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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Information submitted by Liz Thompson, a resident of Richmond. Michael Joseph Kavanagh (Liz’s Great-Uncle) was born in Walsall, Staffordshire on 20 February 1879. He joined the South Staffordshire Regiment, serving in the Boer War in the Cape Colony, the Transvaal and at Wittegbergin. At the outbreak of the First World War he reenlisted into the same regiment as a Private and advanced to the rank of Colour Sergeant. He was Commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in January 1915 and promoted to Lieutenant in September of the same year. He was wounded twice during the Battle of the Somme and was awarded the Military Cross. The citation published in the London Gazette stated “For conspicuous gallantry during operations. Though knocked over and wounded by a shell, he took over command of a machine gun company two days later, and, suffering from shock and considerable pain, stuck to his command and did good work”. He was promoted to Acting Captain on 8 March 1918. On his retirement in November 1919, Michael Joseph Kavanagh was granted the full rank of Captain. In later life Captain Kavanagh moved into local politics, being elected to the position of Mayor of Walsall in 1945. During the Second World War he served as Platoon Commander of No. 21 Platoon of the 27th Staffordshire Home Guard.
Submitted by Mavis Marwood a resident of Richmond for the last 10 years. Private Joseph Snowden Atkinson (204103) was my grandfather. He was born in Gainford and lived in Ravensworth. Like his father his occupation was as a stonemason. He served in France during the war and was one of the lucky soldiers to survive the conflict. One of the images is a handmade Christmas card that he sent from the front line to my mother when she was little girl. On his return to Ravensworth he went on to become a master stonemason.
Jane Metcalfe visited the museum and outlined the story of her father, John Smith. He was born in Dundee, Forfar in 1883. After working as a boilermaker, he joined the Royal Engineers on 1 September 1909 and remained in military service until 31 January 1930. He spent time at Catterick Camp one hundred years ago at the time of the garrison’s founding. During the First World War John served in Egypt, before being transferred to the British Expeditionary Force in France. He became a Lance Corporal, and was promoted to Sergeant in April 1917. His record was ‘Exemplary’, and he was described as ‘Extremely honest, sober and reliable. A good organiser and very good in charge of men.’ 1852361 Sergeant John smith was awarded the 1914 Star, the British War medal, the Victory medal, the General Service medal and the Long Service and Good Conduct medal.