Newbattle at War a history of the Parish at war   

 Now featuring Scots in the Great War Living History Society.    

Sgt Richard Peacock 8th RS



Local Territorial Killed


Early on the war German snipers were a severe problem, combined with the lack of decent headgear led to an unusually number of head wounds.

Dick Peacock was one such man. 


The second dark shadow in connection with the war has fallen on Newtongrange with the news that one of the local Territorials , Sergeant Peacock , 8th Royal Scots, E Company has been killed in action.Peacock served for about six years on the Royal Scots, and was employed at Newbattle Colliery as a pitworker. He ws shot on 20th November by a German sniper after being three days and three nights in the trenches. The bullet passed through his forehead killing him instantly. Peacock was 23 years of age this month (November 1914)


A letter received by a friend in Dalkeith from Robert Waterson 8th Royal Scots sheds light on the sad death of Sergeant Peacock, the first of the local territorials to meet his death.


He says

“ I thought you would have heard about Dick’s death, he was killed on the 20th November by a German sniper, and was only two trenches away from me. Dick was sniping at a German , but the German caught Dick right in the forehead, and knocked him right out. I never saw him, it would have sickened me. We were in the trenches for three days and three nights, and it was on our third night that he was killed, and we were relieved that night. He was just buried in the back of the trench and Jock Young got some of the stuff he had in his pockets and Kitchen got his watch.


It was funny coming away that night and leaving him there. The Germans never bothered us until the day after Dick was gone, and then they started to shell. I was well under cover but it was very cold, and my feet were frostbitten and are sore yet. The people at home think the Germans cannot shoot, but they can, they call them snipers, and it was one of them that caught poor Dick and Proudfoot”


Captain Todrick in a sympathetic letter too the deceased’s mother says,


“ Your son , who was promoted to Sergeant quite recently, was a model non commissioned officer, and had gained the respect and admiration of the section he commanded. I and the other officers feel we have lost a loyal assistant and a true comrade in your son.”



*Sgt Richard Peacock 4294 8th Battalion Royal Scots, died on 20th November ,1914. He is one of 11,000 men commemorated on the Ploegstreert Memorial as he has no known grave. His name does not appear on the Newtongrange War Memorial.

 He is commemorated on the Lasswade Memorial.


It would appear Robert Waterson survived the war.


Captain Thomas Todrick who wrote the letter to Dick Peacock’s mother was killed himself on 14th December, 1914, he lies in the Bois Grenier Communal Cemetery.