Far from the Front

West Calder and the Great War

Email: jamesfanning@icloud.com



A Rae

"Mr William Ray, Tay Street, West Calder, has been officially notified that his son, Pte Alex Rae, of the 2nd Black Watch, died of wounds received in action on 16th January. He was with general Alymer's relief force proceeding to Kut when he was wounded. Pte Rae was a married man and leaves a widow and family. He enlisted in December, 1914, previous to which he worked as a coal miner. He was 32 years of age. Sympathy will be felt for the bereaved family circle."


Midlothian Advertiser, 4th February, 1916


In Memory of




2nd Bn., Black Watch (Royal Highlanders)

who died on

Saturday, 8th January 1916.


Commemorative Information


Memorial:  BASRA MEMORIAL, Iraq

Grave Reference/Panel Number:  Panel 25 and 63


Location:  The Basra Memorial was originally sited within Basra War Cemetery but in 1997 the Memorial was moved by presidential decree. The move, carried out by the authorities in Iraq, involved a considerable amount of manpower, transport costs and sheer engineering on their part, and the Memorial has been re-erected in its entirety. The Basra Memorial is now located 32 kilometres along the road to Nasiriyah, in the middle of what was a major battleground during the Gulf War. The Memorial consists of a roofed colonnade of white Indian stone, 80 metres long, with an obelisk 16 metres high as the central feature. The names are engraved on slate panels fixed to the wall behind the columns. More than 40,000 British, Indian and West African dead who died in the operations in Mesopotamia from the Autumn of 1914 to the end of August 1921, are commemorated on the Memorial.