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 (their successor bodies merged in 2011 as 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, and is abbreviated here as GROS) occupied most of New Register House next door on West Register Street. Not included here are members of staff who worked in other offices in the two buildings, such as the Lyon Office and the Accountant of Court.
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 therefore fills a gap but 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 [email protected]
- Roll of Staff who died during the First World War
- General Registry Office for Scotland (GROS)
- Record Office
- Deeds Office
- Sasine Office
- Roll of Staff who served during the First World War
- General Registry Office for Scotland (GROS)
- Record Office
- Deeds Office
- Sasine Office
David Alexander Anderson *
Second Division Clerk, General Registry Office (Scotland)
Born 17 March 1889, Uphall, West Lothian, eldest son of Robert Anderson, bricklayer, and his wife Catherine Sutherland. 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 where he was highly regarded. A peacetime Territorial soldier (Private 1646) in ‘H’ Company, 9th Battalion, Royal Scots, he was mobilised and 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 Thomas Downing *
Second Division Clerk, 1911 Census, General Registry Office (Scotland)
Born 29 April 1892, Brighton, Sussex, son of Philemon Downing, billiard marker, and his wife Mary Elizabeth Richardson. 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, serving from 17 April 1911 until 14 October 1913, and thereafter transferred to the Fishery Board, Edinburgh. Enlisted in the Royal Scots, and was later transferred to 1/5th Battalion, Cameronians (Scottish Rifles), Private 2036. While serving on the Somme he was shot by a sniper. Unmarried, aged 24. (His elder brother Philemon Henry, a gunner in the Royal Field Artillery, was captured on 27 May 1918 and died a prisoner of war in France, 10 September 1918.)
Killed in action 30 October 1916.
Alexander Fraser *
Second Division Clerk, General Registry Office (Scotland)
Born 7 August 1889 at Helmsdale, Sutherland, son of Donald Fraser, stationmaster, and his wife Jane Gallon. 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, the son of Samuel Edward Gregory, clerk, and his wife Isabella, he was raised in Barrow-in-Furness, Lancashire. Started in civil service, 1899. Second Division Clerk, Board of Education, 17 Apr-16 Oct 1902, and General Post Office, 5 Nov 1902-9 Jan 1910. Appointed to GROS, 10 Jan 1910. He married Mary Ann Warner, 2 Dec 1911, in Edinburgh and they had two children. Enlisted in the Royal Field Artillery and was promoted to Sergeant 650467. By 25 July 1916 he was Battery Quarter Master Sergeant of “A” Battery, 325th Brigade, RFA. 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 Cameron McKinnon
Second Division Clerk, General Registry Office (Scotland)
Born 22 June 1887, Davidsons Mains, Edinburgh, son of John Cameron McKinnon, clerk, and his wife Isabella Henderson. Appointed to Lower Permanent Clerical Staff post in GROS, 18 Nov 1907. Keen golfer and member of the Register House Golf Club and the Cramond Brig 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.
Born 15 July 1897, South Gairloch, Ross-shire, son of Angus Nicolson, schoolmaster, and his wife Catherine Keith. Appointed a Boy Clerk in GROS in about 1915. In October 1917 he was serving as Private 43288 in 9th Battalion, Scottish Rifles, on the Western Front. For at least six months until his death in action he was in the battalion’s signalling section.
Killed in action 28 June 1918, aged 20.
William Shields O’May MC *
Boy Clerk, General Registry Office (Scotland)
Born 12 January 1891, Falkirk, son of Daniel O’May, glass merchant, and his wife Maggie Shields. 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, son of William J Sanders, clerk, and his wife Annie. 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 Urquhart *
Messenger boy, 1911 Census, General Registry Office (Scotland)
Born 7 June 1897, Leith, son of Walter Urquhart, journeyman flour miller, and his wife Eliza Jane Bonar. 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. By the early 1920s his parents had emigrated to Canada.
Killed in action 28 June 1915.
Edwin Leonard Wood *
Second Division Clerk, 1911 Census, General Registry Office (Scotland)
Born 1 October 1892, Grimsby, Lincolnshire, son of Walter James Wood, consulting engineer, and his wife Annie. 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.
Andrew Dewar Gibson
Messenger, Record Office, Register House Departments
Born 24 September 1864, Edinburgh, son of Andrew Gibson, engine fitter, and his wife Elizabeth Mitchell. Enlisted in the Royal Marines and served in the Royal Marine Artillery (RMA). Married Rosa Alice Horner, 5 September 1898, Edinburgh. Discharged from RMA with the rank of Colour Sergeant, and started as a porter in Register House, 6 March 1902. Appointed Messenger, 16 July 1906. Was mobilised and rejoined RMA as Colour Sergeant, 4 August 1914. Served at HMS Cyclops II, a shore base for RMA personnel manning the shore defences of Scapa Flow, Orkney, where the Royal Navy’s Home Fleet was based. While still on active service he died suddenly at home in Edinburgh, 22 March 1918, aged 54.
Died 22 March 1918.
Charles Whitehead Yule
Assistant Curator, Historical Department, Record Office
Born 1 December 1888, Kinghorn, Fife, son of James Yule, master builder, and his wife Thomasina Whitehead. 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.
Clerk, Deeds Office
Born 1 October 1885, Barnhill, Isle of Jura, Argyll, the son of Malcolm Shaw, shepherd, and his wife Margaret McPhail. Shaw had joined the Deeds Office as an Engrossing Clerk by 1912. During the First World War he served 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.
Wedderburn Mackenzie Gardner *
Boy Clerk, 1911 Census and Sasine Office
Born 21 June 1896, Leith, son of Peter Gardner, newspaper proprietor, and his wife Elizabeth Fairbairn. 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). Wedderburn Gardner died on the Western Front near Ypres, unmarried, aged 21.
Died of wounds on 23 August 1917.
James Southern *
Clerk, Sasine Office
Born 1890, Islington, London, only son of Ezra John Southern, accountant in the Army Audit Staff. Educated at St Albans Grammar School, and on the classical side at George Watson’s College, Edinburgh, 1905-08. Studied for the Civil Service and joined staff of Sasine Office before being appointed an Assistant Clerk (Abstractor) in Inland Revenue, London, 16 February 1911. He enlisted in 1/23rd Battalion, London Regiment, a Territorial Army unit, as Private 1648, rising to Lance Corporal. Disembarked in France, 14 March 1915, his battalion became part of 142nd Brigade in 47th (London) Division. On the evening of 25 May the Brigade assaulted the German lines south-west of La Bassée in the final attack of the Battle of Festubert. Southern was killed in action that night, one of 980 casualties caused by German shelling and counter-attack. His body was not recovered.
Killed in action, 25-26 May 1915.
James Ritchie Wells
Clerk, Sasine Office
Born 13 March 1890, Glasgow, son of Robert Lamb Wells, engineer's draughtsman, and his wife Catherine Hamilton. 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 Lothians and Border 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.
Second Class Clerk, Sasine Office
Born 19 September 1891, Newton on Ayr, son of Margaret Honeyman and her husband John Wilson, marine engineer, who died in 1893. In 1911 John Wilson was working as a law clerk in Edinburgh, and after an open competition on 28 June 1913 was appointed a Second Class Clerk in the Register House, where he worked in the Sasine Office. Enlisted 10 October 1914, and was transferred to a service battalion, 19 December 1914. As Private 2473, 1/9th Battalion Royal Scots, he landed in France, 24 February 1915. Appointed unpaid Acting Lance Corporal, 17 February 1916, and following the battalion’s losses in action on the Somme on 22-23 July 1916 he was made up to paid Lance Corporal, 24 July. On 3 August the battalion was in a supporting role behind the front line, occupying trenches and dugouts in Mametz Wood. That afternoon German guns shelled their position, and by noon next day five ‘other ranks’ were reported killed, and eighteen wounded. John Wilson was among the fatalities. He was buried in the wood, and his body later moved to Caterpillar Valley Cemetery, Longueval.
Killed in action, 3 August 1916.
Frank Leslie Bell
Born 27 April 1892, Edinburgh, son of William Bell, Civil Service Clerk , and his wife Agnes Best. Assigned to GROS as Second Division Clerk, 1912. Assigned to Exchequer Office, Scotland, 6 July 1915. 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 at Redhill, Surrey, England, 31 January 1972, aged 79.
Born 15 June 1867, Partick, Glasgow, son of Richard Bird, a shipbuilder's labourer, and his wife Mary Maxwell. 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, son of David Brownlee, master builder, and his wife Maragaret Russell. Second Division Clerk, National Debt Office, 15 Oct 1906-13 April 1907, Board of Education, 15 April 1907-20 July 1908. Appointed as a temporary Second Division Clerk in GROS, 18 Sep 1908-17 Mar 1909 and 1 May-1 Dec 1909, before permanent appointment there, 14 Dec 1909. 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. Commissioned as a second lieutenant in the 4th Battalion, Black Watch, he served 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. Transfer as Executive Officer to Ministry of Pensions, gazetted 6 March 1923. Transfer to Customs and Excise gazetted 8 June 1934. Living in Harrow, Assistant Accountant, Customs and Excise in 1939. Died 17 September 1966 at Harrow, Middlesex, aged 79.
Alexander MacLennan Campbell
Born 6 January 1886, Forres, Moray, son of Duncan Campbell, wine merchant, and his wife Marion Brown. On 12 June 1907 he was appointed 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 married 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, son of George Chambers, Customs and Excise Officer, and his wife Caroline Hargreaves. 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, and was based in Leith. In 1922 he married Mary Elizabeth Gray, who died in childbirth on 18 Dec 1924. He married Hilda E D Wallace in 1927, Alloa, Clackmannanshire. During the 1930s he moved south and in 1939 was living at Harwich, Essex. Died 24 August 1962, aged 65, and was buried at All Saints churchyard, Dovercourt, Essex, 29 August 1962.
James Alexander Cormack
Born 23 March 1899, Edinburgh, son of James Alexander Cormack, bookbinder, and his wife Alexandra Rae. 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.
Born 6 November 1890, Musselburgh, son of David Gibb, tailor cutter, and his wife Jane Kirk. 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, son of John Girdwood, journeyman grocer, and his wife Jane Cooper. 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, being 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. Retired and died unmarried 9 March 1936, Edinburgh, aged 62.
Born 16 March 1898, Edinburgh, son of Andrew Henderson, joiner, and his wife Maragret Williamson. 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, aged 75.
Born 1887, South Cave, East Riding of Yorkshire, son of James Johnson, schoolmaster, and his wife Caroline Stenson. Three years’ service in 3rd London Yeomanry. Second Division Clerk in Post Office Savings Bank, West Kensington, London, 28 December 1905-9 January 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 (later Private 358372). 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. Promoted to be a Higher Grade Clerk circa 1920-6, and Senior Staff Officer by retirement. Died 7 August 1960, Edinburgh, aged 73.
Born 12 November 1868, Port Glasgow, son of John Caldwell Johnstone, journeyman tailor, and his wife Maragret Millar. 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.
Born 12 June 1888, Aberdeen, son of Robert Marshall, Customs Clerk, and his wife Christian Symington. Attended Leith Academy and George Heriot’s School. Appointed to Lower Permanent Clerical Staff post in GROS, 27 Jan 1908. 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, Royal Scots. 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. Returned to his post in GROS, was promoted to Second Class Clerk by 1926, and retired as Executive Officer. Died 26 October 1953, Edinburgh, aged 65.
George Skirving Muir
Born 1 February 1876, Edinburgh, son of John Muir, warehouseman, and his wife Henrietta Young. 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.
Born 4 August 1882, Chirnside, Berwickshire, son of Alexander Ross, forester, and his wife Elizabeth Aitchison. Appointed to a Lower Permanent Clerical Staff post in GROS, 13 January 1902. In 1910 he was Supervising Index Clerk in the Index Department. Enlisted 2 May 1916, and in February 1918, as Lance Corporal S/22903 in 3rd Battalion, Seaforth Highlanders, he was performing clerical duties in the Regimental Office at Cromarty. By December 1918 he had been transferred to 14th Battalion, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, serving on Western Front in 12 Platoon, ‘C’ Company, as Lance Corporal S/27362. After demobilisation, he became a Second Division Clerk in GROS in April 1919. By 1926 had been appointed as the Registrar General’s District Examiner for the Northern District, living in Inverness. Retired as a Staff Officer (Acting). Died 2 May 1955, Edinburgh, unmarried, aged 72.
Born 30 January 1894, Peebles, son of David Sked, railway porter, and his wife Agnes Dick. 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.
Born 1 December 1891, Brindle, Lancashire, son of James Talbot, estate labourer, and his wife Anne Shorrocks. 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. Promoted to Lieutenant, 12 April 1918. 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. His transfer as Executive Officer to the Ministry of Pensions was gazetted 3 November 1922. Married secondly to Dora E Somerville, in Brentford, Middlesex, 1933, and lived in Ealing, circa 1932-51. Civil servant at outbreak of war, 1939. Died 6 May 1951, London, aged 59.
Peter Paton Taylor
Born 5 May 1896, Edinburgh, son of Thomas Taylor, brassfounder, and his wife Helen Paton. 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.
Born 5 November 1890, Leith, son of Robert William Tupman, commission agent, and his wife Agnes Chalmers. 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 (divorced 1947). Demobilised in May 1919. He was not selected for a permanent commission in 1921. Midland District Examiner for GROS, 1925 - circa 1941. Staff Officer, GROS, circa 1941-1946. Bachelor of Law, circa 1943. Senior Staff Officer, 1946-1949, and Senior Executive Officer, circa 1950 until retirement circa 1956. Died 1 August 1976, Edinburgh, aged 85.
James Candlish Young OBE
Born 5 September 1893, Dalton parish, Dumfriesshire, son of John Young, blacksmith, and his wife Elizabethe Candlish. 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.
Born 2 August 1890, Edinburgh, son of William Pitcairn Anderson, book-keeper, and his wife Jeanie Brown Cochran. In 1906 was apprenticed in the law firm of Murray, Beith and Murray WS, Edinburgh. Certificate of appointment as Second Class Clerk in the Register House Department, 10 May 1912, and started work in the Record Office, 1 June 1912. A peacetime Territorial soldier in the Lothians and Border Horse Yeomanry, he was called up on the outbreak of war in 1914. The War Office ordered his promotion from Private to Second Lieutenant and transfer to the Scottish Horse, 10 July 1915. Served overseas, 9 August-27 October 1916, and in November 1917 was at Salonika. Like his brothers, James Cochran Anderson and Hope Pitcairn Anderson, who were also subalterns, he survived the war. Resumed his clerkship, and on 22 October 1921 married Georgina Sangster Ferguson Redpath by declaration at Edinburgh. They were divorced 20 July 1922. From 1940 until 1945, Anderson, by then a First Class Clerk, was on detached duty, assisted by Gordon Donaldson and Robert Pow, to look after the pre-1707 Scottish records that were transported from Register House for safekeeping at Morenish Lodge on Loch Tay, near Killin. He occupied the position of Chief Clerk in the Record Office at the time of his death in Edinburgh on 7 October 1953, aged 63.
Walter James Chinnery
Born 25 October 1878, Glencorse Barracks, Midlothian, son of Private Thomas Chinnery, Royal Scots, and his wife Ann Smith. 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, son of David Lindsay, law clerk, and his wife Elizabeth Heriot. 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.
Hugh Eaglesom Balfour
Born 31 December 1886, Edinburgh, son of George Dalziell Balfour, Assistant Keeper of Register of Deeds, and his wife Jessie Milne. 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. Returned to Deeds office and was appointed to the permanent staff as a Special Clerk, 18 March 1921. In 1919 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, son of Peter Dudgeon, blacksmith, and his wife Janet Mossman. Became an Engrossing Clerk in Deeds Office circa 1905. Enlisted, probably in late 1914 in 5th Battalion, Royal Scots, Private 2275, stationed at Portobello. Married Isabella Ireland Dickson at Edinburgh, 16 April 1915. Drafted overseas, disembarking in Egypt, 27 May 1915, en route to join 1/5th Battalion at Gallipoli. Transferred to 1/4th Battalion, and on 30 November 1917 was reported among British wounded during fighting against the Turks to capture the city of Gaza, known as the Third Battle of Gaza. In peacetime returned to Deeds office and was appointed to the permanent staff as a Special Clerk, 18 March 1921. Retired as 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, and his wife Jessie Cream Henderson. 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.
Born 8 December 1879, Sheffield, Augustine (Austin) Godson, son of Frederick Morely Godson, draper and later sacristan, and his wife Emma Fletcher. Working as a law clerk in Oban, 1901, and Dundee from about 1902 onwards. Married Jessie Kennedy in Glasgow, 27 October 1904. Moved to Edinburgh and became an Engrossing Clerk in Deeds Office in about 1910. In wartime enlisted in 15th Battalion, Highland Light Infantry, Private 54991. Promoted to Colour Sergeant, and later to Company Quarter Master Sergeant. Godson’s first wife had died in 1914, and on 2 August 1919 he married Lilias Crammond Guild. Appointed Special Clerk on permanent staff of Register House, 19 March 1921. Retired as a Clerical Officer, Scottish Record Office. His son, Quarter Master Sergeant Austin Godson, 2nd Battalion Royal Scots, died a prisoner of the Japanese, 1-2 October 1942. Godson senior died 23 February 1964, Edinburgh, aged 84.
George Alexander Nisbet Ironside
Born 23 September 1880, Ballindalloch, Banffshire, son of WIlliam Ironside, house carpenter, and his wife Mary McLaren. 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.
Born 27 January 1883, Redding, Stirlingshire, son of Alexander McIntyre, railway engine driver, and his wife Margaret Dunlop. 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, son of George Robertson, schoolmaster, and his wife Christina Robertson. 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. He died 26 February 1976 at Liverpool, aged 88.
Robert Wallace Allan
Born 21 January 1880, Cupar, Fife, son of Robert Allan, blacksmith, and his wife Robina Wallace. 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. Retired as First Class Clerk. Died 7 November 1959, Edinburgh, aged 79.
Robert Wilson Baird
Born 19 October 1884, Linlithgow, son of Thomas Baird, shoemaker, and his wife Janet Richardson. 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, aged 86.
James Smith Binnie MSM
Born 29 January 1888, Lochend, South Leith, son of Janet Binnie, domestic servant, and an unnamed father. 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, aged 87.
Born 14 December 1889, Carthorpe, near Bedale, North Yorksire, son of Walter Bonner, civil assistant, Ordnance Survey, and his wife Martha Hayes. 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.
Born 31 March 1871, Aberdeen, son of William Brand, engine erector, and his wife Elizabeth Martin. 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, son of WIlliam Burgess, watchman, and his wife Margaret Murray. 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, son of James Duncan, leather warehouseman, and his wife Isabella Kinloch. 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.
Born 25 January 1878, Edinburgh, son of Alexander Falconer, bookseller's assistant, and his wife Madeline Campbell. Attended George Heriot’s School, Edinburgh, 1888-93. 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. His brother John C Falconer, also RGA, was killed in action 15 June 1917. Robert Falconer 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. Post-war career unknown, but was a member of the Register House Golf Club. He was described as a retired solicitor at his death, unmarried, 11 September 1959, Edinburgh, aged 81.
Born 9 March 1880, Lasswade, Midlothian, son of Alexander Hastings, journeyman baker, and his wife Mary Reid. 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.During the war he served as Private 3131 in D Company, 9th Battalion, Royal Scots, later as Private 40390. Transferred to Labour Corps as Private 254069. In March 1918 was listed as one of the engrossing clerks on military service: ‘In France – invalided’. Held the rank of corporal when discharged, 16 March 1919, and received a disability pension for deafness caused by his war service, which is stated also to have included attachment to the Scottish Rifles. Spent the remainder of his career in the Sasine Office. Died in retirement, 2 February 1948, North Berwick, aged 67.
James McMinn Houston
Born 17 November 1883, Paisley, son of Thomas Houston, foreman shoemaker, and his wife Robina McMinn. Appointed Second Class Clerk in Register House Departments, 2 June 1908. Probably assigned to Sasine Office, and was working in Register House in spring 1911. By the date he married Beatrice Victoria Crockett in Glasgow, 3 August 1915, he appears to have been seconded to a government department in London, where he was living. Enlisted at Whitehall, London, in 2/15th Battalion, London Regiment (Prince of Wales Own Civil Service Rifles), 8 June 1916. Embarked for active service in France, 29 Sep 1916, thence to Salonika, 19 November 1916, serving there until transferred to Egypt, 20 June 1917. During an action in Palestine, received a gunshot wound to his left thigh, 2 May 1918. Hospitalised at Taranto, Italy, 9-30 July 1918. Rejoined unit in France, 13 Aug 1918. Treated for scabies and bronchitis, September 1918, before evacuation to Dutton war hospital, Lancashire. After 124 days in hospital was discharged, 2 February 1919. Resumed work in Sasine Office, rising to be a Chief Clerk. Died 31 May 1947, after a road accident near Innerleithen, aged 63.
Born 27 June 1894, Johnstone, Renfrewshire, son of George Laird, book agent, and his wife Jeanie Peddie. 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. Was studying for a Bachelor of Law degree at Edinburgh University during 1922, and was admitted as a law agent, 1925, and later as a Notary Public. Practised on his own account from 1925, in partnership with Robert Duncan Gray SSC, as Laird and Gray, circa 1942-44, and with his son Alexander Peddie Laird SSC, as Laird and Laird, circa 1951-1966. Prepared the index to the revision of Green’s ‘Encyclopaedia of the Scottish Legal System’, 1941. Retired from practice, circa 1975. Died 25 May 1983, in Edinburgh, aged 88.
John Hughes Leask
Born 1 March 1888, Edinburgh, son of William Leask (1848-1912), Clerk in the Sasine Office, and his wife Mary Anna Leslie. After training as a clerk in a law firm, he was appointed a Second Class Clerk in the Register House Departments, 7 April 1909, and worked in the Sasine Office. The unit in which he first served after the outbreak of war is not yet known, but he received training as an officer cadet and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieut in the Royal Garrison Artillery, 18 December 1916. After the war he resumed his post in the Sasine Office, and was promoted to Assistant Accountant, January 1930, and subsequently to Accountant. He was Group Scout Master of Rover Scouts and Cubs of St Serf’s Church, Edinburgh. Unmarried, he lived with his sisters and brother in Aberdour, Fife, where he died suddenly 6 October 1947, aged 59.
John Duncan McKenzie
Born 9 March 1879, Edinburgh, son of William McKenzie, bank nightwatchman and his wife Janet McDonald. 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, son of Kenneth McKenzie, factory engineman, and his wife Ann Muckersie. 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, son of James Macqueen, lighthouse keeper, and his wife Christina McKinnon. 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. Returned to Register of Sasines after the war. Promoted to Assistant Keeper, 27 May 1935. 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. 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 OBE MSM
Born 1 March 1888, Stair, Ayrshire, son of John McVie, hone sawyer, and his wife Thomasina McCracken. Ayrshire. Educated at Stair School and Ayr Academy. Apprentice law clerk with W W & J Pollock in Ayr, and Tods, Murray & Jamieson in Edinburgh, qualifying as a solicitor in 1911. Appointed Second Class Clerk in Register House Departments, 22 November 1911. Placed in Sasine Office. Joined 1/9th Battalion, Royal Scots as a Territorial soldier in 1909, and was called up on outbreak of war in 1914. Landed in France 24 February 1915, and served there for the rest of the war. Private 350036. On staff of 3rd Army HQ, 1916-1919, and was promoted to Sergeant. Awarded Meritorious Service Medal, 18 October 1916. Promoted to Company Quarter Master Sergeant & Acting Warrant Officer Class II. Married Jessie Gordon Hunter, 7 August 1918, at Tarbolton, Ayrshire. Listed in Field Marshal Haig’s despatch ‘submitting names deserving of special mention’, 27 December 1918. Disembodied 26 February 1919 and returned to Sasine Office. Promoted to First Class Clerk, 1930, Chief Clerk, 1943, Chief Assistant Keeper, 1946. Appointed OBE 1945. Keeper of the Registers of Scotland, 1 April 1949-1957. Active promoter of Scottish culture and member of historical and literary societies. Secretary of the Burns Federation, 1932-46, President, 1950. Published short books on Robert Burns’s links to Ayrshire and Edinburgh, a selection of his writings and a songbook, 1927-1962. Influential supporter of and fundraiser for the Scottish National Dictionary, serving on its Executive Committee from 1943, as its President 1946, and on the Joint Council, 1954-67. Died 5 February 1967, Leith, aged 78.
Born 12 April 1880, Leith, son of James Malcolm, journeyman boilermaker, and his wife Jane Mill. Began working as an Engrossing Clerk in the Sasine Office about 1909. His pre-war military and government service included spells in 2nd Battalion, Edinburgh Rifles (Royal Scots), the South African Constabulary, the Lothian and Border Horse, and as a Territorial soldier in the Army Service Corps. Married Agnes Matilda Henderson, 18 September 1914, Edinburgh. Attested with the rank of Corporal (RTS/5254) on 2 January 1915, was appointed Acting Regimental Quarter Master Sergeant on 20 January, and embarked for France on 25 January with the 17th Squadron of the ASC’s 3rd Base Remount Depot, which was based at Janval Camp, Dieppe for the duration of the war. Reduced to Foreman Corporal for drunkenness and absence, 20 December 1916, but rank restored 12 February 1917. His wife died 22 June 1917. Promoted to Quarter Master Sergeant (Warrant Officer Class II) 22 June 1918. Married Ann Beveridge Rodger Adamson, 15 July 1918, Methil, Fife. Returned to Britain on 26 January 1919. Resumed work in the Sasine Office, retiring as a clerk. Died 27 February 1955, Edinburgh, aged 74.
John Moncrieff Milligan TD
Born 8 August 1877, Portobello, son of Alexander Miller, journeyman joiner, and his wife Jane Stark. 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 1917 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.
Born 5 October 1882, Wishaw, Lanarkshire, son of Alexander Paterson, law clerk, and his wife Agnes Millar. 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.
Born 20 June 1893, Grangemouth, son of Walter McLuckie Penman, mercantile clerk, and his wife Margaret Wallace. 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, son of James Scobie, Commission Clerk, Sasine Office, and his wife Clementina Mitchell. 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.
William Roderick Scott
Baptised 4 December 1887, parish of Ludgershall, Wiltshire, son of Joseph Scott, Excise Officer, and his wife Jessie McLeod. Attending school in Edinburgh, 1891. Appointed a Second Class Clerk in the Register House Departments, 7 January 1908. Working in Sasine Office by spring 1911. Married Annie Gray Sinclair, 17 February 1911, Edinburgh. War service in Royal Scots, starting as Private (probably 49995), and later commissioned as temporary 2nd Lieut in the regiment, 29 July 1918. Resumed his clerkship post-war, rising to be Deputy Keeper of the Sasines by his retirement. Died 20 December 1964, Edinburgh, aged 77.
John Sommerville or Somerville
Born 23 August 1881, Edinburgh, son of Thomas Sommerville, journeyman mason and his wife Agnes Wilson. In 1901 was a law apprentice in Edinburgh. Appointed Second Class Clerk in Sasine Office, 1 March 1904. Married Margaret Holliday, 3 August 1908, Edinburgh. Served during the First World War, ending with the rank of sergeant. He may be the John Sommerville, Private 2774, 1/5 Royal Scots, who served in the Balkans from 24 May 1915, was awarded the Military Medal as Corporal 250711 in October 1918, and was promoted to Sergeant in 5/6 Royal Scots. After the war he resumed his post in Register House, and was admitted to be a law agent, 3 February 1920. Thereafter until 1932 he conducted a private practice as a conveyancer of mainly domestic property in the Edinburgh area. Was appointed a First Class Clerk, 7 July 1930, and in 1940 was promoted from Acting Chief Clerk to Assistant Keeper, Glasgow District. He retired in 1946. Died 1 December 1952, aged 71.
Francis Yates Strachan
Born 8 April 1891, Edinburgh, son of William Anderson Strachan, tailor's cutter, and his wife Sarah McWhinnie. 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.
Born 4 August 1878, Forfar, son of Duncan Urquhart, game dealer, and his wife Christina Coventry. Appointed a Second Class Clerk in the Register House Departments, 1 March 1901, was working in Sasine Office in 1911, and when he married Emily Mackay in Edinburgh on 17 April 1914. The nature and duration of his wartime service is not yet known, but he was in uniform at the end of the war. Returned to his post and was promoted to First Class Clerk before his retirement. He died 16 January 1944, Edinburgh, aged 65.
David Newton White
Born 24 December 1890, Linlithgow, son of James White, joiner, and his wife Margaret Vernon. Educated Linlithgow Academy. Boy Clerk in Civil Service departments, London, before appointment as Assistant Clerk (Abstractor), Prison Commission for Scotland, February 1911. Appointed Second Class Clerk in Register House Departments, and placed in Sasine Office, 15 November 1911. Keen sportsman, 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. Shot through the wrist at St Julien, probably during the Second Battle of Ypres, April 1915. Promoted Corporal before being commissioned as 2nd Lieut in Highland Light Infantry, 15 April 1917. Promoted to Captain and served with the King’s Royal Rifles in Burma. Resumed work as clerk in Sasine Office after the war. Chairman and Trustee of the Royal Scots Club. 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 in Fife, aged 66.
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 either via TNA or family history websites, 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, and the British Newspaper Archive.