War and the ancestral homeland

Screen-Shot-2015-05-27-at-16.52.24The ways in which military service could connect and re-connect soldiers with the Scottish homeland – an issue explored in more detail here – was not restricted to ex-servicemen: war effectively promoted contact between the old world and the new. Throughout the diaspora, Scottish clubs and societies sought to promote the establishment of Scottish regiments, and patriotic funds in support of the war effort were set up. The Wairarapa Caledonian Society in the North Island of New Zealand, for instance, discussed a request to collect money at its annual Caledonian sports to establish a fund for the families of the fallen soldiers of the Highland Regiment in South Africa – an initiative pursued in many a location around the world at that time, and also during the First World War.…

A ‘keen and zealous’ officer

Saunders-300x260John Llewellyn Saunders was born in Dunedin in New Zealand’s South Island  on 12 January 1891. His mother,  Jeanie Hutchison, had emigrated from Scotland, while John’s father William had Welsh roots.  John was educated at Otago Boys’ High School, leaving it in 1907 to commence his studies at the University of Otago Dental School. He graduated in 1913, then making his way north to Christchurch, helping to established the first dental department in the local public hospital.

As John’s biographer Brooking notes, the outbreak of the First World War saw John join the Otago Infantry Regiment.

Described as a ‘keen and zealous’ officer, he served with distinction at Gallipoli and on the western front. He rose to the rank of major, was twice wounded, and was made a DSO in

A New Zealand Pacifist with Scottish Roots

baxterArchibald McColl Learmond Baxter was born in the small settlement of Saddle Hill in the province of Otago, New Zealand, in mid-December 1881. His parents were both of Scottish descent, with Baxter’s maternal grandfather a pioneer settler who made it to New Zealand in 1859. Despite this early start in the colony the family never managed to make a particularly good living for themselves, a fact that contributed to Archibald having to leave school when he was only 12 years old, instead pursuing a whole raft of different jobs that included the sheep shearing as well as working as ploughman.

Archibald’s first thought about war and enlisting when the South African War commenced in 1899. It was shortly afterwards, however, that he encountered a lawyer from Dunedin who sought to …

Manitoba’s Young Hero

mcleoad-300x288Alan Arnett McLeoad was born at the end of April 1899 in Stonewall, Manitoba, establishing his heroic credentials at an early age. As is noted in his biography, he was only nine years old when he ‘removed a trap from the foot of a stray dog, but did not seem to understand why others fussed over his exploit’, exhibiting ‘the same courage, kindness, and modesty that he would later display as a pilot with the Royal Flying Corps.’ To this he came via militia training with the 34th (Fort Garry) Horse, which he joined four years after the incident with the dog. So keen was McLeod to support his country in the First World War that a sought to enlist immediately when the war broke out – his age, of …