Glenfarg War Memorial Project

David Drummond Robertson

Private S/13349 8th (Service) Battalion Black Watch (Royal Highlanders)

Born 5 June 1897, Arngask (Glenfarg), Perthshire.
Died 24 March 1918,s France.

Both David Robertson and his elder brother William died in WW1: William on 3 September 1916 and David on 24 March1918.

David was born on 5 June 1897 in Glenfarg, his parents James, a railway signalman, and Mary Ann (née Halley) Robertson, who married on 22 October 1879 in Milnathort.

The 1901 census shows the family living at Great North Road, Arngask; father James aged 41 still a railway signalman, a native of Arngask, and wife Mary aged 41, a native of Auchterarder. Daughter Christine aged 19 is a letter deliverer, brother James aged 14 a telegraph messenger; William aged 10 and Jane aged 7 are scholars and David D. is aged 3.

Their father died of apoplexy (generally now referred to as stroke) on 10 December 1908 however, and the 1911 census shows David aged 13 and his mother Mary aged 51 living at Struie Cottage in the household of David Roger aged 24, a railway signalman, who had married David's sister Christina Robertson. His mother, Mary, is working as the caretaker of the local school. His elder brother William meanwhile, aged 20, is working as a ploughman for, and living on the farm of, James Ellis at Abbot's Deuglie, Glenfarg.

At some point David enlisted at Perth and joined the 8th (Service) Battalion Black Watch (Royal Highlanders). His soldier's will is dated 1 August 1916, but his Medals Index card does not show the date he entered the theatre of war. Although the 8th  Battalion was in France from 10 March 1915, as he was not 19 until 5 June 1916 he should not, in theory, have been allowed to be sent abroad until that age.
(He did not qualify for the 1914 or 1914-15 Star, which suggests he did not go to France before 31 December 1915, the cut-off date for qualification for the 1914-15 Star.)
He was killed in action on 24 March 1918 and, his body not found, is commemorated on panels 24-26 of the Pozieres Memorial, Somme, France.

The POZIERES MEMORIAL relates to the period of crisis in March and April 1918 when the Allied Fifth Army was driven back by overwhelming numbers across the former Somme battlefields, and the months that followed before the Advance to Victory, which began on 8 August 1918. The Memorial commemorates over 14,000 casualties of the United Kingdom and 300 of the South African Forces who have no known grave and who died on the Somme from 21 March to 7 August 1918. [CWGC memorial description]