Historian uncovers fallen soldier’s link to Norfolk village
- Credit: Archant
A Scottish soldier who died 100 years ago is to be remembered by a Norfolk village after a local historian uncovered his connection to the parish.
Private Charles Smith McDonald of the King's Own Scottish Borderers was originally from Aberdeen and died on April 20, 1918, after sustaining serious injuries in the French trenches during a heavy bombardment.
He was buried at Etaples Military Cemetery where his gravestone reads 'Ever remembered by his father and mother and brothers in Scotland'.
Peter Trent, a historian from Ryburgh, discovered that Private McDonald had a connection to Norfolk when he came across an entry in the May 1918 issue of the Ryburgh parish magazine.
The entry, dated April 22, stated that the husband of resident Lily McDonald had died of wounds in France but it did not name him. Mr Trent soon began investigating the identity of the unnamed husband and his research established that Mrs McDonald was the younger daughter of Robert Bailey Doy and Jane Nelson, two family names that have been known for many generations in Ryburgh.
He also discovered that before joining the regiment, Private McDonald had served with the Fife and Forfar Yeomanry. In the spring of 1915, that regiment arrived in Fakenham and this appears to be when the pair met.
In 1916 they were married and the following February their only child, Annie Irene, was born.
- 1 Norfolk man amongst UK's 12 most wanted
- 2 Travelodge looking at nine sites for new hotels across Norfolk
- 3 Father accused of baby daughter's murder gave her squash, court told
- 4 Waffle and milkshake delivery business opens in Dereham
- 5 Father accused of baby girl's murder 'had short fuse and made things up'
- 6 Pub near Dereham has its first winners of steak-eating challenge
- 7 Prince's Trust on the hunt for recruits to join new Dereham team
- 8 Railway launches appeal to restore signal box
- 9 Father accused of baby girl's murder had a 'short temper'
- 10 Man taken to hospital after crash involving car and tractor
The historic research group, Ryburgh Remembers is now trying to trace the couple's relatives to find out more about their lives in Norfolk.
Researcher Steve Bushby said: 'We believe that Lily McDonald's sister Mabel and her husband James English lived in Gressenhall and Toftwood. Unfortunately, we've been unable to discover what happened to Lily and her daughter Annie Irene and would like to hear from anyone who can tell us more.'
After discovering Private McDonald's link to the village, the community plans to hold a service to honour his memory, as part of its ongoing WW1 Centenary commemorations. It will begin at 2pm on Friday April 20 and feature a peal set to be rung at St Andrew's Church.
Anyone with information on his descendants, or who can help Ryburgh Remembers in their efforts to commemorate the fallen, can contact Mr Bushby on 07760 451755.