Thursday, March 19, 2015

Lieutenant Sigurd Harold Macculloch, 2nd Seaforth Highlanders

Sigurd Harold Macculloch was born at Maidenhead, Berkshire on 3rd October 1894.  His birth though, was registered at Eton District, Buckinghamshire in the December quarter of that year.  He was the son of John J and Matilda J Macculloch and appears on the 1901 census as a six year old boarder living with his mother and younger sister Marguerite at Maurie Gardens, Eastbourne.  Matilda (aged 34 and recorded as a British subject born in New York, US) is noted as living on her own means while Marguerite (aged four), is recorded as having been born in Weybridge, Surrey.  There is no mention of John Macculloch at the Eastbourne address.  

Harold (he appears to have used his second name rather than Sigurd), was educated at Eton between 1909 and 1913 and was a member of the Eton VIII at Henley in 1913.  In October 1913 he went to Trinity College, Oxford, taking part in the Trial VIIIs in 1913 and the College VIII in 1914.  Whilst at Eton, his father was living at South Courtfield Gardens, South Kensington, London but by 1915 he had moved to The Red House, Chailey.  I presume he must have moved from this address later in the war as the Green family were certainly living there by the end of the war. 

On 13th August 1914, Harold applied for a commission in the special reserve of officers, stating that The Cameron Highlanders was his first choice of regiment and giving his permanent address as 7 Bankston Gardens, SW and his correspondence address as a Pall Mall safe deposit box on Regent Street.  He stated that he had previously been a member of Eton OTC (as colour sergeant) and Oxford OTC (as a cadet).  During his time with Oxford OTC he had been attached to The Cameron Highlanders since 20th July 1915 and now wished to make the association more permanent.  He was unfortunate.  On 15th August 1914 he was posted to The 4th Highland Light Infantry. 

On 14th December 1914, Harold Macculloch applied on an Oxford University nomination form for a commission in the regular army stating his preferred regiments as Cameron Highlanders, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders and Seaforth Highlanders (in that order).  Again, he was unlucky.  On 10th January 1915 he was appointed to a regular commission as 2nd Lieutenant in The Seaforth Highlanders. 

At some stage shortly thereafter, he was posted to the 2nd Battalion and embarked for France.  He was promoted to Lieutenant on 1st October 1915 and Mentioned in Dispatches on 1st January 1916.  By then though, he had already been dead for nearly a fortnight.

On 20th December 1915, John J Macculloch, at home in Chailey, received a telegram which stated that his son had died of wounds the same day. He had died at the 11th Field Ambulance station at Mailly-Maillet as a result of a gunshot wound to his pelvis.  Four days later, Cox and Co, Shipping Agents, received notice from British Army GHQ, 3rd Echelon to ship his personal effects back to England.  These were: a lanyard, whistle, wrist watch, pipe in case, tin pipe preservative, metal disc and chain, nail trimmer, comb and case, correspondence, identity disc, tinder lighter, box of matches and case, “Onoto” diary, cigarette holder in case, canvas belt, 2 handkerchiefs, cigarette case, photographs and visiting cards.   

On Tuesday 28th December, The Times published Harold's name in its roll of honour, stating that he had died of wounds and in March 1916, The Report of the Standing Committee of Adjustment (Affairs of Deceased Officers) arranged for the outstanding sum of £8-13-11 to be sent back home to his parents. 

In January 1920, Mrs Macculloch, by now living at 8 Courtfield Gardens, London SW5, met with military authorities to confirm certain particulars about her late son.  In a letter to her dated 13th February 1920, the authorities confirmed the key dates and events of his service record but concluded by stating: “I am to add it is regretted that there is no record of your son having been awarded the Military Cross.” 

Sigurd's name does not appear on the war memorial on Chailey village green, although S MACCULLOCH does appear on the memorial panel inside the church.  The Royal British Legion Roll of Honour, also inside the church, has the letter S crossed out and HAROLD written in its place. 

Lieutenant Macculloch is buried in Mailly-Maillet Communal Cemetery Extension on the Somme.  The words on his headstone read, “OUR BELOVED HAROLD”.  Officers Died In The Great War incorrectly records his name as Maccullock but correctly states that he died of wounds.  Chailey Parish Magazine has no details of his military service but first mentions him on its Roll of Honour in February 1916 as “Second Lieutenant”.  Oxford University Roll of Service (1920) states that he died of wounds “received at Albert”. 

The 4th Highland Light Infantry was an extra reserve battalion stationed at Hamilton when war was declared.  It moved to Plymouth in August 1914 where it remained until May 1915. 

The 2nd Seaforth Highlanders formed part of the 10th Brigade in the 4th Division and arrived in France around 22nd August 1914.  It remained with the same brigade and division throughout the war.

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