The Douglas Archives

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Commemoration of life and death of Archie Douglas

His niece, Katharine Campbell reports:

Thought that you would like details of our commemoration today (16th October 2016) for Uncle Archie at Ration Farm Military Cemetery in northern France.  The ceremony was incredibly moving, though I don’t want to use clichés to describe it.  It was very touching without being mawkish or sentimental.  We had the wonderful Belgian pipe-major there from Ypres Surrey Pipes & Drums who played a Scottish lament for us, and there were people there from the branches of the British Legion and Legion Scotland that are based in Belgium, including a standard-bearer, who lowered the standard during the lament.  There was a representative from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission who was also a Scotsman.  The Frenchman, his wife, and a colleague from the historical association that has excavated and looks after the Abbey of Notre Dame de Beaupré à La Gorgue, and which has thoroughly researched the aerodromes of La Gorgue and Merville from which Archie and my father flew, were there.  The French participants were so special, knowledgeable and generous. Then Cousin Janet and her husband Tony flew in from Ankara just to be with us.  A Belgian florist made the most exquisite wreath for us.  It was altogether entirely memorable, and there were SO many people in highland dress, including Peter and two Belgians as well as the other Scotsmen!

So we are chilling out now and trying to digest all the lovely events of the last couple of days.  The French took us on a tour of the Abbey and we looked over the airfield sites yesterday, although unfortunately they are covered now by a huge chemical plant, but they showed us lots of aerial photographs from before the factory, and also their charming little museum with memorabilia both from the Abbey and the Royal Flying Corps. 

Archie was the son of Professor Robert Langton Douglas and brother of Marshall of the Royal Air force William Sholto Douglas of Kirtleside.

He was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Royal Field Artillery, and subsequently attached to 42 Sqn, the Royal Flying Corps  based at  "British aerodrome of La Gorgue" was killed on 16th October 1916 and is buried at Ration Farm Military Cemetery, La Chapelle D'Armentieres.

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