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Remembrance Sunday: Private Pirie, the story of a Keith man killed in World War One


By Jonathan Clark

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WITH Remembrance Sunday just past, a reader has sent in an article which will help us remember those who sacrificed everything.

Charlie Pirie, the great uncle of reader Caroline Donaldson, died in France on February 8, 1917.

Born in Lhanbryde and brought up in Keith, Mr Pirie enlisted in the army before the war.

He fought and survived the Battle of Ypres and the Battle of the Somme but sadly died due to an accidental shooting.

Charlie Pirie from Keith died in 1917. Picture: Caroline Dawson
Charlie Pirie from Keith died in 1917. Picture: Caroline Dawson

The article, printed in 1917, reads: "The death from wounds received in France is officially announced of Private Charles Pirie, Gordon Highlanders, grandson or Mr and Mrs Donald Ross, 5 Station Road, Fife Keith.

"No particulars as to the manner in which the wounds were got have been received by the relatives of the deceased soldier.

"Private Charles Pirie, who was in his 24th year of age, was a regular in the 2nd Gordons when war with Germany broke out.

"Called from Egypt, Pirie with his regiment arrived in Belgium at the beginning of Sept. 1914 and took part in the famous Battle of Ypres.

"One Sunday night the 2nd Gordons made four bayonet charges against the enemy. It was in a bayonet charge on the morning of Sept. 30, 1914, that Pirie was badly wounded in the leg by a thrust of an enemy bayonet.

"While being carried to the rear, one of Pirie's stretcher-bearers was killed by a German shrapnel shell, a second was wounded, and Pirie himself slightly hit on the head.

"Pirie was a considerable time in this country after sustaining his honourable scar, but returned to the front fourteen months ago and took part in the great British offensive which commenced last July.

"He was recommended for the D.C.M. in the course of this offensive.

"Two brothers of (the) deceased are on active service in France, and it is an interesting face worthy of honourable mention that Mr Donald Ross, grandfather of the deceased soldier, still has fifteen grandsons on active service in this war. Surely a record for these parts!

"The deep sympathy of all friends will be extended to the relatives of Pte. Pirie in their bereavement, which is all the more keenly felt after the young soldier's long spell with the colours."



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