This is a blog I started a couple of weeks ago and saved as a draft, with it being late in the evening. In the meantime I, after having a chat with a fellow researcher, did the long awaited entry for Alexander Riach who had an accidental death.
It has been a while since I have touched anything connecte to my family history, I’ve been too busy researching for a couple of projects I have on the go. But tonight I took the bull by the horns and transferred my family tree from my pc to my laptop.
So I have been having a mooch around and seeing who is there, been looking through the pictures I have added to the many people and I came up with a piccy of a headstone, my friends will say ‘well what a surprise, a headstone!’ I had totally forgotten taking this one on a visit to Forres, Morayshire, years ago – I think it could have been one of those I’ll do a little research on that one at a later moment…………………the moment has come!
Isn’t it wonderful what a headstone can tell you, and especially a Scottish headstone as they nearly always have the wife with her maiden name for all to see – a woman keeps her name from cradle to grave…………wouldn’t that be wonderful if that was done in other countries!
This simple headstone is to William Younie who died at Bank Lane, 1926 aged 77. His wife, Mary MacDonald died in 1935 aged 80. But there are another couple of entries to their children. Two of these entries I will go into further detail in a while, but now I will name Leslie, Alexander and William who die din infancy.
So, to the other children, namely, James and Thomas. 1891 sees the family living at 34 St Leonards Road, Forres, where William is a mason. In 1901 the boys, were living at 3 Bank Street, Forres, with their parents, William Younie and Mary Ann MacDonald, and siblings – Donald, John and Emma. In 1901 James McAndrew Younie and his brother Thomas P Younie were 12 years old – yes, they were twins!
I had some left over credits on Scotlands People, not a place I like to spend money as I wish they would do an annual subscription, but hey ho! The William and Mary are living at 3 Bank Lane, Forres, with two of their children – James aged 23 and Emma aged 13. Also in the household is James Munro aged 25, a boarder, who speaks both Gaelic and English. William and Mary had bee married 33 years and had had eight children born alive, but only five had survived to be in the census of 1911. William was still a mason, but this census specifies house building. James was aged 23 and employed as a grocers assistant. Just for interest James Munro was employed as a law clerk.
During the Great War both James and Thomas fought for their country.
Lets look for James first. He had been living in Glasgow, so it was there that he enlisted, joining the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders, with the service number S/2469 and rising to the rank of Lance Corporal in the 6th Battalion. And son it was that on the 16th of July 1917 that James McAndrew Younie died of wounds received in action aged 29. He rests in Dozinghem Military Cemetery, near Krombeke, north west of Poperinge, in the West Vleteren region of Belgium, along with 3239 other casualties from the Commonwealth, the Chinese labour force and Germany.
Westvleteren was outside the front held by Commonwealth forces in Belgium during the First World War, but in July 1917, in readiness for the forthcoming offensive, groups of casualty clearing stations were placed at three positions called by the troops Mendinghem, Dozinghem and Bandaghem.
The 4th, 47th and 61st Casualty Clearing Stations were posted at Dozinghem and the military cemetery was used by them until early in 1918.
A book about the War Memorial Unveiled in the United Free High Church has the following entry for James McAndrew Younie.
Now to James’s twin, Thomas – while looking for James in the 1911 Scottish census, there was not one entry that I could 100% say was him. Looking for Thomas has been a lot harder going than his brother, but we got somewhere in the end. Thomas enlisted at Fort George in 1906. During the Great War, Thomas Petrie Younie served in the Seaforth Highlanders and became, Company Serjeant Major, 9500. He served in France and on 2 July 1919, nearly 2 years to the day since his brother James died, Thomas died as the result of a gun shot wound to his leg. As the war had ended Thomas had been sent back home and he rests in Cluny Hill Cemetery, Forres.
Thomas had been awarded the Military Medal and a similar article to his brother tells more about his life and war.
So it was that three brothers went to war, Mary’s twins both died and one came home. But one question still remains – which other brother went to war, was it Donald or John?
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Find My Past
Find a Grave
Soldiers who Died in the Great War
Moray and Nairn FHS click here