On original site
Inside a building - public/private
- First World War (1914-1918)
About the memorial:
Major Maitland Makgill-Crichton of Monzie, Crieff, and Largo, Fife, has been unofficially reported killed on September 25th, during the Battle of Loos and Hill 70.
The Laird had command of Hill 70 on that morning, which he handed over later to the colonel of another regiment. He and Major Barron, of the 7th Camerons, then volunteered to go forward to order the retirement of 300 or 400 men who had gone into the advanced trenches, and were in a very precarious position. To reach these, the two officers had to go down an exposed part of a hill, and had to face a scathing machine-gun fire. The Laird went forward with his pistol in one hand and his walking-stick in the other, when he was struck down by a bullet.
From this it will be seen how bravely and how nobly he faced death. Neither of the two officers returned, but their orders at least reached the advanced party, and a withdrawal was attempted.
A sergeant who reported that he had found Major Makgill-Crichton dead, removed his official notebook, and this has been sent back to his wife.
He was very popular with the men of his battalion, as may be seen from the following sentence which was in a letter sent back:- "I hear that Major Crichton has fallen. A better man never breathed than the major; nobody will be more sorry to hear of his death than the men of his company".
The following extracts from letters from his brother officers speak for themselves:- "He was a splendid officer, and we were all devoted to him". Another says:- "Major Crichton is missing, and I believe there is not much hope. It is an awful shame, as he was such a ripping man, and so very popular". A subaltern writes:- "We all felt that we had a man at the head of things on whom we could rely absolutely. No matter what kind of scrape we got into, he always straightened us out, and told us just exactly the right thing to do, and never once lost his temper or condemned a man wrongly. There is no-one in the battalion who is liked and respected by officers and men alike, more than Major Crichton".
Another subaltern writes:- "I should like to say that Major Crichton, throughout the period when I was under his command caused my everlasting admiration and gratitude for the help he was always ready to give in my difficulties, and the tolerance with which he tolerated my far too frequent blunders, and I shall await the news of him, which I trust we will soon receive, as not merely of my trusted commander, but of my valued friend".
It was typical of the Laird that he was last seen by most on the top of Hill 70 at 10 a.m. on the morning of the 25th September, "Coolly directing operations with his walking-stick". Owing to the advanced position the Laird held at the time he fell - the Germans coming up almost immediately, and retaking that part - his body was not recovered.
Major Charles Julian Maitland-Makgill-Crichton was, through the Maitlands, a scion of the family of the Earl of Lauderdale (being in the remainder of that Earldom), by descent from a younger son of the sixth Earl; while through the Crichtons of Rankeillour he was heir-in-line to John Crichton, Viscount of Frendraught, in the Scottish peerage. Born on 5th September, 1880, he was the elder son of Mr David Maitland-Makgill-Crichton, late lieutenant, 78th Highlanders, of Rankeillour, Fifeshire. He obtained a commission as a lieutenant in the 78th Highlanders (Ross-shire Buffs), which however he resigned shortly after succeeding to the estates of Monzie, Perthshire, Lathrisk and Largo, Fifeshire, and Barelaw, Midlothian, on the death of his kinsman, Mr George Johnstone, in 1901. Major Crichton's paternal great grandfather married in 1794 Mary, daughter of David Johnstone, which marriage connected the two families. In 1902, he married Sybil Twynhoe Erle, Bramshott Grange, Hampshire, and they have three children - Charles Frederick Andrew (born 1907, who succeeds to the estates), Sylvia, and Douglas. Major Makgill-Crichton was also a member of the Royal Company of Archers (the King's Bodyguard for Scotland).
On the outbreak of the war Major Makgill-Crichton obtained, through Lochiel, a commission in the 6th Battalion Cameron Highlanders. With the view of being more quickly sent on active service he secured a transfer to the 11th Battalion of the Gordon Highlanders, and was later promoted major in the 10th Battalion of that famous regiment. He went to France about three months ago, and along with his battalion took part in the big British advance last month, where he met a soldier's death. His brother, Lieutenant James Makgill-Crichton, is in the Navy, and holds the post of flag-lieutenant on H.M.S. Hibernia.
For several years after succeeding to the estates Major Makgill-Crichton resided chiefly on his Fifeshire property. In 1908, when he was about to take up residence at Monzie Castle, Crieff, a destructive fire broke out on the 15th April in that year demolishing the edifice, which was afterwards rebuilt and modernised. For some time thereafter, Major and Mrs Crichton resided in California, but two or three years ago returned to Monzie. During his residence there the Laird, by his genial personality, made himself very popular among the folks on his estate and the surrounding district, where he took a great interest in everything pertaining to their welfare, and much regret has been expressed at his untimely end, coupled with deep sympathy for Mrs Makgill-Crichton and her young children.
Brass plaque. THE STRATHEARN HERALD: 23.10.1915
LAIRD OF MONZIE UNOFFICIALLY REPORTED KILLED
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