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Casualties from Dundee, Scotland
for the South African War 1899 - 1900

Please read general notes about my lists.

Thanks to Mary for preparing this.

The article appeared in Dundee, in the People's Journal.  The newspaper was bundled with numerous other editions, so while attempting to photocopy, one margin was in focus, while the opposite edge was out of focus.  In addition to the list of men, there were several sketches.  Due to the technology of the time (1899), photos didn't reproduce, so someone on staff, drew sketches from the photos submitted by family members.  (I would be happy to make a list of those with sketches, or perhaps just add a post-script that I would be willing to scan the article for anyone whose family member appears.  I also have photos of the Magersfontein Monument and the one at West-End Kimberly.)

It has been suggested perhaps adding paragraph explaining why the article is so poorly transcribed.

Mary in Oregon (email address - bruinswood @
(There are three of us who have agreed to search for more articles on the Boer War, and I promised, for my part, to transcribe them to MS Word, and send them off to the various website and museums).

If you wish to see old maps of the UK, and in particular, the situation of the many addresses mentioned in the following article, you really must look at this site,, for Ordnance Survey maps around 1860 -1890 for (nearly) all of the U.K. - I can highly recommend this site.  I would recommend using the 'old site' version - it takes longer to load each, but shows much bigger maps.  The webmaster may be able to help identify streets in Dundee which are likely to be seen on these maps, but have since disappeared.  Tay Valley Family History Society have a very handy booklet which gives the names and situations of some old Dundee addresses.

The Magersfontein Battle

People's Journal, Dec 23, 1899, Dundee, Scotland
Dundee men killed, wounded and missing

Since the publication of the list of killed and wounded at Magersfontein the repulse there sustained by the British army  has come home with painful directness to many households in the city. Dundee and districts have always been a good recruiting ground for the regiments composing the Highland Brigade, which have suffered so severely, and consequently the tension, relieved to some by news good or ill, is still un-relaxed to many who have relatives in the army now in touch with the enemy. The following are details of the Dundee men killed and wounded:-

Private John Hardie joined the Black Watch on 6th January 1891. Deceased was about 20 years of age when he enlisted and served the greater part of his time in India, but had never been engaged in any fighting. His parents live in Liff Road; but deceased lived with a married sister, Mrs. Henderson, 120 Overgate. He had been home only eight months after completing his service, when he was called out. His brother is stationed at Perth Barracks, and he by telegram intimated the sad news to his parents and sister in Dundee.

Private J. McMillan, who is reported missing, is a reservist belonging  to Dundee. His wife and two children live in Walton Street. He was in the prime of manhood when a desire for a soldier's life appealed to him. Joining the gallant "Forty-Two" in 1890, his term of service expired about two years ago. He then settled in his native city, where he remained until he got the summons to rejoin his regiment. This is the first occasion on which McMillan has been called into active service. He is about 38 years of age.

Sergeant T. Godfrey, one of the Black Watch killed, though not a native of Dundee, was well known in the city. For some months prior to October, when he received a call to the front, he was doorkeeper at the Eastern Club, among the members of which, by reason of his smartness and strict attention to duty, he was a popular and esteemed servant. Godfrey, who was a reservist belonged to the Corps of Commissionaires was a native of Edinburgh. At the time of his departure for South Africa, he was engaged to be married.

Thomas Scullion, who was killed in the attack, had his home in Horsewater Wynd. He was a married man, and leaves a widow and three children to mourn his loss. He was a reservist of the Black Watch, and rejoined the colours 18 months ago.

Connected with the death of Private J. Smith of the Black Watch, are circumstances of a particularly sad character. His wife for some time after his departure was in delicate health, and gradually becoming worse, died on Thursday last. The funeral took place Sunday. Smith's father lived in Milne's West Wynd, Scouringburn.

Lance-Corporal Neil McDonald, whose death is reported, belonged to Forfar, but for a number of years had made Dundee his home. He first entered the Black Watch in 1884. Subsequently he entered Dundee cleansing department, and it was while working as a scavenger that he got his call to the front.  McDonald lived in Miller's Lane, Lochee, and is survived by a widow and two children.

Private Henderson, another of the Black Watch killed, lived in Milnbank Road, Dundee. He is survived by a widow and two children.

Private John Bell (No. 3887, Black Watch), who was wounded at Magersfontein, is a native of Dundee. He was about five months home when he was called to rejoin the colours. John was a well-known violinist in the 1rst Battalion, India.

Private F. Watson (Black Watch), who is wounded, is a son of Mr. Forbes Watson, wine and spirits merchant, Greenmarket, Dundee. Private Watson, who first joined the colours 18 months ago, is 22 years of age. After enlistment he proceeded to Aldershot, where he took part in regimental duties till in the autumn he was granted leave of absence, and came to Dundee for a short furlough. In October he got a call to the front. In the Highland Light Infantry he has a brother, who has emerged scatheless from the recent fighting.

Private J. Fairley, was among the wounded of the Black Watch, belongs to Dundee. He is a reservist, and before being called out was a porter at the East Station. His wife resides at 3 Kincardine Street. Fairley had only completed his term eight months previously. He is 25 years of age.

Private James Murray, whose name appears in the missing list, is supposed to belong to Dundee; but, as his number is incorrectly stated, this fact cannot be definitely ascertained.

Private James McHardie, reported missing, is a native of Dundee, and was on the reserve of the Black Watch. McHardie is about 29 years of age, and was discharged in Cape Town in 1895. He was engaged before he was called out at Maryfield Road  Station. He is married and his home is in Lilybank Road. On Monday, last his wife received an interesting letter from him. In the communication he said - "There was a stationmaster on the railway up from us a little found aiding the Boers. He was tried by drumhead Court-Martial for treason and found guilty and shot. We were expecting to go right on to Mafeking. To join Baden Powell's force, but if the enemy advance on this place for a start we will have to fight our way right through to the Orange Free State. We got some papers here this morning - the first we have seen since we left home - and there was a "Dundee Advertiser" among them. It is dated 27th of last month, but I can tell you it was very welcome to us. Ned G. Diack, belonging to Dundee, and also wounded), Kidney (also hailing from Dundee) and myself are fighting chums. We were very poorly fed on the boat; in fact if we had had to stay much longer on the boat, I am afraid there would not have been much of me left, we are getting so thin. We are all in the spirits."

Private George Diack, a wounded Highlander of the Black Watch, is a native of Dundee and on leaving the service he resided with his widowed mother at Loon Road, Butterchurn, up till a year ago, when the family removed to Balgray Cottages, South Road, Lochee. Diack, who is about 38 years of age, joined the 1st Battalion Black Watch at Gibraltar in 1889, and remained there three years. Subsequently he was stationed at Cairo and the vicinity, where he spent a considerable time. He saw service in Mashomaland, and was one of the volunteers who went to the assistance of Major Wilson, for which he received a medal as reward. Diack returned to Cape Town, where he completed his term of service. On coming to Dundee he was engaged as salesman for four years with Messrs. Justice & Sons, Whitehall Street.  Diack, who bears a first-rate character was to have married at the forthcoming New Year holidays.

Private Thomas Burns is a native of Lochee and resided with his parents at High Street of that place for a number of years. He joined the Black Watch in 1888, and served his time in Cape Town, Cairo and other military centres.  On returning to Lochee he was married and afterwards removed to Glasgow. He is one of the wounded.

David Bachelor, another of the wounded, is a native of Lochee, where his widowed mother resides in Stewart Street. Joining the Black Watch he served three years with the regiment in Gibraltar, subsequently going with it to Cairo, and afterwards to Mauritius. Completing his term of service at the Cape, he returned to this country, and was for four years on the Kirkcaldy police force. He was to be married in November last.

Private J. Coleman, one of the wounded, was for some time in the employment of Messrs. J. & A.D. Grimond.

Private F. Ferry, another of the wounded, has a wife and two children in Lochee.

Private Nixon, whose name appears among the wounded, was for sometime employed as a labourer in Blackwood Foundry. He is a married man.

Of the Seaforth Highlander - Drummer T. McDonald (3623) native of Dundee, who enlisted in June 1806; and Private J. McNally, a reservist, who has a wife at Scouringburn, are reported as  wounded; and D. Gordon, Dundee who enlisted in April 1898, as missing.

Private John Powrie who first reported wounded after the battle of Magersfontein, has since been included among the slain. His parents live in Hawkhill, the father being employed in a local factory. John joined the Black Watch at Dundee three and a half years ago, and was stationed with his regiment first at York, and then at Aldershot. (Aldershot, Hampshire/Hants.)  When the war broke out he left with his comrades for the front. Enlisting while very young, Powrie was not yet of age, and his parents are naturally keenly grieved over his loss. Only several days ago they received a letter from him couched in very enduring terms. It was posted at Naauwpoort.

Private Robert Davie, native of Forfar. The greater portion of his life, however, was spent in Dundee, where his parents took up residence when Robert was but a youngster. His mother lives in North Street, and is naturally much concerned as to the welfare of her son. Davie enlisted in the 2nd Battalion of the Black Watch in January 1897, and is thus just on the eve of completing his third year of service. He is 20 years of age.

Private W. Drysdale, who is reported having lost his life, was about 19 years of age. The news of his death has well-nigh distracted his unfortunate mother, who lives in Ann Street. Willis was a quiet lad, and seems to have been a general favourite with his companions. He was a devoted religious worker, and his energy in this direction is highly spoken of.  Zealous in his duty, he was an active and esteemed member of the Salvation Army, and temperate and other kindred causes shared his attentions. He enlisted in 1897, and had thus been two years in that service. This was the first occasion upon which he was called abroad.

Private D. Evans, who is also incapacitated, is about 23 years of age, and his parents live in Scouringburn district. Evans, prior in his enlistment in 1896, lodged in Cochrane Street.

Private William Love, (wounded), belongs to Dundee, where he joined the army in 1897, there being 13 years of age. During his residence in the city he lodged in Dallfield Walk.

Private William Torrie, who is wounded, enlisted about two years ago, when 18 years of age. His mother lives in Rose Street.

Private G. Purvis, who is reported wounded, is married, and has a house in Durra Street, Dundee, where his wife and child reside.

In the list of wounded belonging to the Highland Light Infantry, appears the name of Private J. Patterson, who is 24 years of age, and a native of Dundee. His parents in Commercial Street.  Private Patterson comes from a race of soldiers. His deceased father and his stepfather both belonged to the Highland Light Infantry, while he has a brother serving in India. He joined the colours last year, and is a young man with a love of soldiering.

Private G. Kelman, who is reported as missing on the Black Watch list, belongs to Dundee, his parents residing in East Henderson's Wynd.  George had always an inclination for a soldier's life, and he was only 18 when he journeyed the Perth and became a "Tommy". His parents were in doubt as to whether it was their son, and they telegraphed to the War Office regarding the matter, receiving a telegram on Sunday affirming the identity of the missing man.

From the official dispatches issued on Tuesday it appears that Drummer John McEvoy, of the 1rst Battalion Gordon Highlanders, has succumbed to wounds he received at the Battle of Magersfortein. McEvoy belonged to Dundee, where his father, sisters, and brother at present live. Early in his life, John became imbued with a passion for the army, and in 1892, when he was 18 years of age, he joined the ranks for the Gay Gordons, a regiment which has achieved some distinction within the past few years. After about two years of service, he accompanied his regiment to India. In the Chitral Relief Expedition and as Dargai he was in the thick of it, and in connection with the former was awarded a medal and three bars. John visited friends in Dundee quite recently, and was enthusiastic over the idea of again taking up arms for his country.  Two brothers of M'Evoy who live in Dundee are ex-army men, both having been connected with the Royal Horse Artillery. The oldest has served his time, but the other expects to be called out with the reserved within the last few days.

Private A. Barr, whose whereabouts are unknown, attained his 19th birthday yesterday. He had not completed his seventeenth year when he offered his services to the Black Watch but he was a well grown lad, and was accepted. His eldest brother Samuel is a Sergeant in the Perth Militia, and he joined his battalion a few days ago. Their mother lives with a married sister in St. Mary Street, Dundee.

The name of Private Sidney Dorward, who appears in the list of the missing, is well known in the Ann Street district, where his mother lives.  His brother is the forward in the Westlander's Football Club. Since his early life Sidney was imbued with a love for soldiering and after two year's service he had lost none of his passion for, when home on a visit month ago, he talked as enthusiastically as ever of his calling.. He joined the army when he was 18 years old.

Private Andrew Hain, who is reported missing, is a native of Dundee and his parents reside on Kincardine Street. He is  about 26 years old and has been a member of the Black Watch about seven years. Previous to his enlisting, he was employed as a telegraph messenger for the Dundee Post Office.

Private Joseph Lewis, of the 1rst Battalion, Coldstream Guard, was a native of Bo'ness, but when young came to Dundee and served his apprenticeship as an iron turner at Low and Duff. He was for three years in the army, and was for 18 months in the regiment when called upon to join his regiment to proceed to South Africa. It was in unfortunate battle of Magersfontein that he received his death wound, and died shortly afterwards.  He was 27 years of age and unmarried. Three of his sisters reside in Dundee.

Broughty Ferry Man Wounded

Private T. McPhee

   The above is a photograph of Private McPhee, reservist, 1st Gordon Highlanders, who was wounded at the battle of Magersfontein. Private McPhee joined the regiment in 1886, and has seen a good deal of active service. He took part in the Turkish Campaign, the Pasjah frontier troubles, the Dargai charge. Since leaving the army he had been employed as a plasterer on the Dundee and Arbroath Joint Line (I changed this, even though only the 'L' was legible) He is married, and his wife and family reside at Barnside Cottages, West Queen Street, Broughty Ferry.

On Friday, 29th inst. There will be held at St. Paul's Cathedral, London, a solemn service of humble supplication to Almighty God for His blessing on our army  in South Africa. A sermon will be preached by the Bishop of London.

I would like to thank the webmaster of this site for making this information accessible to genealogists interested in the former County of Angus, A.H.

Click HERE for the Muster Roll (which, in June 2011, has had a large amount of additional information about personnel, listed in alphabetic order).

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This page was updated - 09 December, 2014