8th Service Battalion, Black Watch

8th Service Battalion, Black Watch; 26th Brigade, 9th (Scottish) Division; Bordon Camp, Aldershot 1915.

Perhaps it was conventional not to wear the sporran in group shots like this?

Published by Christian Clay Columba Campbell

Christian Clay Columba Campbell is a Roman Catholic of the Anglican Use. As Senior Warden of the Cathedral of the Incarnation (Orlando, FL), he organised the process by which the parish accepted the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus, petitioning to join the Catholic Church. The Anglican Cathedral is now the Church of the Incarnation in the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. Personal queries should be directed to me at eccentricbliss dot com.

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  1. Do you have the names of any of these men? My great uncle, Alan Cunningham was with the 8th services battalion in Aldershot. Sadly killed

    1. My Great Uncle, David Elder Robertson, service number S9365, of Musselburgh, Midlothian, Scotland, is the bare-headed soldier with the “X” above his head. I posted this photo (scanned at home from the original I have) on a WW1 website. The photo shows the training company of the 8th (Service) Batt, Royal Highlanders (Black Watch) at Bordon in the summer of 1915. David volunteered at Musselburgh Town Hall on 2nd June 1915 and was sent to the training company at Bordon. The 8th battalion had by this time left Bordon and was on the Western Front, leaving behind their training company. He was later appointed L/Cpl during his time at Bordon. The officer in charge of the company was Captain D.C. Hamilton-Johnston, a veteran of 2nd Black Watch, recuperating from wounds sustained at Neuve Chapelle in March. He later rejoined his battalion in Iraq (Mesopotamia) and was killed leading troops at Hanna on 21st January 1916. In September 1915, 9th Scottish Division including the 8th Black Watch took part in the volunteer army’s first major action – the Battle of Loos. It resulted in catastrophic losses. David was part of a replacement draft sent to rebuild the battalion in mid-October, joining No 5 Platoon, B Company. At that time, the battalion (and 9th Div) was in trenches before Hill 60, near the Comines Canal and Ypres railway line. On 14th July 1916, 9th Div took part in the offensive on the Somme to capture Longueval and Delville Wood. One week later they were relieved. The 8th Black Watch had gone into action with 739 all ranks; one week later 171 men walked out of the captured positions. They had later operations on the Somme. On 9th April 1917, a British offensive launched near Arras made astounding advances and 9th Scottish Div was in the thick of the action. Failures by the French meant the British had to continue alone and German resistance had stiffened. The British launched an attack at 3.45am near Roeux on the morning on 3rd May 1917 (Third Battle of the Scarpe). David was mortally wounded and died later that morning.

      1. The soldier on the left with rifle looks extremely like my great grandad William Fleming of 105 new street fisherrow Musselburgh. Landed in France may 1915 as part of the 26 infantry brigade of the 9th Scottish division, wounded twice at deville wood. Continued to fight in all engagements with the 8th battalion until armistice

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