2nd Dragoons (Royal Scots Greys), 28th December 1917
Synopsis of Life and Military Service
Thomas Gillan was born at Tomintoul, Banffshire on 10 May 1891 to Thomas a Tailor and Sarah Gillan a Laundress, he had two step-sisters, one step-brother, and two sisters.
Life was clearly pretty tough for the family as there were ten applications for poor relief between 1905 until 1915, 4 of which were in 1906.
It is unknown when Thomas joined the army as his service records were destroyed. However he was to join the 2nd Dragoons (Royal Scots Greys) before the start of the Great War and his unit was one of the first to leave for France.
He left with his regiment for France / Flanders arriving there on 17th August 1914 and was under fire in 1914 as indicated by the clasp attached to his 1914 Star. It is difficult to specify where he served due to the destruction of his Service Records, however the War Diary of the Royal Scots Greys survives and can be viewed on line at The National Archive. It states that Thomas Gillan was wounded on the 28th November 1917 in the vicinity of Graincourt and Flesquieres, south-west of Cambrai, France along with a number of his colleagues (see attached Photo), enemy sniping and constant artillery shelling was reported, so it is likely that he was wounded as a result of this. He was evacuated and was transferred to Southampton War Hospital, Hampshire where he succumbed to his injuries around a month later.
His remains were repatriated to Tomintoul and he was buried at St. Michaels Roman Catholic Churchyard, Tomintoul, Banffshire.
Diary for the Royal Scots Greys 27th and 28th November 1917
27th November 1917
Battalion paraded at 7.30 a.m. and marched to Canal Bank two miles west of GRAINCOURT where it remained all day until 6.15 p.m. when it paraded and marched to BOURLON WOOD where it relieved the 2/4 and 2/5 Battalions Duke of Wellington’s Regiment in the front line at the North East corner of the wood. 12th Royal Lancers and 20th Hussars Companies in the front line. Royal Scots Grey Company in support. Relief completed by 1.30 a.m.. Captain SILVERTOP killed and 2 officers wounded in 20th Hussars Company.
28th November 1917
(note – the day Thomas Gillan was wounded)
A lot of sniping in front held by 12th Lancers, Lieutenants BROWN and HAMMOND killed and Lieutenants MACILWAINE and MacDEAN wounded. Lieutenant DUDGEON, Royal Scots Greys sent to 12th Lancers. In afternoon enemy put down heavy barrage on our line. Captain Richardson, M.C. and a lot of men of 12th Lancers wounded. Platoon of Scots Greys under Lieutenant KNOWLES sent to support them. The enemy maintained a heavy shell fire in centre of wood all afternoon and evening. About 8 p.m. the relieving infantry arrived 18th LONDONS and by mid-night the relief was complete. The Companies marched back independently to FLESQUIERES.
Thomas Gillan was born at Tomintoul, Banffshire on 10 May 1891.
His family is shown as follows :-
- Father – Thomas F.H. Gillan, born 15 May 1861 at Keith, Banffshire. (Tailor)
- Mother – Sarah Stuart Smith or Gillan, born c.1860 at Tomintoul, Banffshire. (Laundress – not domestic)
- Step-Brother – William Smith, born c.1884 at Tomintoul, Banffshire.
- Step-Sister – Elise J. Smith, born c.1885 at Tomintoul, Banffshire.
- Step-Sister – Helen, born c.1888 at Tomintoul, Banffshire.
- Sister – Sarah Gillan, born c.1894 at Kirkmichael, Banffshire.
- Sister – Julia Gillan, born c.1897 at Kirkmichael, Banffshire.
From information found in the 1891, 1901 Census, Pension Card and Commonwealth War Graves Commission site the following addresses have been ascertained.
- 1891 – Recorded as residing at the family home at 8 The Square, Tomintoul.
- 1901 – Recorded as residing with his family at 34 Smithy Lane, Tomintoul.
- On his Pension Card, the family address was shown as Cameron Cottage, Tomintoul.
- Commonwealth War Grave – 32 Main Street, Tomintoul.
Thomas Gillan is honoured and remembered on the following war memorials :-
- Our Lady and St.Michael’s Church War Memorial, Tomintoul which is within the church.
- Kirkmichael Parish War Memorial, Tomintoul which is outside Richmond Hall.
Links to Additional Information
- Commonwealth War Graves Commission – Thomas Gillan
- Lives of the First World War – Thomas Gillan
- A Street Near You website – Thomas Gillan
- Find a Grave – Grave of Thomas Gillan
- Imperial War Museum – Our Lady and St.Michael’s Church War Memorial, Tomintoul
- Imperial War Museum – Kirkmichael Parsih War Memorial, Tomintoul, Banffshire
- Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
- Medal Index Card.
- Register of Soldiers Effects.
- The National Archive – 2nd Dragoons War Diary.
- Pension Card.
- 1891 Census.
- 1901 Census.
- Scotland Select Births and Baptisms 1564-1950.
- Medal Roll – 2nd Dragoons – 1914 Star.
- Medal Roll – 2nd Dragoons – British War Medal and Victory Medal.
- Soldiers Died in the Great War.
- Vincent Stuart