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Robert Nairn

Private Robert William Nairn of the West Yorkshire Regiment (Prince of Wales Own), 10th Batallion, Service No. 41702, (Formerly of King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry Service No. 24827) died of wounds in France on April 28th, 1917, aged 21.

Robert is buried at the Etaples Military Cemetery, 27km south of Boulogne.

He was born towards the end of 1895 in Waren Mill, near Bamburgh, the son of  Andrew Bain Nairn, of Castlelaw, near Edinburgh, and Eleanor. In 1901 the census indicates the family were lived at Outchester Cottages, on a farm a mile or so from Waren Mill on the Belford road and Andrew's job was given as 'worker in flour stores', a miller. The 1911 census shows them living at Humbleton, near Wooler, where Andrew was a farm worker and Robert's occupation was given as 'driving horse on farm'. After the war, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission entry says that his father was deceased and his mother, Eleanor, lived at Waren Mill.

There is a plaque in the grounds of Waren Mill (now converted to flats) that lists the WW1 dead and this includes Robert Nairn, Machine Gun Corps. A search of the Commonwealth War Graves site gave no results for Robert Nairn of the M.G.C. The complication of his regiment aside, this is probably the Robert who is on the Craster memorial. However, it has not, so far, been possible to identify the link between Robert and the Dunstan/Craster area.

The Spitalford war memorial records Robert on the Dunstan panel. It is possible that his mother moved to Dunstan to be with family, as was the case with John Hanvey's mother.

Robert's medal card shows that he was awarded both the Victory and British Medals.

The family placed the following 'In Memoriam' item on May 4th 1918 in the Alnwick & County Gazette:

Alnwick and County Gazette, May 4th, 1918.

Etaples, where Robert is buried, is a town about 27 kilometres south of Boulogne. It was remote from the Western Front and was the base for a concentration of hospitals, which were served by many areas of conflict; thus offering no clues to the place where Robert was wounded.

The 10th (Service) Battalion was formed at York, September 1914, as part of K2, Kitchener's Second New Army. They were attached to 50th Brigade, 17th (Northern) Division. The division moved to France in July 1915 and spent the duration of the war in action on the Western Front. In the spring of 1917, the Division was involved in the Battle of Arras. The war diary of the West Yorkshire Regiment has not been studied, but a soldier from the 10th Bn, who was killed within days of Robert, was buried 5km from Arras, placing the Bn. in this conflict.

Etaples Military Cemetery

Commonwealth War Graves Commission - Robert Nairn

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