Charles Atholl Stewart (Charlie) - 1884 to 1915
Charles was born on
All that is known of Charles is that he was
considered to be the best-looking member of the family:
Charles Atholl Stewart (1894-1915)
At the outbreak of war, Charlie enlisted as Private No. S/3276, in the 8th Battalion Seaforth Highlanders. The prefix ‘S’ indicates that he was attached to one of the new service units. It is likely that he would have undergone 6 to 8 months training, perhaps in
The Medal Card (see below) bears the rather bald “Died” in
the Remarks column.
In his Army file, which contains an Informal
Will from his Pay Book, is the statement that he Died
of Wounds at No 15 Advance (sic) Dressing Station on
This information raises some interesting questions:
1 If Charlie was injured and Died of his Wounds, he could reasonably be expected to have a grave. The Loos Memorial contains a large number of inscribed panels arranged in Regiments. It commemorates 20,633 officers and men who have no known grave but who fell in the Loos sector, mostly in 1915.
2 The 8th Battalion Seaforth
Highlanders was under the command of the 44th Brigade, itself a unit
of the 15th (Scottish) Division. The Brigade’s HQ was very close to
where the Loos Memorial was built. It was not far from a large German defensive
position, the Lens Road Redoubt, which was attacked and captured by the 15th
By 27 September, the 15th Division was relieved.
The 8th Battalion lost 502 men and officers in the Battle of Loos.
Charles Atholl Stewart may have been among them.
But the record states that he Died of his Wounds almost 7 weeks later, when there was no
reported military action.
Click the map for a description of the Battle of Loos, September 1915.
(The only other significant action in the Loos sector took place from 9 to 12 October and did not involve the 15th Division.)
3 Moreover, Charlie is stated to have died at an Advanced Dressing
Station, a mobile unit just behind the front line where a casualty’s wounds
could be dressed. All casualties, except for the very lightly wounded, would be
then be shipped out by stretcher or by horse-drawn ambulance to a Casualty
Dressing Station several miles behind the front line. The most seriously
injured would be transported to hospital or even evacuated to
It seems illogical that a man could Die of Wounds in a dressing station close to the front line, when the category usually signified a death outside the battlefield.
The position of Charlie Stewart’s unit on
This view does not, unfortunately, explain why there is no grave.
In his Soldier’s Will he bequeathed everything he possessed to his sister Elizabeth.
William Kenneth Stewart (Kenneth) - 1898 to 1918
Kenneth was born on
It is not known when he enlisted as Private
No. #268933 in the Black Watch (Royal Highlanders), although the family say
that he gave the wrong age to gain admission. If he volunteered before 1916,
proof of age was seldom required. However, official records do give his correct
age – 20 – at death.
In support of a later date of enlistment, his Medal Card (below)
shows that he was awarded only two medals, the Victory and the British. He did not receive the Star Medal because it was discontinued after
It seems likely that Kenneth joined up between January and September 1916.
At some stage, he transferred to the 1st Battalion Gordon Highlanders as Private No. 235694.
The Battalion was a unit of the 76th
The Regimental Diary for the period shows that the men spent the majority of their time away from the front lines. When they were not marching between positions, their time was taken up with training, drills and parades, sports competitions and church services and funerals (for officers only). Getting to the baths was a particularly noteworthy event. Units seem to have been frequently rotated so that nobody spent too long in the front line trenches. Many of the entries relate to relieving other units, or being relieved by them. At the front line, the unit would work on the trenches, go on raids or prepare for an upcoming assault.
In 1917 and 1918, the Battalion took part in a number of engagements:
29 March 1918- involved in the German Spring offensive in the Wancourt Sector
5th May & 19 - 20 May 1918 - at La Bassee Canal near Hinges
Kenneth was Killed
in Action on
On 23 October, the Gordons went forward to this line, and “attacked and took Romeries”. By , they were organising their billets. There is no indication of the level of resistance they faced and no details of casualties. The engagement is mentioned nowhere except in the Regimental Diary. The impression is given of an easy conquest. Nevertheless, it was here that Kenneth Stewart must have lost his life.
He is buried just up the road at the Romeries Communal Cemetery Extension.
his Soldier’s Will he bequeathed all his belongings to his sister Elizabeth.