John Davidson SMITH

Regiment:                King’s Own Scottish Borderers, 2nd Btn,
                                formerly Scottish Rifles, 10th Btn  

Rank & Number:     
Private, 41241 (KOSB); 35071 (SR)  

30 November 1889; Dundonald  

                        26 October 1917; Ypres, Belgium  

                      Commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial
                                Brother-in-law of Thomas Messenger

JOHN DAVIDSON SMITH was born 30 Nov 1889 in Dundonald, son of Charles, a baker, and Elizabeth Davidson (who married at The Maidens, Kirkoswald on 24 May 1881).  Initially reported missing in action on 26 Oct 1917 at Ypres, Belgium, he was later reported killed on that date on 24 Aug 1918.  He is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial, Belgium  

On 29 Oct 1915 at the Episcopal Church, Largs, John (aged 25, confectioner, of 62 Drumlanrigg Street, Thornhill) married Mary (Maisie) Messenger of Larbert Cottage, Fairlie, daughter of Robert Messenger, gardener at Fairlieburne.    

On 12 Jan 1918 the Largs and Millport Weekly News included a report from a fellow soldier who said he’d seen Pte. Smith get hit in an attack on October 16th at Ypres with a serious wound to the throat, which he’d assumed was fatal.   The Red Cross were trying to obtain further news, but feared this report could be correct.   It was also noted that Private Smith been transferred to the K.O.S.B. only a week before his death.  He received the British War and Victory medals.

Extracts from the Largs & Millport Weekly News:-  

12 January 1918        

The Toll Of War; Reported Killed:  Mrs Smith, daughter of Mr. Messenger, gardener, Fairlieburne, has received the following information through the British Red Cross and order of St. John, of her husband, Pte. John D. Smith, K.O.S.B., who was reported missing since 26th October, 1917.  The particulars have been given by Pte. J. Dalrymple of the same regiment, who is now in hospital in France.  He says:-       
  “I saw Pte. Smith get hit in an attack on October 16th, at Ypres.  We went over about midday and got close to the objective.  I was in a shell-hole up to my waist in mud, when Smith crawled by and asked could I get out.  I said, “Yes”.  He went on, and I struggled out – immediately I saw him fall.  He was only 5 yards away.  As I passed I saw he was seriously wounded in the throat.  He was crouched forward on his knees.  I spoke to him, he did not answer, and seemed unconscious.  I thought from what I saw the wound was fatal.  I was wounded immediately after, and did not see him again.  We were transferred together into the K.O.S.B., only a week before his death.   
The Red Cross state that they are trying to obtain further news about Pte. Smith, and while they do not accept the information as final evidence of death, they greatly fear that as no further news has been received, this report may be correct.  Much sympathy is felt for Mrs Smith by her many friends in her great anxiety.  

24 August 1918
Deaths, On Service: Smith:  Missing since 26th October, 1917, now reported killed on that date, Private John Smith, K.O.S.B. (late Scottish Rifles), dearly beloved husband of Maisie Messenger, and second son of Charles Smith, Thornhill.    Death is strong, but love is stronger,    And though, maybe, our bodies are apart,    Together still in spirits and heart.    - 30 North Drumlanrig Street, Thornhill.


                                                             Tyne Cot Memorial, Belgium

Images © TWGPP


Fairlie Community Association SCIO
Scottish Charity No. SC028785