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6th Seaforth Highlanders

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The goal of this project is to bring together the stories of soldiers who served in the 6th Battalion Seaforth Highlanders, the Territorial Force/Army Battalion which recruited in Morayshire.

Right now this project just has one member, me. I am Donald Henderson. My Grandfather, William Alexander Bremner Smith joined the Battalion in 1912 as a 15 year old, and served in France and Belgium from late 1915 to 1919.

I have transcribed the Battalion War diaries, and have added material from the diaries for 152 Brigade and 51st Division diaries. I am also working on a spreadsheet of information on casualties the Battalion suffered, working out from the Commonwealth Wargraves Commission records, and weaving in information gleaned from material in local papers during the war and publications issued after the war.

Will you join me? Please post a comment here on this page, in G2G using the project tag, or send me a private message. Thanks!

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Thanks Donald, I will check this out. My grandmother unfortunately sold his medals to a doorstep cold caller about 20 years ago and immediately regretted it, but let's see what the records show.
posted by Anthony Marshall
It is a distant relation - my great-grandmother's sister's grandson: Cecil Ian Douglas Findlay Shirras (1920–1944) was born on 13 August 1920 in Aberdeen, Scotland. Aged 15 he went on a school tour on 15 Aug 1936 from Southampton, England to Quebec, Canada returning from New York. He may have started University but on the outbreak of WWII, aged 19, he enlisted with the Queen's Royal West Surrey Regiment. On 21 Oct 1939 he transferred to Para (XVII) K.R. In 1942 he was a Lieutenant with The Seaforth Highlanders (Rossshire Buffs The Duke of Albany's). He died on 11 Sep 1944 during the Allied attack on Le Havre, France as a Major with the Seaforth Highlanders (Ross-shire Buffs, Duke of Albany's) and is buried at the Commonwealth War Cemetery, Ste Marie Cemetery Le Havre Fr 589, Department de la Seine-Maritime, Haute-Normandie, France. A short life!
posted by David Gibson
Thanks David. My own area of Seaforths expertise is the First World War (my father was in the second, but in the Argylls and then the Lovat Scouts). I hope others will join us to bring some 1939-45 expertise.
posted by Donald Henderson
My Great Grandad John Anthony was in the Seaforth Highlanders, he joined under-age in about 1916. He never spoke about it although he hated the sight of blood, after what he had seen in the war. I have no idea which battles he was in but would love to find out more.
posted by Anthony Marshall
thanks Anthony. The rules were (theoretically) that someone had to be 19 before they went to the frontline. That rule was of course breached many many times, but I think more frequently earlier in the war.

The National Archives at Kew should have medal card for him. You probably knew this but he was a private - the army number on his medal card seems to be incomplete - the online search at the National Archives says "20389 (Incomplete)". If you don't already have it, it costs £3.50 for a scan, and it should show what medals he was entitled to (most likely the War Medal and the Victory Medal). The link may be https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/D1633107 or you may have to go in with a new search.

More importantly the card may show when he went to France, and which battalion of the Seaforths he was in (there were about 7 or 8 battalions by that stage in the war, mainly in France and Belgium but also in the Middle East). If he was on the Western Front, and depending on when he went to the front line, he would have been at High Wood on the Somme in July and August and very likely Beaumont Hamel in November that year. The following year he would have been at Arras and Cambrai, and in 1918 in the German offensive in March and from the summer the 100 days campaign that ended the war.

If it turns out he was in the 6th Battalion, let me know. I have the war diaries transcribed, which detail the dates and places they were, and the battles they were in. If he was in the 4th or 5th Battalions, it may still be worth a look at them, since they where in the same division.

Kind regards


posted by Donald Henderson