ROBERT RAMSAY MACLACHLANwas born 11 Mar 1888 at 9 Nelson Street, Largs, to
parents John, a gardener, and Margaret Ramsay (who
married in Dennistoun, Glasgow on 24 Nov 1882). He died in Christie Street Veteran’s
Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada on 22 Oct 1940 and is buried at Victoria
Lawn Cemetery, St. Catherine’s, Ontario.
In the 1901 Census, Robert is aged 13, and is living
at Fairlie Lodge Gatehouse with parents John (43,
gardener domestic, born Argyll) & Margaret (43, born Glasgow), and siblings Jane S. (15), Peter (10), John (7), Elizabeth (5), Margaret (2) and Duncan (5m). The family are still at Fairlie Lodge Cottage
in the 1911 Census - Robert is aged 23 and a railway clerk - although they
leave the village in 1914, moving first to West Kilbride and then to Largs,
where father John becomes gardener at Brooksby Gardens.
In June 1913, Robert and brother
Peter emigrated to Canada, and were followed after the war by brother Ian. After the death of his father John in June
1920, Peter’s mother and sisters secured a sailing in October 1920 to join the
brothers in Canada. On 6 July 1921,
youngest brother Duncan sailed from Glasgow to Quebec/Montreal to join his
After the war, Robert resided in
St. Catherine's, Ontario with his brother Peter and family and became an
accountant. He was a charter member of
the Certified Public Accountants Association in Ontario, and a member of the
board of governors for several years. He
never married, and suffered ill health all his life - his obituary states that
he died from the effects of the war
SERVICE RECORD Named in the Ardrossan &
Saltcoats Herald Roll of Honour printed Dec 1914
(under Fairlie: MacLachlan, Pte. Robt. B.W. Canadians, late of Fairlie, Royal
Highlanders; and under West Kilbride: McLaughlan, Robert, Thistle House). Enlisted in the Canadian
Overseas Expeditionary Force on 23 Sep 1914 (clerk,
nok father John of Thistle House, Ritchie Street, West Kilbride, and later
Brooksby House, Largs). He embarked to France on 26 Apr 1915, and was
reported missing on 13 May 1915 - he was
taken prisoner at Ypres, having been gassed and shot in the chest. He was officially reported as a prisoner of
war on 13 Jul 1915, and spent the remainder of the war in various camps in
Germany (Meschede 20/8/15; Cellelager 2/4/16; Soltau 5/12/16;
Hamelin 24/2/17), before being interned at Murren,
Switzerland on 10 Sep 1918 until the end of the war. He was repatriated to King George Hospital,
Stamford Street, London on 26 Nov 1918, and moved to Ontario Military Hospital,
Orpington, Kent on 14 Dec 1918. He was
discharged in Canada on 24 Aug 1919.
Extracts from the Largs & Millport Weekly News:-
7 November 1914
Private Robert McLachlan, who is over with the
Canadian force, paid a visit to his native village on Sunday.
6 November 1915 Mr. William Miller, Secretary of the Tobacco and Cigarette Fund has
received acknowledgements for parcels from the following: Pte. T. Blakely, Dardanelles; Lance-Corp. R.
McLachlan, prisoner of war; Ptes. A. McCallum, A. McLean, D. McCallum, D.
Douglas, J. Smith, T. Miller, T. Messenger, France; and D. Thomson, W.
Anderson, A. Stalker, wounded.
17 June 1916 Fairlie Cigarette And Tobacco Fund: Letters of thanks have been received recently
from James Ramsay, Wm. Ramsay, John Currie, John Ward, A. Erskine, James Smith,
Tom McLaughlin, Charles Rodger, Tom Messenger, Hugh Burden, Wm. Balchin, Tom
Miller, Wm. Stewart, John Fraser, Duncan Douglas, Dan McCallum, Allan McCallum,
Alex. McLean, Alfred Davis, Arthur Crawford, and a postcard from Robert
McLachlan, who is a prisoner of war in Germany.
c1902: Father John, Jean, Robert, Peggy,
Lily, mother Margaret & Duncan, Peter, Ian (front)
(middle row, left) at Bute Mountain Battery Training Camp at Barry Camp, near
Dundee around 1912
Postcards sent by Robert MacLachlan while a
Prisoner Of War
sent by Robert (2nd left, marked with cross) to his brother Peter in
(back left) sent this postcard to his cousin Flora in Oban while interned at
from Robert (3rd right) to brother Peter from Soltau Camp. Kriegsgefangenen Sendung means Prisoner Of
card to brother Peter, this time from Hameln
Another postcard to brother Peter from Hameln –
in this picture, the men appear to have swapped uniforms
received this message from the King on his transfer to internment in
he received this letter on his repatriation to London