Newbattle at War a history of the Parish at war   

 Now featuring Scots in the Great War Living History Society.    

Sapper William Duncan


Excuse the strange title on the picture but the gent seated on the left is my Great Uncle,Sapper William Duncan, 183 Tunnelling Company , Royal Engineers, the man on the right  is my Great Uncle James Duncan who is wearing the uniform of the 9th Battalion Royal Scots, (Dandy 9th) Both these men were mystery men until recently, James still is to a large degree. I know that William served in this company throughout the war where his undoubted expertise as a coal miner was put  to use as a tunneller. I think I would maybe have preferred to take my chances above ground! He dug  tunnels at the Somme and at Messine Ridge, evidence of his handywork and that of his comardes can still be seen in France today.He married Georgina Horsburgh of Balgreen Road, Edinburgh in 1917  and after the war emigrated to New South Wales, Australia. He seems to have lost touch with the family to a degree. He died in 1952 in Australia and had no children, I do not know what happened to Georgina.