Who Goes There? Update: 7th Battalion Royal Scots

Since posting my original article on the Musselburgh Company of the 7th Battalion Royal Scots I’ve spent some time examining the newspaper photographs in John Duncan’s Newbattle at War photo gallery. Although the gallery doesn’t include all 214 victims of the Gretna Rail Disaster it does feature a large number of Royal Scots, including eleven soldiers identified as being from Musselburgh. I’ve linked each soldier in this list to the newspaper photo featured on Newbattle at War so that you can compare them to the images below:

Pte David Archibald
Pte James Adams
L-Cpl Charles Bonnar
Sapper Gibson
Pte William Williamson
Pte James Maxwell
Pte Robert Whyte (or White)
Pte Robert Walker
Pte Robert C. Dugdale
Pte Robert Borthwick
Pte Archibald Hamilton

I believe I’ve identified Pte Borthwick in postcard #1 (4th row, 3rd from left) and postcard #3 (back row, far right):

Postcard #1 4th row, 3rd from left

Postcard #1
4th row, 3rd from left

Postcard #3 Back row, far right

Postcard #3
Back row, far right








I think the soldier below, pictured in postcard #1 (4th row, 4th from right), is Pte Archibald Hamilton:

Postcard #1 4th row, 4th from right

Postcard #1
4th row, 4th from right

I’m much less confident about these three soldiers also identified in postcard #1. Nevertheless I’ve posted them in the hopes that you’ll offer your opinion:

Sapper Gibson 4th row, far right

Sapper Gibson
4th row, far right

Pte James Adams Back row, 4th from left

Pte James Adams
Back row, 4th from left

Pte D. Archibald 3rd row, far right

Pte David Archibald
3rd row, far right








Tim Fox-Godden contacted me to say that he suspects the Lieutenant shown in postcard #1 and postcard #2 could be Lieut. N.C. Riddell. Riddell, who survived the accident, is identified in this photograph of 7th Battalion officers from the Royal Scots Regimental History. I thought this officer might be Lieut. John A. Young who was from Musselburgh and was injured in the accident [UPDATE 19 Sep 2014: This officer has been confirmed to be Lieut. John Alexander Young].

Lieut. N.C. Riddell

Lieut. John A Young
Postcard #1
Seated in middle

from Royal Scots Regimental History

from Royal Scots Regimental History









In the course of my research I found an excellent article entitled “The 1/7th Royal Scots and the Quintinshill Rail Disaster” (PDF) on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website as well as this excellent resource on the Forrestdale Research website. If you have any information that might help identify the soldiers in the three postcards please let me know.

4 replies

  1. your photo of Lt Riddell or Young, I believe is my great uncle John Alexander Young. He looks very like his sister Jean

    • Hi Toni,

      Thanks very much for your comments. Yes, I’m now sure this Lieutenant is your great uncle John Alexander Young as I have also been contacted by his granddaughter. I plan on updating this page when I’m home from work this evening. I’m also working on a new post that will include an update on the soldiers featured in these postcards and hope to have it online within the next few days. Thanks again for taking the time to leave your comments.


      • I have picked up from various stories about the crash that a Lieut. braved the fire to shoot at their request soldiers trapped. There is another post that says he became a millionaire and was big in the Clyde. I have family hand me down info that his sister married a millionaire who was John’s business partner. I am still to knit it all together but it is proving interesting!

    • Hi Toni
      I’m the granddaughter mentioned below – Susan in Australia. My grandfather John Young’s brother -in-law Walter did do well but may not have been a millionaire. He was a very kind philanthropist who did good works in South Africa that still bear fruit.

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