Sapper Samuel Goldie, Airdrie's Youngest Casualty
Samuel Goldie was born on 28 August 1898, the son of Hugh Goldie, a tube worker, and Helen Goldie (maiden surname Campbell). He had at least three brothers (Frank, Hugh and James) and the family lived in Aitchison Street, Airdrie.
By the time of the First World War Samuel Goldie had left school and was employed as a tube worker. At some point he enlisted in the local Territorial Royal Engineers, being assigned the service number 2926. He was posted to serve in the 3/1st Lowland Division Field Company. This was a home service reserve unit, part of the 65th (2nd Lowland) Division, based at Bridge of Allan, Stirlingshire. It is likely that once he was fully trained Samuel would have been transferred to a field company of the Royal Engineers in one of the overseas theatres of war. Samuel was destined never to leave Scotland.
On 4 August 1915, whilst learning to swim as part of his Royal Engineers training, Samuel got out of his depth and drowned at a place called "Ladies' Pool" on the River Allan, near Bridge of Allan.
He was buried at Mars Walk Cemetery, near Stirling Castle.
The Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser article which reported his death erroneously gave his age as eighteen. This may have been a simple mistake or it may have been that Samuel added a year or two to his age when he enlisted so that his comrades thought he was eighteen.
Sapper Samuel Goldie, RE, aged 16 years 11 months, is the youngest person commemorated on Airdrie Civic War Memorial.
On 7 August 1915, The Airdrie and Coatbridge Advertiser reported:
DROWNING TRAGEDY AT BRIDGE OF ALLAN
A sad drowning tragedy occurred at Bridge of Allan on Wednesday by which Private Samuel Goldie, 3/1st Lowland Field Company Royal Engineers, who lived in Aitchison Street, Airdrie, and was 18 years of age, lost his life. A number of soldiers were on bathing parade under charge of Lieutenant Bruce Macaulay, and were at the Ladies Pool in the river Allan learning to swim. Goldie got beyond his depth, and the other men who could not swim cried out to him to try to float. Hearing the shouting Lieutenant Macaulay, who was some distance off, rushed back, jumped into the river in full uniform, but was unable to reach Goldie, and was nearly drowned himself. Goldie's body was recovered later.