National Records of Scotland

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Register House Departments Roll of Honour 1914-1918

Register House Departments Roll of Honour 1914-1918

We will remember them

This roll commemorates the men who joined the armed forces from what were known as the Register House Departments: the General Registry Office of Births, Deaths and Marriages (Scotland), the Record Office (both now National Records of Scotland), and the Sasine Office and the Deeds Office (now Registers of Scotland). 

The Record, Sasine and Deeds Offices were the main occupants of General Register House on Princes Street, Edinburgh, while the General Registry Office (as it was then called) occupied most of New Register House next door (abbreviated here as GROS). Members of staff who worked in other offices in the two buildings, such as the Lyon Office and the Accountant of Court, are not included here.

The first part of the roll lists the men who served and died during the First World War. The names of former members of staff who transferred elsewhere or resigned their posts before the war are marked with an asterisk.

The second part of the roll lists serving members of staff who served in the armed forces and survived the war, arranged by department. This roll of service does not include former members of staff.

No official roll of honour for the Register House Departments seems to have been compiled at the end of the First World War. This roll is based on research in the archives of the Register House Departments and the Scottish Office (in NRS), statutory registers and censuses (in NRS, available online through ScotlandsPeople), military records held at The National Archives at Kew, some of which are available online, and published sources. Other online resources include: the Commonwealth War Graves Commission; Neil MacLennan, ‘The Scottish Office: Those Who Fell in the Great War’ (2012) on the Scottish Government website, and the lists of men in 9th (Highlanders) Battalion, The Royal Scots, compiled by Neill Gilhooley.

This roll does not claim to be complete. NRS would welcome further information about the men listed here, or suggestions of names of men who may have been missed.

If you have a connection to Register House, or a story to tell, please share it with us customerservices@scotlandspeople.gov.uk.

 

 

Roll of Staff who died during the First World War

 

General Register Office for Scotland (GROS)

David Alenxander Anderson. Image courtesy of Geo Watson's College

David Alexander Anderson *
Second Division Clerk, General Registry Office (Scotland)

Born 17 March 1889, Uphall, West Lothian. Educated at Pumpherston Public School and George Watson’s College, Edinburgh. Second Division Clerk, Local Government Board, Dublin and then in GPO there, 2 October 1907-29 October 1908. In GROS 31 October 1908-8 January 1910, at Inland Revenue, Edinburgh, 1 February -31 March 1910, before returning to GROS, 1 April 1910. Transferred to National Health Insurance Commission, Edinburgh, April 1912. Territorial soldier in ‘H’ Company, 9th Battalion, Royal Scots, Private 1646. Landed in France with his battalion, 24 February 1915. Appointed Lance Corporal. Left battalion 27 November 1915 on being commissioned in 9th Highland Light Infantry. Serving on the Somme in 10/11th Battalion when he died, unmarried, aged 27.

Killed in action, 17 August 1916. 

Ernest Downing, NRS (Archive reference GRO6/464/10)

Ernest Thomas Downing *
Second Division Clerk, 1911 Census, General Registry Office (Scotland)

Born 29 April 1892, Brighton, Sussex. Began government service in 1907 as a Boy Clerk in the GPO in London, then transferred to Edinburgh. Appointed a Second Division Clerk on the 1911 Census staff  from 17 April 1911 until 14 October 1913, and thereafter appointed to the Fishery Board, Edinburgh. Enlisted in the Royal Scots, and was later transferred to 5th Battalion, Cameronians (Scottish Rifles). While serving on the Somme he was shot by a sniper. Unmarried, aged 24.

Killed in action 30 October 1916.  

Alexander Fraser, NRS (Archive reference GRO6/464/10)

Alexander Fraser *
Second Division Clerk, General Registry Office (Scotland)

Born 7 August 1889 at Helmsdale, Sutherland. Educated at Blair Atholl and Perth Academy. Second Division Clerk in National Education Office, Local Government Board and Registry of Deeds, Dublin, 1909-1911, joined 1911 Census staff in Edinburgh, 17 April 1911 until his transfer to Board of Agriculture, Edinburgh, 31 March 1913. Commissioned as a 2nd Lieut in The Black Watch, and was killed on 13 October 1915 while serving with the 1st Battalion during the later phase of the Battle of Loos. He was unmarried, aged 26.

Killed in action 13 October 1915.

Samuel Edward Gregory
Second Division Clerk, General Registry Office (Scotland)

Born circa 1884 in England, he was raised in Barrow-in-Furness, Lancashire. Began his career in the Post Office in 1899, and transferred to Register House in 1910. He married in 1911 and had two children with his wife Mary Warner. Enlisted in the Royal Field Artillery and was promoted to Sergeant 650467. His final posting was with ‘C’ Battery, 155th Brigade. He was killed near Arras before the final Allied advances which won the war. Aged 34.

Killed in action 12 July 1918.

Eoin Mckinnon's Headstone. Image courtesy of Tristram Clarke

Eoin Cameron McKinnon
Second Division Clerk, General Registry Office (Scotland)

Born 22 June 1887, Davidsons Mains, Edinburgh. Keen golfer and member of the Register House Golf Club. A territorial soldier in peacetime, McKinnon rose to the rank of sergeant in the 1/9th (Highlanders) Battalion, Royal Scots, known as the ‘Dandy Ninth’. Mobilised in August 1914. On 25 April 1915 he was severely wounded at Langemarck, Flanders. He was invalided home, paralysed by a bullet in his back. In September 1916, while convalescing at home in Blackhall, Edinburgh, he died of his wounds, unmarried, aged 29. 

Died 14 September 1916.

William Shields O'May, NRS (Archive reference GRO6/464/10)

William Shields O’May MC *
Boy Clerk, General Registry Office (Scotland)

Born 12 January 1891, Falkirk. Second Division Clerk in Registry of Deeds, Dublin, 1910-1911, on the staff of the 1911 Census, Edinburgh, 17 April 1911-14 April 1913, and thereafter in the Prison Commission, Edinburgh. O’May was mobilised with his Royal Scots Territorial Force unit in 1914. He received a commission in the Highland Light Infantry, 5 August 1916, and was promoted to Captain. He was fatally wounded in action. Unmarried, aged 27. In summer 1918 he was awarded a posthumous Military Cross. 

Died of wounds 3 April 1918.

Ronald William Sanders *
Second Division Clerk, General Registry Office (Scotland)

Born in England circa 1893. Boy Clerk, and later a Second Division Clerk, assigned to GROS in October 1912, before being reassigned to the Scottish Local Government Board in April 1914. He was a peacetime Territorial soldier, and after war was declared he was mobilised with his unit, 4th Battalion, Royal Scots, as Private 2133. On 14 June 1915 he landed with his battalion at Gallipoli, where he died in action at the age of 22. His body was not recovered. 

Killed in action 12 July 1915.

Walter Urqhuart, NRS (Archive reference GRO6/464/10)

Walter Urquhart *
Messenger boy, 1911 Census, General Registry Office (Scotland)

Born 7 June 1897, Leith. Urquhart left school aged fourteen and on 24 July 1911 joined GROS as a messenger boy on the staff of the 1911 Census. In October 1913 he left to become a packer at Jenners, Edinburgh's well-known department store. A pre-war Territorial in 1/5th Battalion, Royal Scots, he went with his battalion to the Dardanelles. He was killed on 28 June 1915 aged 18, unmarried. Like many British casualties at Gallipoli, he has no known grave. His former colleagues pasted his photograph into a staff record. His parents Walter Urquhart and Eliza Jane Bonar emigrated to Canada. 

Killed in action 28 June 1915.

Learn more about Urquhart’s story.

Edwin Leonard Wood *
Second Division Clerk, 1911 Census, General Registry Office (Scotland)

Born 1 October 1892, Grimsby, Lincolnshire. Appointed Second Division Clerk to 1911 Census, 6 April 1912. Served in the Public Room in the Registrar General’s Office. Ended government service on 24 April 1913, when he left for private employment. Enlisted as Private 762732 in the City of London Regiment. Married Constance Dorothy Dewar in 1915 in Grimsby. Commissioned as a 2nd Lieut in April 1917 and posted to the Royal Scots Fusiliers, 13 May. Landed in France 18 June. Fought with 1st Battalion, and died aged 24 on 26 September 1917 in 3rd Division’s assault on Polygon Wood, during the Third Battle of Ypres. Commemorated on Tyne Cot Memorial. (His younger brother Lt Walter Bertram Wood MC and Bar, in RFC, died 11 November 1917.)

Killed in action 26 September 1917.

Record Office

Photograph of Charles W Yule as second lieutenant, circa 1915, University of St Andrews

Photograph of Charles W Yule as second lieutenant, circa 1915
‘University of St Andrews: Roll of Honour and
Roll of Service, 1914-1919’ (Edinburgh,1920), p.27

Charles Whitehead Yule
Assistant Curator, Historical Department, Record Office

Born 1 December 1888, Kinghorn, Fife. Educated at Clifton Hall School and St Andrews University, Fife, Yule was appointed to the staff on 20 November 1911 as assistant to R K Hannay. Member of the Register House Golf Club. He enlisted in 1914, and was soon granted a commission in 13th Battalion, Royal Scots. After fighting at the Battle of Loos, he was promoted to temporary Captain. In May 1916 the battalion was in the line at Vermelles, north of Loos and opposite the Hohenzollern Redoubt. Yule was one of five officers killed when a shell landed on battalion HQ. He was unmarried, aged 27.

Killed in action 11 May 1916.

Learn more about Yule’s story.
 

Deeds Office

John Shaw
Clerk, Deeds Office 

Born 1 October 1885, Isle of Jura, Argyll. The son of a shepherd, Shaw joined the Deeds Office as a clerk before the First World War. He went on to serve in the Royal Garrison Artillery, but suffered from ill health. After the onset of tuberculosis was diagnosed in 1917, he was discharged as unfit for military service. He died in hospital in Oban, Argyll, unmarried, aged 32.

Died 23 January 1918. 

Sasine Office

Wedderburn Mackenzie Gardner *
Boy Clerk, 1911 Census and Sasine Office

Born 21 June 1896, Leith. Boy Clerk, Custom House and War Office, London, 1911-12. After serving as a Boy Clerk for the 1911 Census, 13 July 1912 - 14 April 1913, he was appointed to the staff of the Sasine Office. Joined up and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieut in the 8th Battalion, Seaforth Highlanders (as was his brother Albert Abercrombie Gardner, killed in action, 23 April 1917). William Gardner died on the Western Front near Ypres, unmarried, aged 21. 

Died of wounds on 23 August 1917.

James Ritchie Wells
Clerk, Sasine Office

Born 13 March 1890, Glasgow. Educated at Allan Glens School. Apprenticed in law, and studied law at Glasgow University, 1909-12, but did not graduate. Moved to Edinburgh. Joined the staff of the Sasine Office in 1912. Enlisted and served in the Lothian and Borders Horse, Private 1239. In April 1916 was commissioned as 2nd Lt, and in August and September 1916 was wounded while serving in 1st Battalion, Black Watch in France. Transferred to the Royal Flying Corps and was attached to No. 11 Training Squadron. In 1917 he was killed in a flying accident while based at Scampton airfield near Lincoln. Unmarried aged 27.

Killed 17 November 1917.
 

Roll of Staff who served during the First World War

Genera Registry Office for Scotland (GROS)

Frank Leslie Bell
Born 27 April 1892, Edinburgh. Assigned to GROS as Second Division Clerk, 1912. Attested 8 November 1915, posted to 15th Battalion, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, Private S/14121. Appointed Lance Corporal 14 March 1916. Transferred to 2nd Battalion 25 July 1916, and saw active service in France. Reverted to rank of private at his own request. Punished for being absent without leave, 1916-17. In March 1918 he was transferred to the 3rd Field Survey Company, Royal Engineers, becoming Sapper 360328. Demobilised 25 January 1919. Married Winifrede Hannah More, 1922. Died in England circa 1972.

Richard Bird
Born 15 June 1867, Partick, Glasgow. Served in the Cameron Highlanders, including in the Egyptian Campaign in 1882, until discharged in 1904. When Bird married Margaret Mullen the next year he was a rubber worker at an Edinburgh manufactory. Between about 1909 and 1911 he was working as a railway surfaceman for the North British Railway, based at Hawick. On 4 August 1914 he was mobilised as a bandsman in 4th Battalion, Royal Scots. Finally discharged, unwounded, on 14 July 1916, on account of his age. By 1917 was on the Register House staff as a pensioner messenger. He was still in post when he died in Edinburgh, 18 January 1922, aged 54.

Adam Arthur Smith Brownlee
Born 14 January 1887, Coatbridge, Lanarkshire. By 1911 Brownlee was a Second Division Clerk, working in GROS. He enlisted on 26 November 1915, serving in France with 15th Battalion, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders (Private S/15267 and 5502) and 7th Battalion, Black Watch (291867) until 30 October 1917. He was commissioned as an officer in the 4th Battalion, Black Watch, serving on the Western Front. He was severely wounded in July 1918, did not return to active service and was demobilised and returned to GROS on 15 January 1919. Grade of Second Division Clerk, Civil Service, when he married Elizabeth Redpath 23 September 1922, Edinburgh. His death aged 79 was registered at Harrow in 1966.

Alexander MacLennan Campbell
Born 6 January 1886, Forres, Moray. On 12 June 1907 he started as a member of the Lower Clerical Permanent Staff of the Index Department of GROS. Married Jane Dunlop Crombie, 25 December 1911. Serving as Gunner 107152, 327th Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery in April 1918, having been abroad for ‘a considerable period’. In autumn 1918 he appears to have trained in wireless at the Royal Engineers Wireless Depot, Fenny, Stratford, Bedfordshire, and was referred to as Signaller 107152. In January 1919 returned from the RGA depot at Hipswell, near Catterick, Yorkshire, for demobilisation in Edinburgh. Post-war he resumed work on the Lower Permanent Clerical staff in GROS. In 1920 his wife died, and he was remarried to Lavinia M D N Thompson, 1 July 1923, Edinburgh. Retired with the grade of Executive Officer. Died in Edinburgh, 26 May 1958, aged 72.

George Brady Chambers
Born 18 September 1896, Essex. In 1911 he was attending school in Edinburgh, aged 14. Joined the staff of GROS. Enlisted and joined 8/10th Battalion, Gordon Highlanders starting as Private S/11296,  promoted to Corporal by July 1918 and rising to Acting Colour Sergeant. Ended his service after the Armistice as a Corporal in 10 Platoon, ‘C’ Company, 1/5th Battalion, stationed at Nivelles, Belgium. Resumed work in the Statistical Branch of GROS on 24 March 1919. Later that year he was appointed a Customs and Excise officer, like his father, based in Leith. In 1922 he married Mary Elizabeth Gray, and after her death married Hilda E D Wallace in 1927, Alloa, Clackmannanshire. During the 1930s he moved south and in 1939 was living at Harwich, Essex. Died 1962, aged 65, and was buried at All Saints churchyard, Dovercourt, Essex, 29 August 1962.

James Alexander Cormack
Born 23 March 1899, Edinburgh. In 1914 he was appointed a temporary Boy Clerk in GROS. Started military service in April 1917 as Private 376679, 10th (Cyclist) Battalion, Royal Scots. Transferred to Scottish Rifles as Private 42761 and was posted to the 2nd Battalion in July 1918. Demobilised in February 1919 and returned to GROS. He married Blanche Chisholm in 1929. Retired from GROS as an Executive Officer. Died in Edinburgh, 25 November 1985, aged 86.

Archibald Gibb
Born 6 November 1890, Musselburgh. By 1911 was working in the Civil Service in Edinburgh, and by 1913 he was a Second Division Clerk in GROS. A Territorial soldier, he served as Bombardier 881780 (later 125791) in the Royal Field Artillery. In 1918 he was in 166th Brigade RFA , part of the Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force. Gibb’s demobilisation was delayed and he did not return to GROS until July 1919. Retired to Hume, near Kelso. Died at Galashiels, 22 August 1972, aged 81.

William Clark Girdwood
Born 4 March 1874, Edinburgh. Worked as a waiter, and was a militiaman in 3rd battalion, Royal Scots. Enlisted as a regular, 10 May 1894, and served for twenty years in 1st Battalion, Royal Scots, at home, in South Africa (where he saw action during the Boer War) and in India. From December 1914 he spent eleven months on the Western Front, where he was wounded in the hand at Ypres in April 1915, before his battalion was sent to Salonika. After eight months Girdwood was posted home, and on 31 August 1916 was discharged at the termination of his 22 years of engagement. Joined the staff of GROS as a pensioner messenger. Died unmarried 9 March 1936, Edinburgh, aged 62.

William Henderson
Born 16 March 1898, Edinburgh. Educated at Boroughmuir School. Joined staff of GROS. On reaching the age of 18 years he attested and joined 9th Battalion, Royal Scots, 3 May 1916: Private, then Lance Corporal, 4810 and 351715. Commissioned as 2nd Lt in the 5th Battalion, Royal Scots Fusiliers, 26 September 1917. June to August 1918 attached to 10th Battalion, Scottish Rifles on the Western Front. On 1 October 1918 he was severely wounded by a shell. Evacuated to England, he was still recovering at home when he was demobilised on 6 May 1919. Transferred from GROS to Scottish Board of Health before 30 August 1922, when he married Janet Rose Sutherland. He died at Edinburgh, 12 May 1973.

Harold Johnson
Born circa 1887, Yorkshire. Three years’ service in 3rd London Yeomanry. Second Division Clerk in Post Office Savings Bank, West Kensington, London, 1905-1910. Transferred to GROS 10 January 1910. Married Edith J Rylatt at Hull, 17 August 1914. Attested 25 November 1915 and placed on Army Reserve. Left GROS on being mobilised 4 August 1916, and was posted as Private 7576 to 10th (Scottish) Battalion, King’s Liverpool Regiment. Served in France January to April 1917 and September 1917 to January 1919. Hospitalised three times with trench fever. From January 1918 spent the rest of the war on clerical duty with the Accountants to the Expeditionary Force Canteens at the British base at Le Havre, France. Demobilised 7 March 1919 and returned to GROS. Died 7 August 1960, Edinburgh, aged 73.

William Johnstone
Born 12 November 1868, Port Glasgow. Married Jane Ann Johnson at Dover, 4 October 1890. Served in Seaforth Highlanders before the First World War. Discharged from the Army 20 May 1908. In 1911 was working as a caretaker in Edinburgh. Re-enlisted 5 September 1914, and on 8 April 1918 ended 34 years of military service in the rank of Sergeant Major, Inns Court Officer Training Corps, London. After being discharged he was appointed a pensioner messenger in GROS. He retired from GROS as a record keeper in about 1933. Died 3 March 1963, Edinburgh, aged 94.

Roland Marshall
Born 12 June 1888, Aberdeen. Attended Leith Academy and George Heriot’s School. Appointed to clerical staff of GROS by 1910. Was a peacetime volunteer in the 2nd Queen’s Edinburgh Volunteers, Royal Scots, but resigned to pursue his studies. He attested at Linlithgow on 10 November 1915 and was posted to 2/10th (Cyclist) Battalion of the regiment on coastal defence duty at Berwick upon Tweed (Private 2889, later 375333, promoted to Lance Corporal). On 31 October 1917 he was discharged from the ranks on being commissioned as a 2nd Lt into the 9th Battalion. At the Armistice he was attached to 46th Brigade, Light Trench Mortar Battery. He was disembodied on 1 February 1919, and his promotion to full Lieutenant was gazetted on 1 May 1919. Retired as Executive Officer in GROS. Died 26 October 1953, Edinburgh.

George Skirving Muir
Born 1 February 1876, Edinburgh. After a period as a volunteer in 3rd Battalion Royal Scots, he enlisted as Private 6550 in the Black Watch at Edinburgh 23 August 1894. Transferred to the Gordon Highlanders (Private 5210) and saw action in India and South Africa, as well as serving at home. Muir was with the 1st Battalion for more than two years on the Western Front from 26 August 1914 until 14 September 1916. He returned home to be discharged on the termination of 22 years’ service on 18 September 1916. Joined GROS as a pensioner messenger by 1918. Married Mary Smith Coutts, 3 September 1934. Died 28 August 1949, Edinburgh, aged 73.

Keith Nicolson
Born 15 July 1897, South Gairloch, Ross-shire. Appointed a Boy Clerk in GROS in about 1915. In January 1918 he was serving as Private 43288 in the Signalling Section, 9th Battalion, Scottish Rifles. 

Joseph Ross
Born 4 August 1882, Chirnside, Berwickshire. In 1911 he was a clerk in the Civil Service. Joined staff of GROS before service in the Army during the First World War. In February 1918 he was a Lance Corporal in 3rd Battalion, Seaforth Highlanders, performing clerical duties in the Regimental Office at Cromarty. He became a Second Division Clerk and was assigned to GROS in April 1919. Retired as a Staff Officer (Acting). Died 2 May 1955, Edinburgh, unmarried, aged 72. 

Alexander Sked, NRS (Archive reference GRO6/464/10)

Alexander Sked
Born 30 January 1894, Peebles. During April 1911 he briefly served as Boy Clerk in Post Office in London before appointment as temporary Boy Clerk, 1911 Census staff, GROS, 3 May 1911. Appointed Assistant Clerk (Abstractor) in the index branch of GROS (certificate dated 28 June 1912). Military service in 1918 as Private 33516 (later 27218) in 450th (Home Service) Employment Company of the Labour Corps at Catterick, Yorkshire. After the Armistice he was retained in 522nd Company in the Catterick Reserve Centre and appointed Acting Corporal because of the increased work and responsibility connected with Army demobilisation. Returned to GROS, 1 April 1919. Married Jessie Howitt, 23 February 1922, Edinburgh. Died 22 April 1968, Peebles, aged 74.

James Talbot
Born 1 December 1891, Brindle, Lancashire. Educated at Catholic College, Preston. Appointed a Second Division Clerk, GROS, 17 April 1911. Employed in Search Branch. Enlisted in Edinburgh on 19 May 1915 as Gunner 1458, 2nd Battery, 2/1st Lowland Field Artillery, stationed at Westbarns Dunbar. Promoted to acting rank of Bombardier. In 1916 he was commissioned as an officer in 3/5th Battalion, Royal Scots and served in France in 1/5th Battalion. While attached to 11th Battalion, on 9 April 1917 at Arras he was severely wounded in his right hand by a large shell fragment. Later he suffered a perforated duodenal ulcer. On 9 June 1918 he relinquished his commission on account of his wounds and sickness, ending his service of more than 3 years. He was on extended sick leave before rejoining GROS. Married Annie O’Malley, 7 February 1921, Edinburgh. 

Peter Paton Taylor
Born 5 May 1896, Edinburgh. Appointed Second Class Clerk, GROS, 25 March 1914. Married Helen Anderson Taylor, 20 June 1914, Edinburgh. In about 1917 he joined 15th Battalion, County of London Regiment (Prince of Wales’s Own Civil Service Rifles), as Private 535293. In June 1917 he almost certainly joined his battalion in France. In April 1919 he was assigned as a Second Division Clerk to the Exchequer Office, Edinburgh. While riding a motorcycle he was involved in a road accident in Edinburgh and died of his injuries, 5 April 1923, aged 26.

James Tupman
Born 5 November 1890, Leith. In 1911 was a Boy Writer in a Local Audit Department in Edinburgh connected with Army Supplies, gaining 4 years’ experience. By 1914 was a Second Division Clerk in GROS. Enlisted 28 August 1914 in 1/9th Battalion, Royal Scots (Private 2037). Posted to the Western Front on 24 February 1915. On 7 April 1915, he was badly wounded at Ypres, and his left arm was amputated at a hospital in Perth. Was discharged from the Army on 21 October, and issued with a Silver War Badge to verify his military service. He resumed work in GROS on 22 October 1915. He re-enlisted on 23 May 1917, passed his medical test and was accepted for officer training in Cambridge. On 15 July 1917 he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieut and posted to 451st (Home Service) Employment Company, Labour Corps, at Dreghorn near Edinburgh, and later to 450th Company at Glencorse. In July 1918 he trained as a Railway Traffic Officer, working in France for the rest of the war and for months after the Armistice. Married Mildred Morton, 19 September 1918, Edinburgh (later divorced). Demobilised in May 1919. He was not selected for a permanent commission in 1921. He became a district examiner for GROS, living in Glasgow. Stated to be a retired solicitor on his death, 1 August 1976, Edinburgh, aged 85. 

James Candlish Young
Born 5 September 1893, Dalton parish, Dumfriesshire. Appointed Second Division Clerk in 1912 and was assigned to GROS, 31 March 1914. Enlisted in 14th Battalion, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, 17 May 1915 (Private S/8911), gaining rapid promotion to Acting Sergeant, 12 July. He was promoted to full Sergeant on being posted to the BEF in France on 4 June 1916. Appointed Acting Company Sergeant Major on 30 January 1917. In June he began officer training and officially left his battalion on 29 August. On 26 November 1917 he embarked for India as a probationary 2nd Lieut in the Indian Army Reserve of Officers. Served with 2/113rd Infantry. Promoted Captain. Hospitalised in Bombay after falling from his horse in February 1919. After sick leave he returned to GROS on 14 August 1919. Retired as Secretary, GROS. OBE 1956. His son John Jeffrey Young, LAC in RAFVR, died in action 7 November 1944. James C Young died 8 October 1977, Edinburgh, aged 84. 

Record Office

Walter James Chinnery 
Born 25 October 1878, Glencorse Barracks, Midlothian. Attested in Royal Scots, 16 October 1893, serving as Drummer 4929. Married Janet Borland, 31 December 1897, Edinburgh. Re-engaged for service, 1905. Joined staff of Register House as Porter, 26 June 1911, and Messenger, 1 July 1912. Chinnery’s appeal against conscription for combatant duties was refused, July 1916, but the Deputy Clerk Register certified that he could not release him for non-combatant duties because of staff shortages, 22 August 1916. In June 1917 he did release him for military duties in a non-combatant corps. Chinnery was called up 20 June 1917, and was absent for two or three years on military duties (possibly Private 033702, Army Ordnance Corps). Returned to Register House. In 1922 said to have ‘a very intimate knowledge of the whereabouts of all classes of the Records’ and to do ‘careful work’. Promoted to Superintendent by time of death on 1 March 1941, Edinburgh, aged 62.

Robert Heriot Lindsay
Born 30 May 1877, Edinburgh. Worked in a conveyancer’s office for 8 years and 1 month before entering government service. Lindsay was appointed a Second Class Clerk in Record Office, starting on 1 September 1899. Married Christina McNeill, 28 June 1904, Portobello. Territorial soldier in Royal Scots, mobilised on outbreak of war and serving as Sergeant 49, 2/7th Battalion. Because of staff shortages he was recalled from military service to resume duties in Record Office, 17 March 1915. Worked overtime. After two years of representations the Treasury sanctioned his promotion to First Class Clerk, 19 September 1917. Retired in grade of Chief Clerk. Died 14 April 1941, Edinburgh, aged 71.

Deeds Office

Hugh Eaglesom Balfour
Born 31 December 1886, Edinburgh, son of George D Balfour, Assistant Keeper of Register of Deeds. In about 1910 began work as an Engrossing Clerk in the Deeds Office. Enlisted 1 September 1914 as Private 2115, 5th Battalion, Royal Scots, and was stationed at Portobello. Married Isabella A S McNeill, 4 February 1915. Landed in France, 1 June 1915. Transferred to Highland Light Infantry (353087) and was promoted to Sergeant. Discharged because of sickness, 10 November 1917, and was issued with a Silver War Badge to signify his military service. His brother 2nd Lieut Evan M M Balfour MC was killed in action, 30 August 1918. In 1919 H E Balfour divorced his wife, and on 26 April 1924 married Martha Aitken Smith Buchanan. Retired from the Deeds Office as an Examiner. Died 10 August 1973, Edinburgh, aged 86.

Alexander Mossman Dudgeon
Born 12 May 1887, Edinburgh. Became an Engrossing Clerk in Deeds Office circa 1905. Enlisted, probably in late 1914 in 5th Battalion, Royal Scots, stationed at Portobello. Married Isabella Ireland Dickson at Edinburgh, 16 April 1915. After the war he became a permanent member of staff, retiring as a Higher Executive Officer. Died 25 September 1971, aged 84.

George Henderson Forbes
Born 12 July 1860, Edinburgh, son of Alexander Forbes, Principal Keeper of Register of Deeds. Began employment as Engrossing Clerk in Deeds Office in about 1892. Married Mary Harmer Hurry, 2 August 1899, Edinburgh. Enlisted 16 February 1915, giving his age as 49. Began in 1st and 2nd Supplementary Companies, 4th Battalion, Royal Scots, next posted to 1st Company, National Reserve Guard (Private  14992) and transferred to 201 Protection Company, Royal Defence Corps, 29 April 1916, and in August 1917 to 1st Battalion, RDC, guarding Methil Docks in Fife. He was promoted to Corporal, but in October 1917 his request to revert to Private caused his immediate transfer to the Army Pay Corps, Nottingham (Private 17045). Promoted to Corporal, 9 October 1918. Disembodied from Army, 2 January 1920. Died 22 October 1925, Edinburgh, aged 65.

Austin Godson
Born circa 1880. Working as a law clerk in 1904, the year he married Jessie Kennedy in Glasgow, became Engrossing Clerk in Deeds Office in about 1910. Enlisted in 15th Battalion, Highland Light Infantry, Private 54991. Promoted to Colour Sergeant, and later to Company Quarter Master Sergeant. His son Quarter Master Sergeant Austin Godson, 2nd Battalion Royal Scots, died a prisoner of the Japanese, 1-2 October 1942. Austin Godson’s first wife had died in 1914, and in 1919 he married Lilias Crammond Guild. He joined the permanent staff of Register House and retired as a Clerical Officer, Scottish Record Office. Died 23 February 1964, aged 84.

George Alexander Nisbet Ironside
Born 23 September 1880, Ballindalloch, Banffshire. In 1901 he married Ruby F Carrol and was working as a clerk in Edinburgh in 1901. In 1911 he was a searcher of records. Became an Engrossing Clerk in Deeds Office about 1914. Joined the Army and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieut in the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. He served in France and Flanders from 15 August 1918. In 1919 he resumed work as a law clerk and married Annie Devlin, his first wife having died in October 1915. He died 15 February 1961, Aberdeen, aged 80.

Archibald McIntyre
Born 27 January 1883, Redding, Stirlingshire. In 1901 was working as a law clerk in Edinburgh. In about 1908 became an Engrossing Clerk in Deeds Office. By December 1917 he was serving in the Army. After the war he joined the permanent staff of the Sasine Office, retiring as a Clerical Officer. Died 25 December 1965, Edinburgh, unmarried, aged 82.

John Mitchell Robertson
Born 15 October 1888, Edinburgh. Educated at George Heriot’s School. Became law apprentice and in 1911 was a clerk to a Solicitor to the Supreme Court, Edinburgh. After coming second in an open Civil Service competition, on 4 January 1912 began work as a Second Class Clerk in the Deeds and Protests Office. On 8 June 1915 he attested for war service in the Forth (Territorial Force) Royal Garrison Artillery, as Gunner 1183. Served in France with the 1/4th and 2/4th Companies, Forth RGA from 25 March 1916 until repatriated with synovitis in left knee, 3 July 1916. Posted to France again as Gunner 122257 with 251st Siege Battery, RGA, 4 January – 1 June 1917. Began officer training and was commissioned as 2nd Lieut in RGA in early 1918. Married Helen Petrie Black, 28 August 1918 and returned to France, 6 September. Joined 379 Siege Battery, 29 October 1918. Demobilised at Edinburgh 21 June 1919. Death registered in Liverpool, January-March 1976.

Sasine Office

Robert Wallace Allan
Probably born 21 January 1880, Cupar, Fife. By 1901 was a clerk in Edinburgh. 7 November 1901 married Agnes Gibb Leitch, Leith. In 1911 was an Engrossing Clerk in the Sasine Office. Enlisted in 9th Battalion, Royal Scots, 14 September 1914, and served in France from 24 February 1915, as Private 2263, later Lance Corporal. In October 1915 he left the battalion on being commissioned as 2nd Lieut. Gassed while on active service and repatriated. Posted to perform administrative duty at Stirling and Galashiels. Returned to Sasine Office, 1 February 1919. His post-war life and career are not yet known.

Robert Wilson Baird
Born 19 October 1884, Linlithgow. In about 1903 became Engrossing Clerk, Sasine Office. Married Violet Newbigging Gemmel, Linlithgow, 2 June 1911. Called up for military service 20 December 1916. Posted as Private M/225152 to the Motor Transport Reserve Depot, Army Service Corps, at Grove Park, London. Served in 373 Motor Transport Company, Bedford, from 18 January until 9 November 1917, transferring as a heavy vehicle driver to 977 MT Company, Norwich. Appointed Acting Sergeant November 1918, and demobilised 8 April 1919. Mentioned in Secretary of State for War’s List for ‘valuable service rendered in connection with the war’, 28 August 1919. His wife died in childbirth, 20 January 1924. Re-married Violet Helen Scott, 21 July 1926, Edinburgh. Retired from Sasine Office as Higher Executive Officer. Died 7 December 1970, Edinburgh.

James Smith Binnie MSM
Born 29 January 1888, Leith. Worked as a law clerk in Edinburgh before appointment as Second Class Clerk in Sasine Office, 3 August 1912. Member of the Register House Golf Club. Probably a peacetime member of 5th Battalion, Royal Scots. Held rank of Corporal and later Sergeant (1511), stationed at Portobello when he married Catherine Maude Strange, 4 March 1915. Arrived with 1/5th Battalion at Gallipoli, 25 April 1915. Served in the amalgamated 5/6th Battalion after 15 June 1916 as 251065. Awarded Meritorious Service Medal, 22 February 1919, and ended service as Colour Sergeant, apparently in 4th Battalion. Mentioned in Secretary of State for War’s List for ‘valuable service rendered in connection with the war’, 28 August 1919. After his wife’s death 20 April 1935, he married secondly Emily Maude Brash, 31 August 1936, Edinburgh. Retired as Assistant Keeper, Sasines Office. Died 6 June 1975, Edinburgh.

Edwin Bonner
Born 14 December 1889, England. Served as Boy Clerk, Somerset House, London, from 6 March 1906, and later in Sasine Office, Edinburgh, ending 14 December 1909. Started as Second Class Clerk in Deeds Office, 11 April 1910, transferring to Sasine Office, 3 January 1912. Member of the Register House Golf Club. Voluntarily attested for military service and was later called up. Appeal by Keeper of Register of Sasines against his conscription was dismissed, 2 May 1916. Subsequent military service unconfirmed. Retired as Deputy Keeper of Registers of Scotland. Died 2 December 1987, Edinburgh, unmarried, aged 97.

George Brand
Born 31 March 1871, Aberdeen. Studied law at Aberdeen University, 1892-3. A law clerk in Edinburgh when he married Margaret Jane Rosie, 14 July 1896, Edinburgh. Became Engrossing Clerk in Sasine Office in about 1903. In December 1914 he enlisted as a Private in 2/9th Battalion Royal Scots, and served at Scottish Command’s Labour Centre, Blairgowrie, according to ‘University of Aberdeen Roll of Service in the Great War 1914-1919’ ed M D Allardyce (1921), p. 133. In March 1918 he was listed as being on military service. Joined the permanent staff after the war, retiring as a Clerk. Died 1 January 1933, Edinburgh, aged 61.

David Alexander Burgess
Born 25 June 1875, Ruthwell, Dumfriesshire. Working as a clerk in Edinburgh when he married Margaret Hay Cameron, 30 April 1904, Edinburgh. By the following year he had become an Engrossing Clerk in the Sasine Office. After outbreak of war he applied to the London Recruiting Depot, Whitehall, to enlist and serve in the Army Pay Corps, but the Keeper of the Register of Sasines was reluctant to let him enlist. By March 1918 he was on military service. He returned to Sasine Office and in 1919 divorced his wife. Married secondly 23 December 1927, Edinburgh, Rebecca R Watson or Baglioni, who died 14 November 1937. After his retirement as a Clerical Officer in Sasines Office, he married thirdly Nancy Skelton Graham, 29 September 1942, Portobello. He died 4 February 1954, Eastriggs, Dumfriesshire, aged 78.

James Edwards Duncan
Born 3 May 1867, Stonehaven, Kincardineshire. Working as a railway clerk in Greenock when he married Isabella Clark, 1 January 1892, Kinneff, Kincardineshire. In about 1903 he began working as an Engrossing Clerk in Sasine Office, and was doing so in 1911. He was called up into 5/6th Battalion, Royal Scots (Private 200413), possibly being sent to the Western Front in a draft of reinforcements in April 1917 (will dated 18 April). Transferred to the Labour Corps (Private 595770). In March 1918 listed as on military service but invalided. Discharged as an Army Pensioner, 4 March 1919. Resumed work as a Clerk in Sasines Office. Died 20 February 1922, Edinburgh, aged 54. 

Robert Falconer
Born 25 January 1878, Edinburgh. Joined Sasine Office staff, 4 September 1899. Second Class Clerk when he enlisted at Edinburgh, 11 November 1915 and was placed on the Army Reserve. Mobilised and posted to 2/4th Company, Forth Royal Garrison Artillery (Private, 3259). Attached as Gunner to 210 Siege Battery, RGA, 14 August 1916, later transferring to several RGA units in the south of England. Appointed Acting Bombardier, 28 February 1917, and posted to 374 Siege Battery, RGA, 1 March 1917. Embarked for service in France, 15 August 1917, remaining there, with at least two periods of leave, until returning to Britain to be demobilised on or about 1 February 1919. Left public service to become a solicitor. Died unmarried, 11 September 1959, Edinburgh, aged 81. 

William Hastings
Born 9 March 1880, Lasswade, Midlothian. In 1891 was a law clerk in Edinburgh, and in about 1903 began work as an Engrossing Clerk in Sasine Office. Married Anne Moore Crawford, 29 March 1904, Edinburgh. In March 1918 he was listed as one of the clerks on military service who had been invalided (unit not stated). Spent the remainder of his career in the Sasine Office. Died in retirement, 2 February 1948, North Berwick, aged 67.

George Laird
Born 27 June 1894, Johnstone, Renfrewshire. In 1911 was a law clerk in Edinburgh. After open competition, joined Sasine Office as a Second Class Clerk, 2 August 1915. Enlisted on 30 September 1915 (unit not stated), and rejoined staff, 17 March 1919. Married Elizabeth Hope Ormiston, 4 April 1922, Edinburgh. He later left the public service to practice as a solicitor. Died 25 May 1983, aged 88. 

John Duncan McKenzie
Born 9 March 1879, Edinburgh. Law clerk in Edinburgh when he married Elizabeth H Macgregor, 7 August 1903, Edinburgh. In about 1904 he became an Engrossing Clerk in the Sasine Office. In March 1918 he was listed as one of the clerks then on military service (unit not stated). Resumed work in the Office after the war, retiring in the grade of ‘Special Clerk’. Died 15 May 1944, Edinburgh, aged 65.

John Muckersie McKenzie
Born 1 December 1891, Ladybank, Fife. Left school aged 16½. Boy Clerk, 1908-1909, entering the Sasine Office as Boy Clerk, 14 December 1909. On reaching the age limit on 8 December 1911 he was retained as a temporary clerk. Appointed a Clerk in Register House Departments, 30 January 1914. Was a Clerk in Sasine Office when he enlisted for war service in the Army Ordnance Corps. Went overseas 12 June 1915 as Sergeant 03017, rising to Staff Sergeant by the time he married Annie Horsburgh Crowe, in Edinburgh, 13 February 1917, when he was designated Warrant Officer and ‘Sub-Conductor’, Army Ordnance Corps. Having completed officer training he was discharged from his unit on 12 March 1917 and commissioned in Army Ordnance Department. Returned to work post-war, and retired as Deputy Keeper of Register of Sasines. After his wife’s death, 10 April 1957, he married secondly Agnes Martin Houston, 12 June 1958, Edinburgh. Died 15 January 1974, Edinburgh, aged 82.

John Alexander McQueen or Macqueen DSO
Born 2 May 1880, Arnish, Stornoway. Started work as Second Class Clerk in Sasine Office, 24 December 1900. In 1911 he stated he was bilingual in English and Gaelic. Married Alison Wilson, 1 September 1914, Edinburgh. After war broke out he spent his spare time with the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve on coastal defence in the Firth of Forth. He was commissioned as Temporary Lieutenant 3 November 1914. Served with distinction on minesweepers. Promoted while on active service to First Class Clerk, September 1916. Appointed Temporary Acting Lieutenant Commander, 31 December 1918. His demobilisation was cancelled 11 February 1919, apparently to continue his service in clearing mines. He was mentioned in despatches, and on 5 July 1920 he was invested in the Distinguished Service Order for his mine clearance work. Promoted to Lieut Commander RNVR in late 1939, and at the request of the Commander-in-Chief, Rosyth, he was released for duty at Granton Base on 4 December 1939. Returned to Register of Sasines after the war. Promoted to Assistant Keeper, 27 May 1935. Retired as Deputy Keeper of the Records. Commodore of the Royal Forth Yacht Club, 1947-1957. Latterly lived at Strathtay, Perthshire. Died 17 August 1960, Edinburgh, aged 80.

John McVie MSM
Born 1 March 1888, Stair, Ayrshire. Law clerk in Edinburgh before appointment as Second Class Clerk in Register House Departments, 22 November 1911. Placed in Sasine Office. Served in 1/9th Battalion, Royal Scots (Private 350036), landing in France 24 February 1915. Promoted to Sergeant, and awarded Meritorious Service Medal, 18 October 1916. Promoted to Company Quarter Master Sergeant & Acting Warrant Officer Class II. Listed in Field Marshal Haig’s despatch ‘submitting names deserving of special mention’, 27 December 1918. Married Jessie Gordon Hunter, 7 August 1918, Tarbolton. Disembodied 26 February 1919 and returned to Sasine Office. Published short books on Robert Burns’s links to Ayrshire and Edinburgh, and a selection of his writings, 1927 - 1962. Retired as Keeper of the Registers of Scotland. Died 5 February 1967, Leith, aged 78.

John Malcolm
Born 12 April 1880, Leith. Began work as Engrossing Clerk in Sasine Office in about 1909. Married Agnes Matilda Henderson, 18 September 1914, Edinburgh. Wartime service in Army Service Corps (possibly RTS/5254), rising to Regimental Quarter Master Sergeant by 22 June 1917, when his wife died. He was still serving in March 1918. His post-war life and career are not yet known.

John Moncrieff Milligan TD
Born 8 August 1877, Portobello. Appointed Temporary Clerk in Sasine Office, 4 September 1899. Married Mary Ann Johnston, 10 July 1902, Edinburgh. Volunteer Lieutenant, promoted to be Captain in 4th Volunteer Battalion, Royal Scots, 26 February 1908. Mobilised in 1914. Promoted to Temporary Major, 6th Battalion, Royal Scots, 30 May 1915. While absent on active service was promoted to First Class Clerk, 27 August 1915. Wounded while on active service in Egypt. Shortly after transfer to France he was promoted to full Major, 21 October 1916, and during 1817 assumed temporary command of 1/7th Battalion, Black Watch on the Western Front. Mentioned in Sir Douglas Haig’s despatches. Seconded to Labour Corps, 16 November 1918. In July 1919 he was awarded the Territorial Decoration (for Territorial Officers). Retired from Territorials with rank of Lieutenant Colonel. Resumed career in Sasine Office. Repeatedly passed over, he was promoted from Senior First Class Clerk to Acting Chief Clerk in Northern District of the Sasines, August 1940. On medical advice he resigned in August 1941. Died 20 December 1953, Edinburgh, aged 76.

William Paterson
Born 5 October 1882, Wishaw, Lanarkshire. Law student in Edinburgh in 1901. Clerk in Sasine Office, 1911. Enlisted in 1/9th Battalion, Royal Scots, 15 November 1915 (Private 3911, later 351340). Training and home service in various regimental units until drafted to France, 12 April 1917, possibly as part of reinforcement for 1/9th Battalion. Wounded in the left arm and mouth, 27 May 1917. Evacuated from France, 13 June 1917. Posted to 4th Reserve Battalion, 16 November 1917. Trained as a signaller. Promoted to Corporal, 20 June 1918. Disembodied 17 February 1919, and received disability pension. Resumed work as Second Class Clerk in Sasine Office. Died unmarried, 13 September 1942, Edinburgh, aged 59.

Andrew Penman
Born 20 June 1893, Grangemouth. In 1911 he was a Boy Clerk in the Civil Service, living at Grangemouth. Joined Sasine Office as Second Class Clerk, 18 May 1915, and enlisted on 12 July 1915. Served in 14th Battalion, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders (Private S/9955). Lance Corporal A Penman listed among regimental wounded in January 1918. Later in 10th Battalion and the Labour Corps. Discharged with disability pension, 22 May 1919 and rejoined Sasine Office two days later, 24 May 1919. Married Elizabeth Thomson, 10 August 1922, Grangemouth. Retired as Deputy Keeper, Register of Sasines. Died 16 July 1970, Edinburgh, aged 77.

Charles Smith Scobie
Born 21 February 1895, Edinburgh. Joined Sasine Office as Second Class Clerk, 17 May 1915, and enlisted in the Army, 16 July 1915. Served in 14th Battalion, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, as Private S/12302, and Acting Corporal when drafted to France. Commissioned as 2nd Lieut in Royal Flying Corps, 25 September 1917. Serving in 80 Squadron as at 31 July 1918. Returned to Sasine Office after the war. Played cricket for Scotland as right-handed bowler, 1923-28. Married Shena Bertram Melrose, 30 July 1936, Edinburgh. Retired as Assistant Keeper, Department of the Registers of Scotland. Died 2 September 1965, Edinburgh, aged 70.

Francis Yates Strachan
Born 8 April 1891, Edinburgh. In 1911 working as a law clerk in Edinburgh, possibly as an Engrossing Clerk in Sasine Office. Joined Sasine Office as Second Class Clerk, 12 July 1915. On 4 October he enlisted for war service in the Forth Territorial unit of the Royal Garrison Artillery, rising from Gunner 347416 to Corporal. Commissioned as 2nd Lieut in RGA, 21 October 1918. Returned to the Sasine Office after the war. Married Isabella Wilson Moncrieff Dunn, 9 August 1924. (Their son Flying Officer W J Strachan, RAFVR, died 28 March 1946.) Retired as Senior Executive Officer, Register of Sasines. Died 23 June 1966, aged 75.

David Newton White
Born 24 December 1890, Linlithgow. Boy Clerk in Sasine Office, circa 1910-11. Assistant Clerk (Abstractor), Prison Commission for Scotland, February 1911. Appointed Second Class Clerk in Register House Departments, 15 November 1911. Member of the Register House Golf Club. Territorial soldier in 1/9th Battalion, Royal Scots (Private 2168, later 350452), landing in France 24 February 1915. Promoted Corporal before being commissioned as 2nd Lieut in Highland Light Infantry, 15 April 1917. Promoted to Captain and possibly transferred to the Rifle Brigade. Resumed work as clerk in Sasine Office after the war. Married Dora Roberts Birtles or Edmondson, 27 August 1929, Edinburgh. Retired as Deputy Keeper of Registers of Scotland, living in Edinburgh. Died 5 July 1957, Kirkcaldy, Fife, aged 66.

Further Reading

'The Scottish Office: Those who fell in the Great War' by Neil MacLennan