Robert Darling enlisted into the Northern Cyclist's Battalion 2 weeks after the commencement of World War One.
The Northern Cyclists Battalion were a Territorial Force unit which was mobilised at the commencement of World War One. The unit was tasked with providing mobile defence of the Northumbrian Coast, and despite the battalion volunteering for overseas service, it remained in the UK throughout the war. The unit became a draft finding unit providing officers and men for service overseas.
It is believed that Robert Darling was transferred to the Northumberland Fusiliers as part of one of those drafts and was posted to the 20th Battalion NF (1st Tyneside Scottish).
On the 1st day of the Somme, 1st July 1916, the 20th Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers (1st Tyneside Scottish)had sustained 631 casualties. Following these losses, the Tyneside Scottish Brigade was transferred to the 37th Division in to a quieter sector at Armentiers to re-constitute. During August 1916 the 20th Battalion NF received drafts to replace casualties, including a draft from the 1st Northern Cyclist Battalion.
It is thought that Robert Darling was part of this draft. His obituary states he arrived in France 10 months prior to his death in April 1917. This would indicate June 1916, where he may have been in an Infantry Base Depot until drafted to the front.
Robert Darling's movements in France
10th Aug 1916
Draft of 1st Northern Cyclist Battalion joins 20 NF - it is believed Robert Darling is in this draft. Initially Initially billeted at VILLERS-AU-BOIS
September 1917 to February 1917
In the trenches in ARMENTIERES sector.
Constant small attacks on the enemy. 22 minor operations within the 34th Division - 13 successful / 9 failed
26th Jan 1917
Relieved by 3rd Australian Division
March to ARRAS
ARRAS in the centre of that sector in the MALETERIE area.
Received information Enemy had withdrawn - German retreat to the Hindenburg Line
February / March April 1917
Trenches in the ARRAS sector
9th April 1917 to 20th April 1917
Attack on SOUTH BACK of RIVER SCARPE
19th April 1917
Fatally Fatally wounded
27th April 1917
Died of wounds
30th May 1917
Awarded 34th Division Card of Honour
Corporal Robert Darling
20th Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers
Died of wounds 27th April 1917
Robert Darling is buried in ROUEX BRITISH CEMETERY near Arras.
The Berwick Journal, May 24th 1917
‘Killed in action, 29th April, 1917, Corpl. Robt, Darling, Tyneside Scottish, dearly beloved husband of Mrs Robt. Darling, Ord Moor, aged 25. Sleep on, dear husband, in a far off grave, A grave we’ll never see But as long as life and memory lasts, We will remember thee’.
The place of premier honour goes to the gallant lad, Corpl. Robt. Darling, late of Tynside Scottish, who, without waiting till compulsion came along, at once responded to the call for Volunteers, just a fortnight after war was declared and was, on leaving Scremerston Colliery, mobilised for training on North East Coast with Northern Cyclists Battalion. He eventually volunteered for France and became attached to Tyneside Scottish. He had been out in France 10 months prior to receiving a fatal wound on 19th April last. We extend our sympathy to his sorrowing mother and his wife, who was formerly Miss Dryden of Ord Moor, who is resident with her father, Mr Joseph Dryden of the same place.
Letter from his Platoon Commander 2/Lt Milum Gibson MC
He died a glorious death – the death of a brave soldier in battle…and what is more he did not die unrecognised for his gallantry in action. He has been awarded a card of honour by our General for his bravery during the Battle of Arras.’
Memorials to the fallen of the Northern Cyclist Battalion (NCB) can be found in Saint Barnabas' Church, Jesmond, Newcastle upon Tyne
North East War Memorials Project
Scremeston War Memorial
North East War Memorials Project
St Peter's Church Scremeston
A framed series of photographs containing 14 soldiers who lost their lives in the Great War.
North East War Memorials Project
Soldiers Who Died in Great War
The official record of Soldiers lost in the Great War contains details of individual soldiers.
Soldiers Who Died in the Great War, Part 10, Northumberland Fusiliers [20th Battalion NF page 78]
Darling, Robert, e Berwick upon Tweed, 27283, Cpl., k. in a., F & F, 28/4/18.
The date of death appears to be incorrect. He is recorded as dying 27th April 1917 by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, supported by the date of his obituary The Berwick Journal – May 24th 1917
Sunday, 13 June 2010
Wednesday, 5 May 2010
Corporal Robert Morris - Gateshead East Cemetery
Corporal Robert Morris (4452420) is contained in the address list of the 1st Battalion Tyneside Scottish book "Harder than Hammers".
He is recorded as living at 100, Snowball Terrace, Gateshead.
Evening Chronicle 1st February 1947
Robert Morris (Aged 47) beloved husband of Sarah Ann (Proctor) internment Monday 3rd February 1947
John Frederick McKay won the Victoria Cross whilst serving as a Corporal with the Gordon Highlanders in South Africa, May 1900. Commissioned into the Argyll and Southern Highlanders in 1903, he served with a variety of Regiments prior to service with the Tyneside Scottish.
He served with the 21st (Service) Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers (2nd Battalion Tyneside Scottish) from August 1915 to August 1916.
Lieutenant-Colonel John Frederick McKay VC
(6 June 1873 - 9 January 1930)
MACKAY, JOHN FREDERICK, University student, joined the 1st Gordon Highlanders. He served with the 1st Battalion Gordon Highlanders in the campaign on the North-West Frontier, India, and with the Tirah Expeditionary Force 1897—98, taking part in all the principal engagements, including Dargai, Tirah Maidan, Warran Valley, Bara River, and operations in Dwatoi country. For these services he received the Tirah Medal and the Punjab Frontier Medal with two clasps.
Service in South Africa
He served with the 1st Battalion Gordon Highlanders, and afterwards with the King's Own Scottish Borderers in the South African War of 1899-1901. He was present in the advance on Kimberley, 1899, including the action at Magersfontein; the operations in the Orange Free State, including the actions at Paardeberg and Zand River; the operations in the Transvaal, including the actions of Johannesburg, Pretoria and Belfast, 1900; the operations in the east of the Transvaal in 1901. For these services he received the Queen's Medal with five clasps, the King's Medal with two clasps, was twice mentioned in Despatches, and was awarded the Victoria Cross in connection with the action at Doornkop, near Johannesburg, South Africa, 28 May, 1900.
His Victoria Cross was gazetted 10 August 1900: "John Frederick MacKay, Gordon Highlanders.
Battle of Doornkop
His name was again submitted for the Victoria Cross in connection with an act of gallantry in the action at Wolverkrantz, near Krugersdorp, on 11 July, 1900.
Pre First World War Service
Mackay was commissioned into the King's Own Scottish Borderers before 1903, when he was promoted to Acting Lieutenant while serving with the West African Frontier Force (WAFF). This rank was confirmed in 1905. He transferred to the Hampshire Regiment as a Captain in 1907 and to the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders in 1908, still attached to the WAFF. He served with the Argylls for the rest of his career, although attached to other regiments.
Captain MacKay was seconded for service May, 1903, with the Southern Nigeria Regiment.
He accompanied the expeditions to the Ime River, Cross River and Ibibio Country, 1904 and 1905. He accompanied the Bende Hinterland Expedition in 1905 and 1906. He also served with the Northern Nigeria Regiment in 1907, in command of the Ogumi Patrol. He received the West African General Service Medal with four clasps, and was twice mentioned in Despatches. He was transferred on promotion in 1907 from the King's Own Scottish Borderers to the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. From November 1908 to 1912 he served as adjutant of the 7th (Volunteer) Battalion, Royal Scots.
First World War
In November 1914 he became adjutant of the Indian Volunteers, but later moved to the 21st Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers (2nd Tyneside Scottish).
In 1916, he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, taking command of the 2/6th Battalion Highland Light Infantry, which appointment he held until the battalion was disbanded. Lieutenant Colonel MacKay was, in August 1919, serving with his regiment, the 1st Battalion Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.
Post First World War
Lieutenant Colonel retired in 1921.
Tyneside Scottish Graham Stuart / John Sheen
McKay John Frederick VC From A & SH as 2nd CO [Second in Command] 2ND TS 21st August 1915
To HLI 28TH August 1916
At the time Major McKay joined the Tyneside Scottish on 21st August 1915, they were based at Windmill Hill, under canvas on Salisbury Plain. They moved to a hutted camp at Longbridge Deverill, near Warminster, 26th September 1915.
The Story of the Tyneside Scottish Brigadier General Trevor Ternan
“It was unfortunate that about this time we were to lose the services of two very valuable officers. One of these was Major J.F. McKay, V.C. , the second in command of the 2nd Battalion, who met with a serious accident which laid him up for some considerable time, and prevented his accompanying his Battalion to France”
Medal entitlement of Lt Col JF MACKAY
• Victoria Cross
• India Medal ( 1895-1902 )
o "Punjab Frontier 1897-98" - "Tirah 1897-98"
• Queen's South Africa Medal ( 1899-1902 )
o "Cape Colony" - "Paardeberg" - "Driefontein
o "Johannesburg" - "Belfast"
• King's South Africa Medal ( 1901-02 )
o "South Africa 1901" - "South Africa 1902"
• Africa General Service Medal ( 1902-56 )
o "S Nigeria 1904" - "S Nigeria 1904-05"
o "S Nigeria 1905-06"
• 1914 - 15 Star
• British War Medal ( 1914-20 )
• Victory Medal ( 1914-19 )
Obituary – Times Friday 10th January 1930