One soldier’s story

We are so grateful to Lynne Gladstone-Millar for sharing the following photographs with us.

Her pictures tell the moving story of her father, Captain William Stewart Gladstone Millar, and his experiences in the First, and Second, World Wars.

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This studio portrait was taken in 1915, when the divinity graduate was undergoing military training at Stirling Castle prior to being sent out to France.

At the Somme in the battle for High Wood 1915 2nd Lieutenant Gladstone-Millar was shot through both legs. Rather than be captured he chose to crawl back to his own lines.

He was operated on in a field hospital before being repatriated.

Here’s Captain Gladstone-Millar is with some friends at the National War Hospital at Bangour, West Lothian.

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After a year’s convalescence he returned to active duty.

Here is his copy of the O.S. map for France section 62C. Its folds are bloodstained, and may well have previously belonged to a soldier who had been killed in action.

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This is 2nd Lt. William T. Radcliffe, known to his friends at Rats.

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Radcliffe and Gladstone-Millar had developed a close friendship in the trenches, a friendship which was tragically cut short.

When 2nd Lieutenant Radcliffe was killed right beside him, Captain Gladstone-Millar had to bury him in a makeshift grave as the battle raged on around him.

In the l950s Captain Gladstone-Millar, M.C. visited this battle site to find the grave. On the first visit he thought he had found the site in the Bois de Courton.

His memories came flooding back of the Gordon Highlanders being ‘chewed up’ by the French 75s (artillery guns) due to the confusion of signals flying back and forth in English and French. He had witnessed Scots soldiers being killed by the French.

On a return visit to France, Captain Gladstone-Millar M.C. discovered that 2nd Lieutenant Radcliffe had been re-buried in the nearby Cemetery at Marfaux. In his journal Captain Gladstone-Millar, M.C. described the scene very poignantly:

“Now there is no sorrow here, only pride.
There is the scent of roses and new mown hay. The sun shines in a clear sky. There is silence for a moment. There is no bird song.”

For the full story and more remarkable pictures, visit our online exhibition on Capital Collections.

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