Alexander Stuart

Alexander Stuart

6th Battalion, Gordon Highlanders (quite possibly also of the Royal Army Service Corps)

Died 30th July 1916

Private A. Stuart – R.A.S.C.

This soldier has proved a little difficult to identify, but is almost certainly Private Alexander Stuart of the 6th Bn. Gordon Highlanders (though quite possibly also of the Royal Army Service Corps). He was born on 16 August 1893, son of Agnes Stuart, Domestic Servant, at Netherhill, Tough. By 1901 Agnes had married John McIntosh, a native of Leochel Cushnie, and the extended family were living at Little Ennochie, Birse, where John was a Farm Servant, including Alexander aged 7, with his nine-year-old sister Marjorie and baby half-brother James.
 
Alexander Stuart’s connection to Kincardine O’Neil is that he was living there, at Gilmour Cottage, when he married Mary Hay from Inverurie in the Church of Scotland manse at Inverurie on 17 November 1914. He gave his occupation at the time of his marriage as “Soldier”.  He does not appear to feature in the 1911 census which might have given a clue as to his pre-war occupation. He had enlisted at Alford, most likely some time between 1908 and 1914, in the 6th (Banff & Donside) Bn. Gordon Highlanders (no. 1389) who were a Territorial Force Battalion. In 1914, soldiers in territorial units could not be compelled to service overseas, but many volunteered and Stuart was one such volunteer. Possibly significantly, E Company of the 6th Gordons was based at Inverurie with drill stations at Pitcaple.
 
From 26 July 1916, the battalion were camped out at Mametz Wood, as part of the 152nd Brigade and 51st (Highland) Division, in readiness to support an assault on High Wood which was launched on 30 July 1916, and turned out to be a very costly exercise in the face of ferocious opposition, in the early weeks of the Somme Offensive. Stuart was killed in action on Sunday 30 July 1916.  He is buried/commemorated at Dartmoor Cemetery, Becordel-Becourt. His memorial stone bears the words: “Christ shall clasp the broken chain closer when we meet again”.