Private John Montague


Continuing a look at Blantyre’s World War One Soldiers. Researched exclusively by local woman, Elizabeth Grieve and shared here with thanks. Today is the turn of Private John Montague.

John Montague was born in Auchinleck in 1886, the eldest son of Patrick (McTague) or Montague and his wife Rosanna Higgins, who were married in 1885 in Auchinleck. John was the eldest of 7 children that included George born 1889 in Lugar, Bridget Elizabeth born 1893 in Newton, Patrick born 1895 in Airdrie, Rosanna born 1898 in Bothwell, Elizabeth born 1903 and Jean born 1904, both in Blantyre.

Before the outbreak of the first World War, John married in 1911 to Rebecca Mitchell and together they had 2 daughters, Rose Ann born in 1911 and Annie born in 1913.

It appears that the Montague family moved around a fair bit before finally settling in Blantyre as a few of John’s siblings married in the town however several moved away from the area over time, with Bridget and her husband William Mackie moving to Canada, Rosanna and her first husband Peter McGirr also moving to Canada and George moving to Killearn Stirlingshire. At present it is not known where the others later resided.

John joined up to the war effort with the Gordon Highlanders 1st Battalion as a Private under service number 12440. Sometime during march/april 1918, John was sent home from the front having been severely injured in battle with a bullet to the spine, causing paraplegia and was admitted to Ralston Hospital in Paisley, which was formerly known as Ralston House but after its owner died, the war effort requisitioned it as a military hospital for injured servicemen.

John passed away at the hospital from the injuries he sustained in battle on 10th April 1918, however his grave marker in Blantyre cemetery states he died on the 15th. I have contacted the CWGC on this and at present, still await a reply. John’s death certificate states that his brother George, who was living in Hunthill Road at the time, was the informant of his death.

According to excerpts from the War Diary for the Gordon Highlanders, there were two soldiers wounded between the 15/16th March in artillery fire with the enemy. These were the only skirmishes where there were wounded mentioned before the regiment were moved at the beginning of April. I surmise that John was moved back home due to the severe nature of his injuries.

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