wardlaw listed in the History of the Black Watch etc Vol 1 as being Killed in Action on 18/4/18

    Someone will correct me if I am wrong, but the prefix S to his number indicates that he signed up for the duration of the war.

    Do you have his Medal Card from the National Archives? http://discovery.nationalarchives.go...ils/r/D5748006

    Wardlaw Panel List.jpgWardlaw, Grave registration.jpg

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    You are right Chalky it means Service for the duration of hostilities. Bill..

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    Thank you to you both.

    So, had Pte Wardlaw survived the war, he would have left the army at some point after its conclusion and returned to civilian life.

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    Quote Originally Posted by myway View Post
    You are right Chalky it means Service for the duration of hostilities. Bill..
    Hello Doug,

    Welcome to the Forum.

    I would suggest another good reason to register with National Archives Discovery is to download the War Diary for 1st Battalion Black Watch Royal Highlanders.
    I believe the reference is WO 95/1263/3 ? Other members of the Forum can confirm this.

    I suggest doing this, as it is a good method of discovering his COMPANY. There may well be other methods which members can suggest.
    In addition you can read through the Battalion's activities from the moment he landed in France.

    I only discovered my Grandfather's Company when I was shocked to find his name, number and Company listed as wounded in the Casualties list MAY 1915 for the 1/7th Black Watch, and location detailed as Festubert. This was at a time when the War Records had not been scanned and I was at Kew handling the "actual" Diaries.

    Robert's details should appear in APRIL 1918 Casualty list with a location of Givenchy.
    I too have Wauchope's history of the Black Watch and it details the locations and actions of each Company during the frantic fighting. Knowing his Company will give you more precise information.

    Regards
    Ian

  6. #6
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    Thanks Chalky, Bill and Ian.

    So, with an enlistment date of 2nd June 1915, would Robert have gone straight from Bonhill to Aldershot? Did full training take place there or somewhere else? At what point would he have been sent to France?

    Thanks
    Doug

  7. #7
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    Doug,

    The date of 02/06/1915 isn't his enlistment date, that's when he crossed to France. On paper at least he should have had several months training before joining the battalion.

    You're in luck as his paybook informal will survives, which would have been recovered from the battlefield. Unfortunately it doesn't give his Company details.
    Here's what he's written to be his last will and testament on the 2nd of September 1917:
    In the event of my death, i give all my property and effects to my wife Mrs Annie Wardlaw, 40 Croft Street, Bonhill, Dumbartonshire, Scotland.

    if you would like a copy please pm me your email address

    Cheers,
    Derek.
    Last edited by Deeko; 12th January 2015 at 13:09.

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