William Menzies Christie

William Menzies Christie

Gordon Highlanders

Died 8th November 1917 age 64

Lieut W. Christie – Gordon Hrs.

William Menzies Christie has a story which is in a number of respects quite unusual. He was 64 when he died in 1917. His birth is recorded in the parish register for Kincardine O’Neil on 12 January 1854. He was a son of Alexander Christie, Craiglug, and his wife Elizabeth Menzies. His mother died in 1864 of tuberculosis, and in 1870 Alexander took a second wife Margaret Leslie. The family lived at Cochran, Kincardine O’Neil. In 1871 Christie, then aged 17 and working as a shoemaker, was living with his father (a forester’s labourer) and stepmother, younger sisters Christina (11) and Isabella (9) and step brothers James (3) and John (1). At least two of these younger siblings predeceased him –  Christina who died in 1896 aged 36 and John who died at the age of 23 in 1891.

Christie then disappears from obvious public records until, in 1912 at the age of 58, he married Emma O’Dell at Farnham (most probably Farnham in Hampshire). The couple had a daughter Eva Menzies Christie born on 27 March 1914. When war broke out in 1914 he was 60 years of age.  On 18 December 1914 his War Office file reveals that he was appointed to a regular commission as temporary Quartermaster with the honorary rank of Lieutenant in the 3rd Battalion the Gordon Highlanders, who remained at the regimental depot in Aberdeen for the duration of the war. A note on the file reads:  “There is no record of the late WC having served in the ranks prior to his commission on 18/12/14, neither is there any indication of his employment prior to joining HM Forces”.

Christie’s address at the time of his death was West View, Ash Vale, Aldershot, but for whatever reason he had obviously returned to native parts to perform his war service. The file reveals that he died of pneumonia in hospital at 19 Albyn Place, Aberdeen in the early morning of 8 November 1917.  

The funeral was reported in the Aberdeen Journal on 12 November 1917: “The funeral of Lieutenant and Quartermaster William Christie, who died in Albyn Place Hospital on Thursday, took place, with military honours, on Saturday, from Albyn Place Hospital to the Joint Station, en route for Kincardine O’Neil Churchyard. The bearers were all sergeants of the Gordon Highlanders from Castlehill, and the coffin, covered by the Union Jack, was carried on a gun carriage. The officiating clergyman was Rev. W. Hays”.