1/7th (Deeside Highland) Battalion, Gordon Highlanders
Died 1 June 1917 age 25
Private J. Michie – Gordon Hrs
Joseph Michie was a Private in the 1/7th Bn Gordon Highlanders (No. 290425). He was born 29th January 1892 at Maryculter, the son of Arthur Michie (a native of Kincardine O’Neil) and Mrs Mary Michie (born in Fyvie). The couple married at Kincardine O’Neil in 1884, at which time Arthur was a farm servant at Mains of Findrack. In 1901 the Michies were in Laurencekirk when there were at least seven children of the family of whom Joseph was the middle child. Later, Arthur was employed as a cattleman at West Maldron, Torphins, and Mary (at least from about 1917) came to reside at Powdagie, Craigmyle. By 1911, Joseph Michie was working as a farm horseman at Lumphanan.
The 1/7th (Deeside Highland) Bn of the Gordon Highlanders were a unit of the Territorial Force having their headquarters at Banchory. After a time at Bedford following the outbreak of war they were sent to Boulogne in May 1915 and served on the Western Front as part of the 153rd Brigade of the 51st Highland Division (a Division of the British Army famously known to the Germans as “the ladies from hell”). The 51st Division was involved in the Battle of Arras in April and May 1917 which resulted, at huge cost in human lives, in a significant advance ending in prolonged stalemate. The involvement of the 51st Division in this action officially came to an end in about the middle of May and it is not clear in what circumstances precisely Private Michie lost his life on 1 June 1917. His death at the age of 25 must have come as a particularly heavy blow to Mrs Michie, as her husband Arthur had died of peritonitis on 9 February that year, after being kicked by a horse in the course of his employment. It also made an inevitable impact on the local community, as this report in the Aberdeen Evening Express of 23 June 1917, in an account of recent doings at Lumphanan parish church, records:
“At the close of the service in the Parish Church on Sunday last the Dead March in “Saul” was played in memory of Private Joseph Michie who, though not a native, left this district when the Territorials were mobilised, and has recently fallen in the great struggle. Private Michie was a member of the Church, a farm servant at Cairnbeathie, and was a respected young man”.
He is buried or commemorated at Mindel Trench British Cemetery, St.Laurent-Blagny.