Lest We Forget

1914 - 1918

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old.
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning, We will remember them.

Carmichael, David

Rank
Private, 5th Battalion, Seaforth Highlanders
Service Number
4170
Born
about 1890 or 1892 at Govan, Glasgow
Parents
David and Annie Carmichael, Brae Cottage, North Queensferry
Date of death
13 November 1916 (Aged 25)
Grave
I.H. 25, Mailly Wood Cemetery, Mailly-Maillet, Somme, France
Other Memorials
Inverkeithing Memorial.
Scottish National War Memorial (Edinburgh Castle)

Other Information

Census 1911 at School Brae, David Carmichael (19) born Govan, Clerk, Whinstone Quarry. Son of David (42) Blacksmith’s striker, Forth Bridge and Annie (42). Judging by ages of children they had then been in North Queensferry for 17 years.

Although here is no evidence to prove it, it seems probable that David enlisted in the Seaforths at the same time as John Rankine. Their service numbers are close together. The Seaforths Medal Roll of Honour lists them consecutively.

David enlisted in Edinburgh and his Medal Index Card shows that he landed in France on the 5th December 1915.

Carmichael grave
Grave of David Carmichael

Both John and David were serving with the Seaforths in November 1916 as part of 152 Brigade part of the 51st Highland Division. This division had the unfortunate nickname of Harper’s Duds. Having been given the name during the failed attacks on High Wood on the Somme in July/August 1916 – named after the Divisional Commander Major General Sir Montagu Harper.

On the morning of Monday 13th November 1916, the Seaforths were one of the lead battalions positioned in the British front line near Hawthorn Ridge close to the village of Beaumont Hamel. They were flanked on the left by the 8th Argyll’s and on the right by the 6th Black Watch. Their objective was to capture the village of Beaumont Hamel – which had been an objective for the British since the 1st July 1916.

There are many accounts of this battle and of note is the fact that the weather was described as atrocious, with heavy rain, thick mist and mud with a consistency of porridge.

History records at the end of the day that the village of Beaumont Hamel (or more accurately its broken ruins) were in British hands.

Unfortunately, neither David nor John lived long enough to witness their success.

They were both killed in action on the day and are buried close together in Mailly Wood Cemetery, in Mailly-Maillet on the Somme.


Sources

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Scottish National War Memorial (Edinburgh Castle)

Scottish War Memorials Project

Soldiers Died in Great War

National Archives. Soldier’s Effects

Alex Morris


Here dead we lie, Because we did not choose
To live and shame the land, From which we sprung.

Life, to be sure, Is nothing much to lose,
But young men think it is, And we were young.

[A.E. Housman]

When You Go Home,
Tell Them Of Us And Say,

For Your Tomorrow,
We gave our Today

[Kohima, attributed to John Maxwell Edmonds]

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WE WILL REMEMBER THEM
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