Evening Express

Search launched to find Aberdeen family of WW1 soldier

The graveyard at St Fittick's

A historical trust is appealing for the family of a First World War soldier from Aberdeen to get in touch.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) has put out a call to the family of Peter Alexander Carnegie, from Aberdeen, who was a Private in the Royal Defence Corps during WW1.

Mr Carnegie, who is buried at St Fittick’s Kirkyard in Torry, died in a military hospital from pneumonia on February 22 1919 – three months after the end of the war.

His death notice in the paper at the time read: “At a Military Hospital in Raasay Island, on 22nd inst. (of pneumonia).

“Private Peter Alexander Carnegie, R.D.C., dearly beloved son of Alexander and Agnes Carnegie. 15 Fore Close, Torry, aged 20 years. Deeply regretted.”

The Royal Defence Corps was made up of soldiers who were either too old or medically unfit for active front-line service.

They were in charge of guarding important locations such as ports or bridges and guarded prisoner-of-war camps.

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A spokesman for the CWGC said: “Given the cause of death and the date, I would suggest Peter died as a result of the flu pandemic, which struck in earnest in late 1918 and eventually killed more people than the First World War – an estimated 50 million worldwide – but that is an educated guess.

“The reason for the appeal is that Peter’s grave is currently marked by a private memorial. This is/was not uncommon where families could turn down the official CWGC headstone, or had perhaps marked the grave before.

“In these cases, we completely accept the private memorial as the place of commemoration but we are not allowed to maintain them as they are not ours – they belong to the family.

“As long as they effectively commemorate the war casualty, all is fine, but when they cease to do so properly we look to offer one of our grave markers to ensure the war casualty is not forgotten.

“In order for this to be accepted we try to track down the family or owner of the grave so that we can have permission.”

Mr Carnegie’s brother, Private Charles Carnegie, was also killed during the First World War.

His death notice in the Evening Express read: “Mr Alexander Carnegie, 15 Fore Close, Torry, has received information that his son, Private Charles Carnegie, Seaforth Highlanders, was killed by a sniper on October 4.”