Private, S/22024, John Alexander Churchill Maclachlan (19), Killed in Action

1st Gordon Highlanders, 27th September 1918

Gordon Highlander Cap Badge, similar to the one which would have been worn by John Maclachlan.

The Morayshire Roll of Honour

The following is an extract from the above 1921 publication :- MACLACHLAN, John A.C., No. 22024, Private, Gordon Highlanders, born at Morganton, North Carolina, U.S.A., 3rd September, 1899, residing in Morayshire for nine years; joined at Elgin, October 3rd, 1917; served in France; wounded in back and arm, May 26th, 1918, and killed in action, September 25th. Son of Alexander A. and Margaret Maclachlan. Occupation – Sawmill Assistant.

Further Military and Civilian Research

  • John Maclachlan was initially in the 7th Gordon Highlanders before transferring to the 1st Gordon Highlanders.
  • Enlisted at Nairn.
  • He is buried at Lowrie Cemetery, Havrincourt, France.
  • The recipient on his Pension Record Card is shown as his aunt Mary McRobbie who is also shown as his guardian, her address is given as 17 High Street, Elgin, it can be assumed that she looked after him since he came to Scotland aged about 10 years old.

Family

John Alexander Churchill Maclachlan was born on 3rd September, 1899 at Morganton, North Carolina, U.S.A.. The following family information is taken from the U.S.A. 1900 Census.

His family is shown as follows :-

  • Father – Alexander Robertson Maclachlan, born December 1869 at Scotland – Florist.
  • Mother – Margaret C. Maclachlan, born June 1867 at Scotland – Boarding House Keeper.
  • Sister – Jessie Maclachlan, born 1905, South Orange New Jersey.

In the 1900 Census, it shows that Johns parents went to the United States in 1891 and were married in 1895. In that survey it shows that they had had two children and only John had survived. The Register of Soldiers Effects names his sister Jessie as being the benefactor of his possessions so clearly his parents had at least another child after John.

The Grave of John Alexander Churchill Maclachlan at Lowrie Cemetery, Havrincourt, France. – © Rob Donaldson-Webster. (Family member)

Further information from a family member who has contacted me, states :- The family returned to Scotland in 1910, initially with the intention of settling back with the family, but things didn’t work out (according to family anecdote) and Alexander andnMargaret returned to New Jersey early 1911 – certainly before the 1911 census. The kid’s entry in the Dyke school roll for 1911/12 is annotated “Parents gone back to America”.

John and Jessie lived initially with their maternal grandmother Anne Clark at her farm “The Square”, Kintessack, but sometime pre-WW1 moved to Elgin to live with their aunt (mother’s elder sister) Mary McRobbie and her husband Bill.

John’s last parting from his sister Jessie in early September 1918. John had previously suffered two “Blighty Wounds” and had just changed back to khaki from his blue tunic. By the time he left home for the last time, the end was in sight. His final parting words to Jessie were ( her words) “The buggers winnae get me a third time, see you soon”.

Addresses

  • In the 1900 U.S.A. Census the family address is given as State Hospital for Deaf and Dumb, Burke, North Carolina, U.S.A..
  • Pension Records – Guardian resides at 17 High Street, Elgin. Moray.
  • Following his death, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission have his parents address as 140, Prospect St., Ridgewood, New Jersey, U.S.A.

Medals

John Alexander Churchill Maclachlan was awarded the Victory and the British War Medals for his service in the Great War.

Memorials

John Alexander Churchill Maclachlan is honoured and remembered on the Elgin and Parish War Memorial, Moray, although on the memorial his surname has been spelt McLauchlan.

Conflicting Information

There are several pieces of information which contradicts each other. The Morayshire Roll of Honour states that he died on the 25th September 1918, where in fact the date was the 27th . The same book also states that he enlisted in Elgin, whereas the document, ‘Soldiers Who Died in the Great War’ states he enlisted in Nairn which is more likely to be correct.

Links to Additional Information

References

  •  Morayshire Roll of Honour.
  •  Medal Roll – Gordon Highlanders – British War and Victory Medals.
  •  Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
  • Medal Index Card.
  • U.S.A. Census 1900.
  • Soldiers Died in the Great War.
  • Register of Soldiers Effects.
  • Pension Card
  • Family Information

Contributors:-

  • Vincent Stuart
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