Douglas Marshall Stewart

In loving memory of Rebecca Drysdale Purves, wife of John Stewart, died 24th October 1887; his infant daughter Rebecca Drysdale Purves died 9th August 1871; his son Capt. Douglas Marshall Stewart, 1/4 Battn. Royal Scots, Q E R, died Edinburgh 9th January 1919, from wounds received in the Battle of Gaza 2 November 1917 aged 24; Jane Gordon, wife of John Stewart died 25th May 1923; John Stewart, J.P., died 13thNovember 1924 aged 82.

CWGC: Captain Douglas Marshall Stewart, 4th Battalion Royal Scots (Queen’s Edinburgh Rifles); d. 3 Jan. 1919 from wounds in the Battle of Gaza, 2 Nov. 1917, a. 24; son of John & Jane Gordon Stewart, of Edinburgh;  W 162

Douglas Marshall Stewart was the son of John Stewart (1842-1924) and his second wife Jane Gordon (1858-1923).  John Stewart had been born in Kilmarnock, the eldest son of Andrew Dunlop Stewart, a draper and clothier.  John moved to Edinburgh in the 1860s and established himself as a master tailor. He married Rebecca Purves Drysdale (1837-87) in 1867. They had a large family of four sons and six daughters.  Their eldest son, Andrew Rollo Drysdale Stewart (1868-1942), joined his father in the business, which became the firm of J. Stewart & Son, 88 George Street, Edinburgh, but their other sons followed different careers – one, James Purves Stewart (1869-1949), became a distinguished neurologist and was knighted. 

Rebecca Stewart died in October 1887 and John Stewart married Jane Gordon two years later on 24 December 1889 in Kilmarnock.  Jane was the daughter of a substantial Kirkcubrightshire farmer but was living in Kilmarnock in both the 1861 and 1871 censuses, first with her maternal grandmother and then with an aunt.  

John and Jane had three sons who survived infancy.  Douglas, the second of these, was born at 10 Chalmers Crescent on 27 June 1894.  He attended George Watson’s College from 1902 to 1912 and was a member of the O.T.C. from 1907, leaving with the rank of Colour-Sergeant.  After leaving school he began to study agriculture and in December 1912 he was also gazetted a 2nd Lieutenant (supernumerary) in the Royal Scots 1/4th Battalion (Queen’s Edinburgh Rifles) Territorial Force. During the war his unit of the Royal Scots landed in Gallipoli on 14 June 1915.  In January 1916 the battalion was evacuated from Gallipoli to Egypt where it spent the next two years engaged in the Egyptian and Palestine Campaigns against the Ottoman forces.  Douglas was wounded in the head and shoulders on 2 November 1917, early in the third battle of Gaza, and was eventually evacuated back to the U.K.  He arrived at the Queen Alexandra’s Military Hospital at Millbank on 29 May 1918 and three weeks later was transferred to Leith Military Hospital.  He was found dead at home in Chalmers Crescent on 3 January 1919 and the doctor put “Apparently heart failure” on his death certificate.  Registering his death, his father described him as “Agricultural student Capt. 4th Royal Scots”.

Douglas’s elder brother, William Gordon Stewart (1893-1971), was a civil engineering student in Switzerland 1911-15.  He joined the Royal Scots and served in France before being seconded to the R.A.F. in 1918.  After the war he worked in the Malay States as a civil engineer. In 1942 he was a major with the Singapore Royal Engineers Volunteer unit and was taken prisoner by the Japanese when Singapore fell in February 1942.  He was among the 308 British and American prisoners liberated from Mitsushima POW camp in Japan on 4 September 1945.

Douglas Marshall Stewart