Alexander Scott Murdoch
16th Battalion (Lothian Regiment), Royal Scots
Died 9 April 1917 age 23
Private A. Murdoch – Royal Scots
Alexander Scott Murdoch was the son of George and Mary Murdoch, born at Dyce on Christmas Day 1893. George was a brewery-carter born in Forgue; Mary came from Banchory, and two older brothers were born in Banchory. George and Mary later lived at Felix Cottage, Dyce.
As a singed fragment of his Army Service Record shows, Murdoch, by then a Postman, joined the Royal Scots at Aberdeen just a month before his 22nd birthday on 2 December 1915 and became a signaller in “D” Coy. 16th Bn Royal Scots (Lothian Regiment) (no. 27952), famously known as “McCrae’s Battalion”. His service record shows he was mobilised on 24 January 1916. He appears to have been part of the 46th reinforcement to the 2nd Bn on 23 September 1916 and joined that battalion in the field on 24 October 1916. He died aged 23 on 9 April 1917 – the first day of the Battle of Arras. British troops had succeeded in recovering part of the village of St Laurent-Blangy in March 1916. The rest was taken, more than a year later, on the day of Private Murdoch’s death. He is buried or commemorated at Bailleul Road West Cemetery, St.Laurent-Blangy, where one hundred casualties of the action on 9 April 1917 are buried, and also by a memorial in Dyce Old Churchyard.
There seems little doubt that this is the soldier commemorated on the village memorial, but while there were obvious family links with Banchory, his precise connection to this parish remains to be discovered. As at May 1920, it seems Murdoch’s father who was named as his next of kin on enlistment was no longer alive. The papers record his family as consisting at that time of his mother Mary Murdoch, brothers William living in Kilburn, James Keith at Woodbine Cottage, Dyce, Andrew Milne in Toronto and sister Mary in Lochmaben, Dumfriesshire.