Tales Of Courage, 100 Years On

26 December 2014, 06:21

The story of a Scot who signed up to fight in the First World War 100 years ago today has been revealed by archivists.

Record-keepers traced the life of Private John Clapperton after discovering his certificate of registration with the British Army was issued on Boxing Day 1914.

The 20-year-old Leith butcher was one of more than 650,000 Scots who left their homes behind to play a part in the war, but unlike more than 100,000 who never returned from the front, he was lucky to survive.

Serving in the 9th Battalion, Royal Scots Regiment, then in the 12th Machine Gun Corps, Pte Clapperton was sent on active service to France after three years stationed in Kilmarnock and Grantham.

There he was badly wounded and left with no option but to have his right arm amputated in a field hospital.

Forced to return across the Channel, he underwent treatment at hospitals in Reading and Edinburgh before being discharged in February 1919.

Archivists were able to establish that he returned to Leith, married Catherine Martin in 1941 and died in 1966, aged 71.

A programme of events is being held in Scotland from 2014 to 2019 to commemorate the centenary of the First World War.

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: "John's is a story that will be familiar to many whose fathers, grandfathers, uncles and brothers went off to battle a century ago.

"No home, workplace or community was left untouched by the brutal effects of that war, leaving John's family, and families across Scotland with no option but to come to terms with the devastating consequences.

"The document is one of millions proudly preserved in our national archive by National Records of Scotland.

"Its discovery demonstrates the rich heritage of Scotland's people and shows how powerfully archives connect us directly to people and events in our past.''