Rogart Heritage

Archaeology & Heritage

William James Reid

On 15 April 1920 Private William James Reid died at Skiag, Rogart. He was 24 years old. 

Known as Willie, he was the son of the late Alexander Reid (a shepherd) and Colina née MacPherson of Skiag, Rogart. Formerly of the Seaforth Highlanders, his regimental number was 352005 and he was in the Labour Corps. 

Willie was nearly buried alive when shell landed in his dugout which killed his comrades, but he survived and returned home. His cause of death was given as diabetes mellitus, of 18 months duration. He is buried in the new Rogart cemetery, marked by a military grave and also commemorated, along with his brother John, on the Rogart war memorial (where he is listed as a Seaforth Highlander). 

Mrs Reid had lost two sons in the space of eighteen months. A newspaper report of Willie’s death reveals bitterness about the young man’s treatment by the authorities:

“He was transferred to agricultural work, but as a matter of fact he ought to have been passed into hospital and treated for the trouble which ultimately brought him to an untimely grave. A grateful country did not see to it that he was granted a pension, and the War Office, as usual, took no further interest in him when he became no use to them.

In early 1920 the local branch of the Comrades of the Great War sought subscriptions for Willie. Sadly, he died before any financial help was forthcoming. The funds raised were subsequently handed to William’s mother, who acknowledged them with a kind letter. A large number of comrades attended his funeral and the wreath was secured by Mrs Ross, the Tweed Mill, Pittentrail.