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Andrew Stoddart (1887-1917)

Edinburgh man served with 18th DLI commemorated on Arras Memorial

Andrew Stoddart was born at Edinburgh in around 1887 to Thomas and his wife, Mary Anne. He lived his family in the St Giles area of Edinburgh (1891 census).

By 1901 his father, who was previously a letter carrier, was then a milk salesman and was living with his wife at 106a Cowgate Edinburgh but there is no sign of any of the children.

On that same census Andrew is found aboard the Mars Training Ship, berthed on the River Tay at Dundee. Mars took in destitute boys and orphans. The training aboard ship was intended to be hard but provide a trade for the boys. In fact, boys were often sent to the Mars for petty crimes, such as stealing a bunch of grapes or a bread roll. The ship was operating between 1848 until she was broken up in 1929.

When Andrew left the Mars he seems to have joined the Royal Naval Reserve Service. This was possibly about 1908. He served for 5 years before transferring to the army. Andrew married Jane (nee Harrison) in early in 1911. She was from Consett area where they settled down at 12 Steel Street, right by the local drill hall.

The first record of his attesting for the army dates from 8 September 1914. Andrew was posted to the the 6th Battalion Cameron Highlanders and given the service number 127797. It is interesting to note that his attestation papers note that this was his second attestation. He then joined up at Inverness on 11 September 1914, when he was medically examined, and he was later transferred to 13th (Service) Battalion Royal Scots (Lothian Regiment) where his service no. was 15735.

His records shows him as being of fresh complexion, blue eyes, brown hair, weighing 127 lbs & was 5’4” in height.

Very soon he was in trouble as between 10 -19 November 1914 he was in the guard detention room waiting trial. He was tried and convicted for :

1. When on active service disobeying in such a manner as to show a wilful disobedience of authority on a lawful command given by his superior officer.

2. Using insulting language to his superior officer

He was sentenced to 56 days imprisonment with hard labour at Woking military prison.

By the 24 November, having been sentenced by court martial, he was discharged with ignominy.

He returned to duty on 9 January 1915 whilst the unexpired portion of the sentence, five days, was remitted. On his final discharge papers it was commented that this man, in all probability, will continue to be a source of trouble to all who come in contact with him. His character was recorded as bad.

Despite his troublesome army service Andrew decided to rejoin the army joining the 18th Battalion Durham Light Infantry by enlisting at Consett. The records for his service with the Durhams is not available. However, his medal card shows that he entered France on 24 August 1915.

Andrew was killed in action 18 May 1917 aged 30 years. He is listed on the Arras memorial.

His wife received 10/6d pay due plus £8.10.0d in war gratuity.

Civil Parish: Consett

Birth date: 1887

Death date: 18-May-1917

Armed force/civilian: Army

Residence: High Street, Edinburgh (1891 census)
Mars Training ship, Dundee (1901 census)
12 Steel Street, Consett (1911 census)

Religion: Presbyterian

Employment: licensed hawker in hardware trade (1911 census)
labourer (1914 army service records)

Family: Parents: Thomas Stoddart, father (4 February 1855-1914), Mary Anne Stoddart nee Kennedy (1859-1924)
Siblings : Thomas Stoddart (b 1878), John Stoddart (1880-1892), William Stoddart (1882-1946), Elizabeth (1889-1918)

Military service:

Mars Training Ship
Royal Naval Reserve A1365
6th Cameron Highlanders Service No. 12997
Royal Scots, Lothian regiment Service No. 15735
Durham Light Infantry Battalions 18,14 & 2
Service number 25390

Medal(s): 1914/15 Star
British War Medal
Victory Medal

Memorial(s): Arras Memorial, France
Ainsley Terrace, Consett, roadside cross (now in Consett Leisure Centre car park)

Gender: Male

Contributed by Brenda McMahon, Gateshead

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