My Great Uncle, William Muir, was working as a labourer when he enlisted in the reserves of the Argyle & Sutherland Highlanders in 1907. He must have liked it / hated his job, because he became a full-time soldier in 1911, signing up for 12 years in the Royal Scots. His Grandfather had been in the army, so maybe it was a family thing. Bad timing is everything in my family, because his experience would have had made one of the first to be sent over to fight the Germans when World War 1 broke out. And, indeed, the 19th December 1914 saw him arriving in France.

He lasted just 10 months, until October 1915, being killed in action 50 years to the day, before I was born on 12 October. He died a private in Royal Scots (Lothian Regiment), 11th Battalion in Flanders. This would have been the Third Battle of Artois, also called the Loos-Artois Offensive, where “11/Royal Scots lost direction and in correcting it ran into a deep wire entanglement, where they were caught by machine-gun fire and virtually wiped out”. You can read more here Third Battle of Artois

I doubt his posthumous medals would have been much consolation to his family. You can see his British Army WWI Medal Rolls Index Cards below. That’s a Victory Medal, a British War Medal and a 1915 Star. The telling comment is “K in A” scrawled in the remarks section. Killed In Action.

It was a bad year for the family, as his father, my Great Grandfather had died from nephritis, less than three weeks before he was sent to France. Probably the Irish in him, that caused his kidneys to pack in. Anyway, here is William Muirs Medal Rolls Index Card.

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Here’s the extract from the roll of honour at the Scottish War Memorial.


Surname MUIR
Firstname William Joseph
Service Number 10853
Date Death 12/10/1915
Place of birth Edinburgh
Other 11th Bn.
Rank Pte
Theatre of death

Certificates and Extracts from the Roll of Honour