Today, the 24th of July 2017, one hundred years ago at about 9pm Dr Stevenson of Galashiels lost control of his car as he climbed Ladhope bank, the car mounted the pavement and struck Elizabeth Inglis who was walking to her home at 49 Glendinning Terrace with a young girl. Elizabeth was fatally injured and died at the scene. This must have been an awful blow to her Husband, ex Kings Own Scottish Borderers Piper Walter Inglis, as the couple had lost 3 sons in the previous 3 years – all killed in action. They were one of the many Galashiels families who lost more than one son.
All three are remembered on the Galashiels War Memorial:
Private William Inglis 2nd Battalion Kings Own Scottish Borderers – 18th November 1914
A regular soldier, he arrived in France in late October, part of a group of reinforcements for the 2nd Battalion of the Kings Own Scottish Borderers. He joined them in early November as they moved into the Ypres Salient and took over trenches near the Hooge Chateau on the Menin Road out of Ypres. The first battle of Ypres was drawing to a close and the Allied armies had stopped the Germans “turning their flank” or getting behind them but it had been a desperate fight and the KOSB were taking the trenches over from exhausted troops and replacements were not available so the battalion spent 13 days in the frontline, far longer than would be normal later in the war. They were in contact with the enemy every day, fighting off several attacks that were often accompanied by artillery bombardments. Men were killed and injured every day but the worst day was the 18th of November, when William was killed. The Germans brought up a trench mortar and began shelling the British Line at 8am. The battalion war diary describes how the football sized shell was launched on a high, slow trajectory and could be watched through its flight. When it landed it was terribly destructive, the diary describes how men were blown into pieces and the trench destroyed. 12 other men also died that day and like William none of their bodies were recovered. William left £3 2’ & 4d to his brothers and father and in late 1919 his father was paid a war gratuity. William was awarded 3 medals the 1914 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal, along with a memorial plaque and scroll sent to his father. He is listed on the Menin Gate with 6 others from Galashiels who served in the KOSB.
Private Charles Inglis Royal Marines Light Infantry – HMS Black Prince – 31st May 1916
He had joined the Royal Marines in late 1912 and by 1915 was serving on HMS Black Prince a Duke of Edinburgh class Armoured Cruiser built in 1904. The ship was part of the 1st Cruiser Squadron based at Invergordon and was part of the British Grand Fleet that took part in the Battle of Jutland She was at sea by 10:30pm on the 30th of May and sailed out of the Cromarty Firth to join the rest of the fleet in the North Sea. The plan was that the 1st and 2nd Cruiser Squadrons of four ships each would from a screening force several miles ahead of the main force of Battleships acting as their eyes and ears to detect and warn the Grand fleet when the German warships were sighted. This occurred in the late afternoon of the 31st of May, HMS Black Prince radioed sightings to the Grand Fleet at 5:30 and turned south to avoid the British battle cruisers who had been shadowing the German fleet. She was then lost to sight in the misty conditions that prevailed that day, the only contact, a radio message stating that she had sighted a submarine. It was long thought by the British that she’d been sunk by the submarine but German sources stated that at around midnight she encountered the main German fleet, she tried to escape but caught in the searchlights of SMS Thüringen she was targeted by it and five other German battleships and quickly succumbed to their fire, exploding after midnight with the loss of all hands. Charles is commemorated on the Galashiels War Memorial and the Portsmouth Naval Memorial. 3 other men and a boy from Galashiels died during the Battle of Jutland.
Private George Inglis 2nd Battalion Kings Own Scottish Borderers – 25th September 1916
George had joined up in August 1914 but didn’t end up overseas until 1916 – he served with the 2nd Battalion KOSB throughout his time in the army. The 2nd KOSB fought in the Battle of the Somme, they were not at the front on the first day but the battalion was involved in a number of actions during July, August and September; including attacks near High Wood, and a failed assault on Falfemont Farm. Georges final battle came late in September when the 2nd KOSB were tasked with taking the village of Morval in a joint attack with the French. The battle was a large affair with a rolling artillery barrage which the infantry followed meeting all their objectives within 4 hours and capturing over 700 prisoners a convincing success, but George was one of the 41 killed or missing that day. Like his brothers his body was never recovered and he is listed on the Thiepval memorial to the missing of the Somme along with 39 other men from Galashiels including David Robertson of 130 Lintburn Street who died in the same Morval attack.
Elizabeth Inglis was survived by 2 other sons Walter Inglis jun., and John Purves from an earlier partnership and her husband.
Dr Stevenson lost his son, Sub-Lt F Stevenson, in late 1918 when he was killed by gunfire whilst serving on HMS Perth during a surface action with a U Boat. He is also listed on the Galashiels War memorial and the Chatham Naval Memorial. The girl walking up Ladhope Bank with Mrs Inglis survived the collision