William Bauchop of Forres

William Bauchop of Forres

The Bauchop family headstone stands proudly on a slab of granite in the Cluny Hill Cemetery – near the top of the hillside cemetery.  This woodland cemetery I find such a beautiful and peaceful place and is probably one of my favourites to spend time just walking around.

The headstone tells ‘In memory of James Bauchop. Died 26 Feb. 1931. His wife Flora Clyne Died 29 Sep. 1932. Their sons Charles. Died in infancy. William Killed in Action. 23 Dec. 1914. And their daughter Jean Cameron Clyne Died 17 May. 1952.’

William was born in Dundee on the 18th of May 1883. Within a few years, the family had moved North to Forres. The move could have been because James worked for the Great North of Scotland Railway Company as a traffic agent. Number 76c High Street became the family home.

William also worked for the same railway company as his father – could his work have been the reason he was in London at the time of his enlistment, September 1914?

He joined the 2nd Btn. Scots Guards and became Private 11319. It was just a few months after enlisting on the 9th of November 1914 that William embarked for France.

When the 2nd Battalion landed they became part of the 20th Guards Brigade of the 7th Division which took part in the First Battle of Ypres. In September and November, very heavy fighting took place not only in Ypres but in the surrounding areas. It was during this time over 50,000 British regular soldiers became casualties or were killed. Even though there were large numbers of casualties the British managed to hold the line and stopped the German attempt to breakthrough.

The regiment saw further contact with the enemy in the very cold December of that year. The regiment, on the 19th of December, won its first Victoria Cross, when Private James Mackenzie successfully rescued a badly wounded soldier from the German lines. He was killed later that day while undertaking a similar rescue. It was only a few short days later that William was killed.

William was laid to rest in Le Trou Aid Post Cemetery, Fleurbaix, France. Fleurbaix is some 700 miles from Forres, a small hamlet between Bethune and Armienteres. To the south is Fromelles while a 30 minutes drive and you are in the Belgium city of Ypres. A world and a lifetime away from the Moray Burgh of Forres.

Although William was killed early in the war he was still eligible for a medal or two – the 1914 Star and the Victory Medal. He or should I say his father went on to receive a War Gratuity of £3 plus £1 13s 10p and three siblings (James, Jane C and Annie) each received 11s 3p.

William was not the only child of James and Flora to ‘do their bit’ during The Great War. His younger brother James, born 2nd February 1892. He enlisted locally in Elgin on the 4th of August 1914. He initially served with the 1/6th Seaforth Highlanders as Private 1757, later rising to the rank of Sergeant before being transferred after 1916 to the Machine Gun Corps where he was an Officer Cadet and entered on the nominal roll of Officers. Now a 2nd Lieutenant he was awarded the Military Cross his citation in the London Gazette of 6 April 1918 reads:-T./2nd Lt. James Belfrage Bauchop, M.G. Corps. For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He led his battery through very heavy shell fire to their position during an attack, and got them into action, with great success. Later, under very severe shell fire, though wounded, he reorganised his teams’ and got his guns into action, remaining at his post until relieved’.

James during his service was severely wounded at Poelcapelle in the left side and shoulder. The Forres News and Advertiser of 20th of October 1917 let the community know of the families news ‘Wounded, Sec., Lieut. J B Bauchop. Information has been received by Mr and Mrs Bauchop, High Street, Forres that their only surviving son, Second Lieut. James B Bauchop, Machine Gun Corps, has been severely wounded. After a period of 15 months at the front with the Seaforth Highlanders, he received a commission in the Machine Gun Corps in October last year. Before enlisting he was in the employment of Messrs R & S Stewart, W.S., Edinburgh.’ After the was James worked as a solicitor. He married Margaret MacKenzie and died in 1959.

The next child is Jean or Jane as she is sometimes found, like William she was born in Dundee (28 June 1886). During the war, she served as a VAD Nurse but is missing from the Red Cross lists. After the was Jean became the manageress of the Forres Gazette office. She died in 1952.