Dunkeld Community Archive

Scottish Horse Regiment Padre’s Notebook

In 2019 Dunkeld Archives investigated a small notebook, written by Rev. Wilfred Callin, from our Scottish Horse collection.  This notebook contained a list of 93 Scottish Horse soldiers who lost their lives in France in October and November 1918.  Next to each soldier was a trench map co-ordinate of where he was initially buried, before being exhumed and re-buried in the military cemeteries.  By looking at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission web site, each name who had a grave site listed was checked off.

ONE of these soldiers only had a memorial!

The Archive then got in touch with the War Graves Adjudicator at the National Army Museum.  They investigated, and gathered further information from exhumation and reburial papers and confirmed that plot III.D.5 in Prospect Hill Cemetery, Gouy, France, which had been marked ‘UNKNOWN SOLDIER’ since 1919 (the date of reburial) was that of 2nd LIEUTENANT DAVID BELL of the 13th (Scottish Horse) Battalion Black Watch.

In the Scottish Horse war diary on the 7th October 1918, the following was written :-

Masniere-Beaurevoir Line – 2 Officers and 40 Other Ranks sick to hospital.  1 Other Rank rejoined.  Heavy shelling during the day.  Battalion was relieved in front line at 2300 hrs by 4th K.R.R., the Company’s withdrawing to West side of wire and digging in about 100 yards West of sunken road.  ‘A’ Company extended its right to Guisancourt Farm – Gouy Road.  Battalion H.Q. remained in same position.  Officers casualties killed 2nd Lieutenant David Bell.  Wounded Lieutenant C Kinloch, 2nd Lieutenant W Forster, Lieutenant A G Heard (M.O.R.C.)  Latter remaining at duty.  Casualties Other Ranks killed 8, wounded 40.  Lieutenant T H Buy appointed Acting Captain & Adjutant and takes over duties from today’s date.

On 22nd March 2022 there was a ‘Service of Rededication’ held in Prospect Hill cemetery, Gouy, France for 2nd Lieutenant David Bell.  The Ministry of Defence’s Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre invited representatives from our Archive to attend.  Two people from the Archive attended, thanks to the Basil D’Eath Trust’s kind offer to fund the trip to France.

Prospect Hill cemetery also contains the graves of 6 other Scottish Horse soldiers to whom respects were paid as well.

‘This story sends shivers up my spine every time I think about it.  It’s comforting to know that the MOD continue to work hard at identifying our fallen soldiers.  It also emphasises the importance of an Archive and how valuable the treasures within can be.’ – Ruth Brown, Dunkeld Community Archive