Ewen George Sinclair-Maclagan was born on the 24th December 1868 in Edinburgh. He was educated at the United Services College, Westward Ho! North Devon and commissioned as 2nd Lieutenant in the Border Regiment in 1898.
He served in India, including the expedition to Waziristan in 1894-5, and was promoted Captain in 1898. He saw action in the 2nd Boer War (1899-1902) as an Adjutant in the 1st Battalion Border Regiment. He was severely wounded at Spion Kop, mentioned in dispatches and received the Distinguished Service Order. In 1901 he was posted to Australia when their Army was being organised, being appointed Adjutant to the New South Wales Scottish Rifles.
On the 29th January 1902 he married Edith Kathleen, daughter of Major General Sir George French, at St’ Andrew’s Anglican Cathedral in Sydney. They would have one daughter. In 1904 Maclagan resumed regimental duty in Britain. Promoted Major in 1908 he then transferred to the Yorkshire Regiment.
In 1910 Major General Sir William Bridges, who had known Maclagan in Australia, was recruiting for staff for the Royal Military College in Duntroon, Canberra. He made Maclagan director of drill with the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. When Bridges raised the 1st Division Australian Imperial Force (AIF) he chose Maclagan to command the 3rd Infantry Brigade.
On the 25th April 1915 landed at Gallipoli. A ridge leading from Anzac Cove is named after him. He would stay on the peninsula until evacuated sick in August 1915. He did not return to his Brigade in Egypt until January 1916.
In France Maclagan saw action during the 1916 Somme offensive at Poziers and Mouquet Farm. He relinquished command of the 3rd Brigade in December, and from January to July 1917 commanded the AIF depots in Britain. He was then back in France commanding the 4th Australian Division and remained with the AIF till the end of the war.
1917 would see his appointments as C.B. and C.M.G. He was mentioned in dispatches 5 times, awarded the Serbian Order of the White Eagle, French Croix de Guerre and the American Distinguished Service Medal. After the war he became Colonel of the Border Regiment in August 1923, and retired on the 25th April 1925. He was made honorary Colonel of the 34th Battalion, Australian Military Forces 1933-38.
On retirement he lived at Glenquiech, near Forfar, in Scotland. His wife predeceased him 1928. Maclagan died at his daughter’s home in Dundee on the 24th November 1948.
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Submitted by Jennifer Bullen daughter in law of Lieutenant Bullen. Tempest Carey Bullen was born on the 28th of May 1898 in North Shields. He is listed in the 1901 census along with his father Tempest Carey, his mother Edith, brothers William and Harry and sisters Edith Anna and Kathleen. His father’s occupation is listed as “ship broker”. The family were living in the Percy ward of Tynemouth and must have been comfortably off because they had a servant called Ada George and a nursery maid called Elizabeth Knox. By 1911 the family had moved to Woodbine Avenue in Gosforth. In the census Tempest’s mother Edith is listed as head of the family so it is likely that Tempest senior was deceased. His elder brother (aged 15) is now an apprentice Fitter. They have a boarder, Hugh Robson (an apprentice Ironmonger) and a servant called Mary Jane Malpas. Jennifer recounts that Tempest was under age when he first tried to enlist and was promptly sent home! He persisted and subsequently joined up and went on to be awarded the Military Cross in 1918 aged about 20. He survived the war and his death is recorded in 1976 in South Shields.
Richard Oliver was 22 years old when he enlisted at Cramlington in September 1914. He was from Esh Winning, Crook, Co. Durham and was a miner. He enlisted in the Northumberland Fusiliers but was posted to the Yorkshire Regiment. He served in the 9th and 10th Battalions and whilst with the 10th Battalion in 1915 he was awarded the Military Medal. He served in France and Italy and became disabled due to the effects of gassing. He was discharged in March 1920 and was initially given a pension of 8 shillings a week, but this was subsequently withdrawn and his appeal rejected. He left the army as a Corporal, he served in France from 1915 to 1917 and on the Italian Front from November 1917 until December 1918.
Bert Brocklesby, a school teacher from Doncaster, applied for exemption from military service early in 1916 on religious grounds. Bert went before his local and appeal Tribunals in February and April 1916, and was given exemption from Combatant Service Only by both. To Bert, this was an unacceptable decision – joining the Army, even in a Non-Combatant role meant going against his deeply held conscientious belief that war in all forms was a crime. He was arrested as an absentee after refusing to obey the order to report to his nearby barracks to be enlisted into the Non Combatant Corps. Bert refused to compromise his principles in any way, and did not even take the step of signing his Army papers – denying the military authorities even this rudimentary control over his life. For making this stand, and for disobeying other orders, Bert was Court Martialled and would soon become one of a group of Absolutists (known as the ‘Richmond 16’) sent to France from Richmond Castle, Yorkshire, as military prisoners. It seems that Bert managed to drop a cleverly edited field service postcard out of the train while being transferred to France for further punishment. This postcard alerted Bert’s local MP (who sympathised with the principles behind Bert’s objection to military service) that men were being transferred to the combat zone, where, considered to be on active service, they could be sentenced to death for disobeying orders. Bert would find this out on arrival at Henriville Camp, Northern France….