7th Battalion, Gordon Highlanders
Died 5 June 1915 age 22
Private R. MacLagan – Gordon Hrs.
The identity of this soldier is not entirely certain, but there is a reasonable likelihood that he is Robert McLaggan (not MacLagan) of the 7th Bn, Gordons (no.2760), son of William McLaggan and Jane Low or McLaggan of 40 King’s Crescent, Aberdeen. On his birth certificate he is neither MacLagan nor McLaggan but McLagan, but the prevalent spelling of his parents’ names and his in the available records is McLaggan. Robert was a twin, born at Pitblain, Daviot near Inverurie, on 27 March 1893; his elder brother Andrew died after only 23 days. As appears from William and Jane’s marriage certificate, he was a granite polisher and she a domestic servant. His father was a granite quarry worker and Jane was the daughter of a farm servant.
In the 1901 census the family were living at 40 Kings Crescent Aberdeen. William (36) came originally from Lanarkshire and in1901 was employed as a granite labourer. Jane (37) was born at Daviot Aberdeenshire as were their sons Robert, then aged 8, and Charles aged 3. The four of them were still at that address in 1911, when Robert was 18 and gave his occupation (obviously following in the family tradition) as “apprentice stonecutter”.
If this person is no. 2760 of the 7th Gordons, he gave his residence on enlistment as Banchory, his surname being noted as McLaggan. That would be one point of tenuous contact with the parish of Kincardine O’Neil. Another might be, given his occupation, possible employment at the quarry at Craiglash.
Robert McLaggan no. 2760 died on 5 June 1915 at the age of 22. The unit war diary contains an entry recording the activities of the 7th Gordons between 4 and 6 June 1915 when they were at La Quinque Rue, behind the allied lines, close to Festubert. The writer of the diary noted that on 4 June the 7th Gordons took over trenches from the 7th Black Watch who were about to relieve the 6th Black Watch in the front line. The battalion were employed during those three days in making and improving trenches and gathering arms and ammunition, in working parties varying from 300 to 550 men. Casualties in the week 31 May to 6 June 1915 were noted as 32 wounded and, among the ‘other ranks’, one killed. Private McLaggan is commemorated on the Le Touret Memorial.