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Mon 11 December 2017
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I happened to be given as a gift a book headed "The Clan Macrae", printed in 1923 at the Rosemount Press, Aberdeen. This book is a compilation of ALL MacRae's that fought, survived and died in The Great War of 1914 - 1918, with its Rolls of Honour and of service in The Great War. It was compiled by Ella MacRae-Gilstrap, in the front of the book it has a copy of a letter from York Cottage, Sandringham, Norfolk and is signed off from A.E Erskine, Lt Colonel, Equerry to the King. I have contacted both the British and Scottish National Libraries and they can tell me nothing about the provenance of this book, for example why was it produced, was it merely a labour of love by Ella or was it produced purely for the members of Clan MacRae or for mass public consumption. Any pieces of information about this particular book would be appreciated, as it is my intention to visit as many headstones of soldiers on the Ypres Salient and in France to have as an additional journal to the book. My interest in the Clan MacRae's also stems from the fact that I live in Ypres and so visit the area of Essex Farm Cemetery where John wrote "In Flanders Field" and I am lucky to also have one of the original Punch magazines with the poem printed for the first time. So, please any information about Ella's book will only be too welcome.

Query posted by : Genevra Charsley

30 Sep 2004 at 16.42
Tip
The following replies have been posted in response to the above query. They are sorted chronologically according to the time of receipt, with the most recent at the end of the page.
 
 
Hi..
I also have the book "The Clan MacRae" with it's
rolls etc. However, mine has a Foreward by AlexanderMacrae, dated Aug 19th, 1922 Shephall Rectory, Herts. Also, 2 of my greatuncles are included, last name Mc Crae. AM wondering about other differences ??? Lonnie

Reply posted by : Lavora Mc Crae Setaro

30 Sep 2004 at 21.00
 
 
Hi Lavora,

Many thanks for your response, my book also has the forward in by Alexandra dated 1922, along with the preface of John McRae-Gilstrap, husband of Ella. Can you confirm if your's also has the copy of the letter from York Cottage, also how the book came to be in your possession, the reason for this is that I am really keen to know the provenance. I would also be interested to know who your two great uncle's were who are in the book so that I can have a look at the details. Sincere thanks in anticipation of your response. P.S Where do you live?

Reply posted by : Genevra Charsley

1 Oct 2004 at 10.23
 
 
Genevra, Lavora,

Your book appears in the 'Our Bookshelf' section of the web site as a book of interest.

It has been recorded as 'Very hard to find'!

Regards,

Jon.

P.S. Genevra - Please let us know where you are too!

Reply posted by : Jon McRae

1 Oct 2004 at 11.13
 
 
Hi Jon & Lavora,

I actually live in Ypres, Belgium, I am British though and was born in Stratford-upon-Avon. Thanks for letting me know about the bookshelf section, does anyone know though how many of these books were originally printed? I am beginning to get the distinct impression that these books were printed with the intention of being for members of the Clan MacRae and not for public sale - is this correct? It is my intention to at least try and visit most of the headstones of the soldiers that did not survive and do an additional journal with the photo's of headstones in it, linking them back to the original book.

Finally, where do you come from Jon?

Kind regards
Genevra

Reply posted by : Genevra Charsley

1 Oct 2004 at 18.39
 
 
Genevra,
I've read your e-mails with great interest having lost 2 Great Uncles ( McRae's ) in the Great War, though not in Ypres. I just wanted to say that I think your intention to record the headstones is a wonderful idea.

Best wishes
Elaine

Reply posted by : Elaine Smith

1 Oct 2004 at 19.39
 
 
Hi Elaine,

When you see the cemeteries with all the headstones and the ages on them, it makes you realise the sacrifice that these men made. In all honesty the book that was given to me could not of been left to collect dust on the shelf, it is too much a labour of love to have done that, hence my decision to visit as many if not all of the soldiers that never came back. Can you give me the two names of your great uncles and also where you come from so that I can link to the book also?

Many thanks
Genevra

Reply posted by : Genevra Charsley

2 Oct 2004 at 08.10
 
 
Hi Genevra,
I'm from Aberdeen, Scotland. Thank you for asking about my Great Uncles. I find it especially sad when I think of them. There were 7 children in the family and only my grandmother, Jane, survived to old age. The brothers were killed just 2 weeks apart, I can't begin to imagine the heartbreak for their parents especially as I have 3 boys myself.

William Turner McRae died age 19 on 9/11th April 1917 in France. He was a Private with the 4th Battalion, Gordon Highlanders. Regimental Number-202367. He is buried at Tilloy British Cemetery, Tilloy-Les-Mofflanes.

Ewen McRae died age 26 on 21st April 1917 in Mesopotamia. I haven't been able to find out anymore about him - he is not mentioned in the WGC Site, Not surprising as they have not been able to get into Iraq to gather information. I don't even know if he was with the Gordon Highlanders but I would think that he was as that was the local regiment(they lived in Newhills, Aberdeenshire)
They are both remembered on the family headstone at Newhills Cemetery.
Best Wishes
Elaine

Reply posted by : Elaine Smith

2 Oct 2004 at 19.30
 
 
Hi Genevra,
I'm from Aberdeen, Scotland. Thank you for asking about my Great Uncles. I find it especially sad when I think of them. There were 7 children in the family and only my grandmother, Jane, survived to old age. The brothers were killed just 2 weeks apart, I can't begin to imagine the heartbreak for their parents especially as I have 3 boys myself.

William Turner McRae died age 19 on 9/11th April 1917 in France. He was a Private with the 4th Battalion, Gordon Highlanders. Regimental Number-202367. He is buried at Tilloy British Cemetery, Tilloy-Les-Mofflanes.

Ewen McRae died age 26 on 21st April 1917 in Mesopotamia. I haven't been able to find out anymore about him - he is not mentioned in the WGC Site, Not surprising as they have not been able to get into Iraq to gather information. I don't even know if he was with the Gordon Highlanders but I would think that he was as that was the local regiment(they lived in Newhills, Aberdeenshire)
They are both remembered on the family headstone at Newhills Cemetery.
Best Wishes
Elaine

Reply posted by : Elaine Smith

2 Oct 2004 at 19.30
 
 
Hi Genevra,
I'm from Aberdeen, Scotland. Thank you for asking about my Great Uncles. I find it especially sad when I think of them. There were 7 children in the family and only my grandmother, Jane, survived to old age. The brothers were killed just 2 weeks apart, I can't begin to imagine the heartbreak for their parents especially as I have 3 boys myself.

William Turner McRae died age 19 on 9/11th April 1917 in France. He was a Private with the 4th Battalion, Gordon Highlanders. Regimental Number-202367. He is buried at Tilloy British Cemetery, Tilloy-Les-Mofflanes.

Ewen McRae died age 26 on 21st April 1917 in Mesopotamia. I haven't been able to find out anymore about him - he is not mentioned in the WGC Site, Not surprising as they have not been able to get into Iraq to gather information. I don't even know if he was with the Gordon Highlanders but I would think that he was as that was the local regiment(they lived in Newhills, Aberdeenshire)
They are both remembered on the family headstone at Newhills Cemetery.
Best Wishes
Elaine

Reply posted by : Elaine Smith

2 Oct 2004 at 19.30
 
 
Hi Elaine,

Sorry about not responding sooner, still getting the hang of the discussion forum! I will have a look in my reference books and see what I can find out about your two relatives. Do you also have any photo's of them at all?

Kind regards
Genevra

Reply posted by : Genevra Charsley

21 Oct 2004 at 09.59
 
 
Hi Genevra,
I know what you mean about getting the hang of things - I inadvertently sent my last message 3 times!
Unfortunately, I don't have any photographs of my great uncles, only their parents, but I will ask my aunt if she knows of any.
Regards
Elaine

Reply posted by : Elaine Smith

22 Oct 2004 at 17.47
 
 
Hi Elaine,

Firstly, Ewen McRae - there is a Ewen MacRae that fought with the Seaforth Highlanders on the medal index cards for the National Archives, he was a Private with the regimental number of S/24999 and prior to that in the Training Reserve Battalion with the regimental number of 1/14856.

The actions in Mesopotamia on the 21st April 1917 was the Action of Istabulat, where we saw 186 of the Black Watch losing their lives and 158 of the Seaforth Highlanders losing their lives. Also at that time there was the 2nd Battle of Gaza, although not in Palestine.

Does anyone in your family have the photo of the family's headstone in Newhills as that may have other details showing on it. Also if anyone has his medals, on the rim it will have his regimental number engraved on them.

Your other Great Uncle, William Turner McRae is in the Clan MacRae book, along with a photo of him. If you can provide me with your postal address, I can copy this and the entry for him, along with details of the actions that led to his demise.

Kind regards
Genevra

Reply posted by : Genevra Charsley

23 Oct 2004 at 08.27
 
 
Hi Genevra,
I'm so grateful to you for taking the time to look up about my great uncles, it means a lot to me. I do have a photo of the gravestone, in fact I was there on Monday putting some flowers down, and it only says that they were killed in action with dates and places.
I had seen the entry for Ewen MacRae but wasn't sure. A lot of the records were destroyed during bombing raids in World War 2 and only about 25% survived so perhaps I'll never be sure.
I would be delighted to receive a copy of William's entry in the Clan MacRae book and if you could please e-mail me at esmith2002@lycos.co.uk I will gladly give you my address.
Best Wishes
Elaine

Reply posted by : Elaine Smith

23 Oct 2004 at 13.14
 
 
Hi my name is Angela Jones of the McCray descendantt.The best the thing to do is find a very distinguished historian and let him go over it.When all is proved true,take it and sell it to the members of the clan onlyThere are MacRaes that would help with the funding. AngeaD. Jones

ladyscotland@hotmail.com
ladyangelaj@aol.com

Reply posted by : Angela Jones (mccray)

3 Jan 2005 at 07.39
 
 
I was very interested to browse the discussion surrounding your book "The Clan Macrae", in particular to note that the book may well include a foreward written by my Great Grandfather, The Rev Alexander Macrae BA of Sheppell in Hertfordshire. Alexander was a Minister in the Church of England, although orginally hailing from Kintail. You and others may be interested to know that he wrote a History of The Clan Macrae in 1899, a copy of which I have. The book was published in Dingwall by A M Ross & Co and was written when he was Curate at St Helen's Church, Bishopsgate, London.

Reply posted by : Duncan Hollands

24 Jan 2006 at 21.05
 
 
I have been following you query with great interest as I have been looking for this very book myself. Approx. 10 years ago I was trying to research my roots in Scotland and was given some of the information I was looking for from my nephew who was going to universtiy at the time. This information came from the book in question. He gave me a copy of one of the pages that listed my grandfather Arthur McRae on it as a gunner in the 66th Bde (Dundee) service # 6486. He obtained the information from this book in the library of the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada. Needless to say I am still researching, with little luck, for a copy of this book if they are still available. If anyone out there could help me I would be very greatfull.

Jim White

Reply posted by : James White

19 Mar 2006 at 12.44
 
 
This really is a reply to Elaine Smith, if it could be passed on to her pelase. (i can't seem to get on to her otherwise, except here). I have been reading her answer to this query and she mentioned quite some time back 2/10/2004 about her uncle Ewan McRae who died in WW1 on 21/4/1917. I'm not sure if she was abloe to follow up the information on him but just in case she hasn't I have found information on him on the www.cwgc.org site. He will not be found under Ewan McRae but just E McRae. He was a Private in the Black Watch 2nd Batt, Service No S/3569, additional information is that he served as Pte John Campbell. Grave/Memorial is Panel 25 & 63 Basra Memorial.
As you say, he died in Mesopotamia, which is now Iraq and as WW1 happened over 90 years ag and as he died 90 years ago, they have been able to go to Iraq (many years ago) and get the information then. The now present war in Iraq has only been going since 2003 so there have been many years in between where they were able to get the information. What's more, records were meticulously kept by the British and they would have known where each batt etc was. Have a look at the CWGC site as you can print out a certificate for any of the dead from WW1
Rhonda

Reply posted by : Rhonda

19 Oct 2007 at 13.43
 
 
Hello Rhonda,

Thank you very much for the information and for getting in touch...I do have all of that now but it's great that someone else has confirmed my findings as my family are finding it hard to believe that he would have served under an alias! I've been able to add that Ewen enlisted in London...I'm waiting patiently for the 1911 census to find out where he was then. Other than that I don't think that I'll find out more until I can visit Kew to see if his records survived. My email address is now esmithy2002(at)hotmail.com it would be lovely to hear from you!

Elaine

Reply posted by : Elaine Smith

20 Oct 2007 at 11.56
 
 
I am attempting to reply to Jim White's e-mail. I am not a MacRae but found a booklet among my late father's papers entitled "The Clan MacRae in the Great War" to commerate the unveiling of the memorial at Eilean Donnain Castle in 1932. I have no interest in the booklet but am loathed to throw it away so wondered if Mr White, or anyone who reads this, is interested. Although born in Scotland, I now live in USA but would be happy to mail it to any interested party.
kate simpson

Reply posted by : Kate Simpson

4 May 2009 at 23.15
 
 
Hi Kate
I have just received your email that you posted today and wanted to let you know that I would love to have a copy of "The Clan MacRae in the Great War" if you are unable to contact Jim White. I would be very happy to pay for any shipping costs. I am a McRae and have been working on my McRae Geneology for many years now and plan to visit the Battle of Culloden etc. when I see Scotland for the first time this summer. So if you could keep me in mind it would be very much appreciated and taken care of!
Cheers
Gail McRae
18028 58th Ave.
Surrey, BC
Canada
V3S 1M1

Reply posted by : Gail McRae

5 May 2009 at 00.06
 
 
This message is for Kate Simpson,

Hi Kate
I have just received your email that you posted today and wanted to let you know that I would love to have a copy of "The Clan MacRae in the Great War" I would be very happy to pay for any shipping costs. I have been researching the McRae side of my family for years and have visited Scotland twice. My address is as follows;
James White
132 Thomson Rd
Campbellford, ON
Canada
K0L 1L0

Reply posted by : James White

5 May 2009 at 03.43
 
 
Hi Kate

in addition to my home address here is an e-mail address you can reach me at if need be.

the.oriole@yahoo.ca

Reply posted by : James White

5 May 2009 at 03.58
 
 
This is in respons to Duncan Hollands post of 24 Jan 2006. I have a letter from a grandson of Rev Alexander MacRae's brother Farquhar, he would like to be in touch with Rev Alexander's descendants.
I have just found a note I made about your post Duncan, while sorting family history papers. As I do not feel I should to put Farquhar's address here I hope you see this and reply to tina@reraig.com with contact details that I can pass on.

Reply posted by : Tina Glen-riddell

28 May 2011 at 16.00
 
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