McArthur, William

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McArthur, William

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William McArthur was born in Inverness on the 29th February 1994, one of four children of Dinah McArthur (née Smith) and Peter McArthur, a baker and journeyman. McArthur attended The Glasgow School of Art from 1906 to 1908 as a student of life drawing. During the First World War, McArthur served as a private in the Cameron Highlanders 1st battalion. This battalion landed in Le Havre as Army Troops on the 14th of August 1914. On 27th September 1915, he was wounded by gas poisoning. The date of his injury falls within the Battle of Loos which took place between the 25th of September and the 15th of October 1915. This battle saw the first use of British poison gas. Poison gas was present on the 27th of September in a canal area. At the end of this day, British positions across the battlefield were weakly held and soldiers were suffering from exhaustion. McArthur is later noted to have been charged with illegal absence from duty and deficiencies of kit, deserting and re-joining services in January and March 1916. Ancestry's military records provide detailed descriptions of his appearance including dark hair and grey eyes. Before the war, he was the tenant and occupier of a shop in Inverness. In a letter dated 17th January 1919, McArthur wrote a letter asking to demobilise to restart his shop business after his four years of service in which he had been wounded twice. William McArthur died on 10th September 1923, aged 39 in the Northern Infirmary, Inverness from supposed alcoholic poisoning, though not certified. The certificate notes his marriage to Jeanie More. McArthur is commemorated on The Glasgow School of Art's First World War Roll of Honour.

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Sources: Scotland's People: http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk/; The National Archives: http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/; Ancestry: http://www.ancestry.co.uk; The Long, Long Trail: http://www.1914-1918.net/cameron.htm; http://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/battles/battles-of-the-western-front-in-france-and-flanders/the-battle-of-loos/

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