Robert Ramsay MacLACHLAN

Regiment:               Royal Highlanders of Canada  

Rank & Number:     
Corporal, 24960  

11 Mar 1888; Nelson Street, Largs  

                        22 October 1940; Toronto, Ontario, Canada  

Brother of Duncan, Ian & Lily McLachlan

ROBERT RAMSAY MACLACHLAN was 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 family.   

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    

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.

McLachlan Family c1902:  Father John, Jean,
Robert, Peggy, Lily, mother Margaret & Duncan,
Peter, Ian (front)
   Robert MacLachlan (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

  Postcard sent by Robert (2nd left, marked with cross) to his brother Peter in Canada

   Robert (back left) sent this postcard to his cousin Flora in Oban while interned at Celle Camp

  Postcard from Robert (3rd right) to brother Peter from Soltau Camp. Kriegsgefangenen Sendung    
  means Prisoner Of War Mail

                                   Another 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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Robert received this message from the King on
        his transfer to internment in Switzerland

And he received this letter on his repatriation to

Images courtesy Betty Turner

Back to list of soldiers names


Fairlie Community Association SCIO
Scottish Charity No. SC028785