Newbattle at War a history of the Parish at war   

 Now featuring Scots in the Great War Living History Society.    

Cpl Robert Beveridge MM ,Royal Scots posted missing 1917

Early Days in Newtongrange 
Robert Beveridge was born in the tiny hamlet of Masterton , Newbattle , just outside Newtongrange,Midlothian in 1893 at that time it was 4 houses up the track off the Crawlees Road. His father and Grandfather working at the just opened Lady Victoria Pit, which is now the Scottish Mining Museum.

The son of William  and Elizabeth they would leave the Lothian Coal Company and move west to Broxburn where William and subsequently Robert would work for 'Paraffin Young' in Uphall Station. Elizabeth died in 1906 and William in 1914 both from TB. Robert then moved into hostel lodgings for single men, his sister Agnes worked in service,his brother Charles moved to 47 Duke Street, Rosewell to live with his mother's sister.

The picture shows him as Pte Robert Beveridge but was taken very early in the war as he is wearing an Imperial Service Badge.

Off to War

In 1914 Robert was a member of the 10th Royal Scots, a Territorial Force unit. The 10th (Linlithgowshire) battalion were assigned  coastal defence around North Berwick to Berwick In 1916 he transferred to the 12th (Service) Batallion of the Royal Scots and being posted to France in July of the same year, following the heavy casualties  the 12th Battalion suffered on the Somme.

Copyright Inspired Productions & Jamcat Pictures
David Murphy, the now retired archivist of the Royal Scots Museum
being interviewed by Robin Thompson at Edinburgh Castle.

On 12th April,1917 (the Thursday  after Easter Sunday), Robert took part in an ill fated attack on Greenland hill near Rouex, the weather was appaling,with frequent rain and snow showers, the attack was badly conceived and poorly prepared. The Royal Scots advanced in full view of the German machine gunners and artillery men, they suffered dreadful losses and after the attack under 100 men answered at roll call. The rest being dead, wounded, ill or missing, they were literally decimated.The 12th were slaughtered in an ill thought out and appallingly mishandled attack, the sad thing is the South African suffered even worse.

On 5th June,1917 Robert, who by now was promoted to L/Cpl, was involved in an attack on an area known as the Chemical Works ,Rouex during this action he showed great courage and leadership and as a result was awarded the Military Medal for his part in this action.

This was followed very shortly afterwards by a promotion to full Corporal.


On the 20th September, 1917 the 12th were detailed to attack a series of machine gun posts at a place called Frezenburg, here is a summary of the action that day. 

" HE and smoke shells would replace shrapnel in the creeping barrage and the attackers would divide into section columns with envelopng individual blockhouses, while others pressed on. C Company on the right , was to clear the line of blockhouses from R1 to R5, the task of seizing A1 and Potsdam fell to A Company (Harry Reynolds).

3am on the 20th (Sept) the two companies were formed up ready to move off at 05:40. Steady rain had fallen overnight, Lt Col J A S Ritson, the CO of the 12th said the ground was 'frightfully cut up, very wet and the going very bad'

The attack suffered badly in front of R1 meeting fierce resistance , C Coy was sprayed with heavy
MG fire as they struggled forward south of the railway. At this point they were reinforced by two platoons of D Coy. At this C Coy charged forward and took the pillbox. Resistance at R2 was overcome followed by the capture of R5. R3 was completely overwhelmed by shells and R4 was under water." C Coy was by this time effectively 'spent' but their objectives taken,

Robert Beveridge was killed sometime during this action.


The Victoria Cross

The Coy Commander of A Coy , Harry Reynolds , was awarded the Victoria Cross for his part in this action. He single handedly attacked a machine post and eliminated it with hand grenades under exceptionally heavy fire.

Roberts body could not be recovered at the time and was subsequently lost forever in the turmoil of war.He is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial along with another 34,682 men.

Next Page