Private David Sinclair

Private David Sinclair

On 20 November 1914, the Linlithgowshire Gazette reported:

Private David Sinclair, a reservist of the 2nd Battalion Seaforth Highlanders, who was reported two weeks ago to have been shot through the throat when in action in France, arrived home at Armadale on Friday evening.

On arrival at Boulogne on August 21, they entrained that night for the front. On the 22nd, they marched for 15 miles, and rested till dark, when they again set out on the march, and at the end of 12 miles came into action. They were in time to take part in the retreat from Mons, which resulted in a long and trying march. The fighting, marching, and digging themselves in until the tide turned at the Marne is common knowledge.

It was only when they made a bayonet charge that they came in close touch with the enemy, who in every case, fled at the sight of "the ladies from hell", as they were designated. Nearly every town or village they forced the Germans out of they witnessed signs of their cruelty. Women were found with their ears torn and dripping with blood as the result of their gold ear rings being torn from their ears, and their fingers lacerated through their rings being cruelly forced off their fingers.

The hardest fighting the Seaforths experienced was around the Belgian frontier, where shells and bullets were falling over them like rain, and they were being hit everywhere… While lying in a field, a shell burst in front of Private Sinclair, and he felt something go down his back, which proved to be a shrapnel bullet, which he afterwards found lodged in his haversack… At Bailleul he was shot right through the throat, the bullet entering the left side and coming out at the right, behind the windpipe. 

When a battle was raging and men falling all round, he said, one lost all sense of their safety and did their utmost to gain the victory, expecting every moment to be their last. Sometimes his company were cut off and unable to obtain food, and were glad to eat turnips out of the fields and fruit off the trees, and officers and privates knew no difference in rank when it came to asking a bit of bread at any house they came to.

 

Charging Highlanders
London Scottish at bayonet practice, from 'The Great War' (1915).