Thursday, 16 January 2014

World War One part 2

My father-in-law David McMeekin, 1892-1973 was a miner,  son of John McMeekin and Annie Gibson Murdoch of Glengyron Row. We know he was in the Royal Scots Fusiliers and served in Palestine; he was fond of talking at length about Palestine. Unfortunately his son did not pay much attention to his tales. His service records did not survive, but he did.

David McMeekin aged about 22

His younger brother Jimmy 1895-1978 also a miner, enlisted in the Royal Scots Fusiliers and his records survive. He enlisted at Cumnock on the 28th August 1914. He was recruited by recruiter John Sykes. He gave his age as 20 years and 160 days but he was only 19. This was probably a mistake and not an attempt to enlist when too young. You could enlist at age 18 but you weren't sent abroad till you were 19. He was 5 ft 5 and a half inches, blue eyes, fair hair, teeth defective, but nutrition good. Pulse 70 (underlined, is this good?). This noted by Dr McQueen in Cumnock. He was discharged at Aldershot after 25 days, as he was "physically unfit for active service due to chronic rheumatism and valvular heart disease". Nevertheless, he continued to work as a miner and died age 83!

Although none of the family died in the war, the family did not escape unscathed. A third brother Andrew died in 1916 in a rock fall in Garallan colliery. He was only 19. I wrote about his death here.  On his death certificate his father John is listed as a miner and a private in the Royal Defence Corps (the Home Guard).

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