Meikle Twins Durham Light Infantry

Discussion in 'Durham Light Infantry' started by BobKat14, Nov 18, 2008.

  1. BobKat14

    BobKat14 Member


    Herewith photo thought to be taken in Monkseaton in 1915. Jack is on the left and Robert on the right.


  2. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Have nothing to add to the thread but to send a big Thank You to Verrieres for helping out on this thread.
    I'm well impressed.
  3. Verrieres

    Verrieres no longer a member

    Cheers Owen,
    Like yourself and the others on this site. If I can help I will.
    Regards to all
  4. BobKat14

    BobKat14 Member

    Good morning Verrieres,

    I could not have imagined that following my initial enquiry regarding the Meikle twins, I would have accumulated so much information. You seem to have almost instant access to so much of interest. I am most grateful.

    First, responding to yesterday's posts: the War Diary of the Royal Canadian Dragoons is fascinating. Can you tell me how I could access this? I would like to find out what John (Jack) Meikle's involvement might have been in the last great cavalry charge at Moreuil Wood on 30 March 1918. I have the account of the battle available from Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians) in which Jack's Squadron Captain, Roy Nordheimer, is mentioned. It was he who broke the sad news of Jack's death to his mother in a letter dated Aug. 14th. 1918.

    The links to memorials were marvellous to have. I will follow up those at the Golf Club and on the Stained Glass Window.

    You have said that you would like copies of any photographs of anyone connected with the DLI. Herewith a photograph of Captain Harold E Quin from WW1. He was married to Jack, Robert and William's sister Margaret. I know little of his exploits, only that according to the London Gazette of 13 August 1920, he resigned his commission in the 9th Battalion on 14 August 1920.

    I will post copies of Robert's last letters home from the front separately.

    Many thanks once more.

  5. BobKat14

    BobKat14 Member

    I attach copies of the last letters home from Bob Meikle.

    The first, on Saturday (9 September) refers to his new tunic. The London Gazette of 2 October 1916 refers to him being commissioned in the Regular Army with seniority from 4 September - he was previously in the Special Recerves and in the 4th Battalion DLI. Presumably he was by this time attached to 151st Brigade.

    The letter on Tuesday (12 September) refers to letters from home including one from his sister Jess (my grandmother). It also talks about the awful noise, presumably the bombardment preceding the Great Advance.

    The third, and last, is dated Wednesday 13 September. It was postmarked the following day. It refers to receiving cake and underwear. It says that he just missed Billy (his brother William Ewart of the 9th Battalion who later received the MC), which suggests they were serving under the same command.

    Robert (Bob) died near Ginchy on 15 September 1916.

    These letters have been passed down two generations. Perhaps, in due course, their final resting place should be with William's medal in the DLI Museum.




    View attachment 14067

    View attachment 14068

  6. Verrieres

    Verrieres no longer a member

    Morning BoBKat14 glad the posts were of interest to you please follow the link below and you will have instant access to the War Diary Collection 1914-18(19) of the Canadian Dragoons you can view them at your leisure or copy them to your PC and print off the copies you require they are as you will see arranged month by month you may find other references to Jack as I only briefly looked around the time of his death.
    War Diaries of the First World War
    Captain Quin would this be Harold Ellison Quin of 16 Westbourne Avenue in Hull ? (1926 address)

    PS If you are interested in that last Cavalry Charge there is a book(again on the internet )which deals with the Last Hundred days of the War starting on the Day Jack was killed(8/8/1918) I have not read any of it I found it a while back on a link from the War Diary Page I`ve posted the link just in case
    Internet Archive: Details: Canada's hundred days : with the Canadian Corps from Amiens to Mons, Aug. 8-Nov. 11, 1918
  7. BobKat14

    BobKat14 Member

    Thanks for the link Verrieres.

    My great-uncle was Harold E Quin, and I believe he must therefore be the Harold Ellison Quin (born in Tynemouth in 1884) whose Medal Roll Card you have presumably found. Members of the the family lived in Yorkshire, although the Quins later moved to Nottingham.

    Have to sign off for much of the rest of the day shortly. Will resume contact tomorrow as needed.
  8. Verrieres

    Verrieres no longer a member

    The medal card ..Yes I do have a copy of this but I did`nt check the second image for the address I got this out of the old Telephone directories!. You are correct in assuming that Capt H E Quin also served with 9DLI he was a pre-firstwar territorial joining 9DLI in 1909 as a Second Lieutenant, (As of the 19th April 1909) he was promoted to Lieutenant in 1910 (24th May 1910) his service records covering the period 1917-1920 are available from the National Archives(WO 374/55854) I`ve added the other officers who joined 9DLI at the same time as Harold Ellison Quin just for added interest;-
    9th Battalion, The Durham Light Infantry;
    Arthur Wilfrid Wilkinson to be Second
    Lieutenant. Dated 1st April, 1909.
    Henry Edward English to be Second
    Lieutenant. Dated 12th April, 1909.
    Harold Ellison Quin to be Second Lieutenant
    Dated 19th April, 1909.
    Alfred Johnson Raine to be Second
    Lieutenant. Dated 20th April, 1909
    Francis John Lambert to be Second
    Lieutenant. Dated 23rd April, 1909.
    9th Battalion, The Durham Light Infantry
    undermentioned officers to be Lieutenants.
    Dated 24th May, 1910
    .Second Lieutenant George 0. Harper.
    Second Lieutenant William A. BagnallSecond Lieutenant Arthur W. Wilkinson.
    Second Lieutenant Harold E. Quin.
    Second Lieutenant Ralph Hall resigns his
    .commission. Dated 13th July, ID 10.
    I`ve attached Captain Quins Medal Card also

    Attached Files:

  9. Verrieres

    Verrieres no longer a member

    Hi BobKaT14,
    Your comment regarding the letters being reunited with William’s MC..The letters would probably not stay with the medal as the Museums Documents and Photographs are held at the Durham County Records Office. which if you are not already aware hold several items relating to the Meikles DLI association. I have listed some below and left the links to the right `Live
    Second Lieutenant William Ewart Meikle
    9th Battalion, The Durham Light Infantry
    Ref No. D/DLI 7/467/1
    Commission of W.E. Meikle as a second lieutenant in the Territorial Force, 13 July 1915(1 paper)
    D/DLI 7/701/2(147) D/DLI 7/701/2(147Photograph of a group of officers of the 9th Battalion, The Durham Light Infantry, taken in France or Belgium, June 1918 Back row: Gibson, Dodds, Johnson, Chisholm Front row: ‘Doc’, Meikle, Gibson, Robinson On ground: Burn, Tesseyman, Weightman
    Second Lieutenant R J Meikle
    Durham Light Infantry

    D/DLI 7/35/1(74) D/DLI 7/35/1(74)
    Photograph of officers of the 4th Battalion, The Durham Light Infantry, in theatrical dress, on a stage set [possibly in the United Kingdom], c.1916 Back row: Second-Lieutenant A.G. Dugdale, Lieutenant E.B. George, Second-Lieutenant J.B. Caswell Third row: Captain T.E. Peart, Second-Lieutenant R.J. Meikle, Second-Lieutenant H. Pearce Brown, Captain S.R. Streatfield, Second-Lieutenant D.H. Farquharson Second row: Second-Lieutenant F.A. Pickering, Lieutenant C.L.P. Barkas, Captain H.R. King, Lieutenant R.G. Telfer Front row: Captain G.S. Fillingham, Lieutenant Adams, Second-Lieutenant A.R

    D/DLI 7/35/1(75) D/DLI 7/35/1(75)
    Group photograph of a group of officers of the 4th Battalion, The Durham Light Infantry [possibly taken in the United Kingdom], c.1916 Back row: Second-Lieutenant A.G. Dugdale, Second-Lieutenant D.H. Farquharson, Captain A.G. Sykes, Second-Lieutenant F.A. Pickering, Second-Lieutenant C.R.M. Hutchinson Second row: Second-Lieutenant R. Jacob, Lieutenant C.L.P. Barkas, Second-Lieutenant H. Pearce Brown, Second-Lieutenant R.J. Meikle Front row: Second-Lieutenants G.B. Davidson, G.B. Atkinson, and M. Coverdale Regards
  10. Verrieres

    Verrieres no longer a member

    Searching for something totally unrelated I have come across the Canadian Book of Rememberance which lists John(Jack)Meikle you can view the page online but you can also request a copy to be sent

    Search Details - Veterans Affairs Canada
  11. BobKat14

    BobKat14 Member


    Thanks for the most recent posts. I had already found the Meikle DLI information at the Durham County Record Office, but thanks for confirming. The extra information about Harold Quin is helpful - up to now I had only searched the Gazette from 1914 onwards.

    I now have to get to work on the links you have kindly provided.

  12. BobKat14

    BobKat14 Member

    Good morning Verrieres on the fourth day of our dialogue. You have been a real mine of information!

    I thought I should update you on the results of following your links.

    It appears from the War Diaries that Jack Meikle arrived from England to join the Royal Canadian Dragoons on 18 April 1918, shortly after the Battle of Moreuil Wood, as one of several reinforcements no doubt required after the battle. I have a photograph of the five brothers, probably taken in 1914, where Jack is in uniform wearing corporal's stripes. Robert is in what appears to be the uniform of a newly enlisted recruit, and Billy is in civilian clothes. It is clear that both Jack and Robert rose through the ranks to become officers.

    What Jack did earlier in the war may remain a mystery unless somebody following this thread has any further information?

    Incidentally the Durham County Record Office also mention their father, John Cunningham Meikle, who ran a draper's business in North Shields. They have an account book of his business for 1881-82. How this has survived I do not know!

    Turning now to the links to the Memorials, I have paid a small fee and obtained the downloadable versions. Although now living in the south of England, I visited Whitley Bay two years ago, but never thought to look on the Cenotaph where I now find that the names of John (Jack) and Robert appear for the First World War and again, for the next generation, John and Robert, the twins, for the Second World War.

    The links to the Golf Club memorials are interesting. No doubt something to do with their Scottish ancestry! John Cunningham Meikle came from Ayrshire.

    I am sure that the North East War Memorial Project will not object if I attach a photo of the stained glass window in the North Shields Church which commemorates the Meikle twins and others. It seems an entirely fitting tribute to bring this thread (at least as far as the twins are concerned) to a close.

    Thank you for all your help.

    Verrieres likes this.
  13. Verrieres

    Verrieres no longer a member

    Glad To have been of help before you close I have added one last link concerning Jack(Canadian Dragoons) I have quoted part of your post in the title to highlight the difference in the dates quoted in the post which you found in the war diary and the muster roll of 1915 which you can view on page 11 of this link,giving J.C Meikle as next of Kin.I believe I mentioned it briefly on one of the other posts but neglected to add the link.Just to add to date this thread has had well over 200 views so we must be providing a topic of interest which appeals to a wider audience than ourselves I hope others have enjoyed reading it as much as I have enjoyed contributing.Good Luck in your research.
    Internet Archive: Details: Royal Canadian Dragoons Nominal Roll 1915
  14. BobKat14

    BobKat14 Member

    First of all a Happy New Year to Verrieres and to all those who have contributed to or are following this thread.

    Having now visited the National Archives, and also Durham Cathedral to see the DLI Chapel, as well as the DLI Museum to see my great-uncle's medal (and to acquire a copy of Faithful - The Story of the Durham Light Infantry), I thought I should provide an update to round off this topic.

    The National Archives proved to be a valuable source of information and I was lucky to find files for all family members I was seeking. I did not pursue any further records which might exist for John (Jack) Meikle who served with the Royal Canadian Dragoons in WW1.

    Robert Jardine Meikle [WO 339/48938]
    The file showed that Bob Meikle, having joined the 4th Battalion, was attached to the 2nd Battalion in 1916. He applied for his commission in the Special Reserve on 6 April 1915. He then applied for a commission in the Regular Army on 20 July 1916. The London Gazette of 2 October 1916 shows this was granted with seniority from 4 September, but he was killed in the 2nd Battalion's attack on the Quadrilateral trench near Ginchy on 16 September. [War Diary WO 95/1617]. There then followed a lengthy correspondence with the solicitors acting for his estate about his entitlement to the Special Reserve Gratuity (of £69.15.0) as he had died before his commission in the Regular Army had been announced in the Gazette. It appears he was one of three officers in a similar position. The matter was resolved by his commission in the Regular Army being cancelled (London Gazette of 18 June 1917), thereby entitling his estate to the Special Reserve Gratuity. His brother Jack was his executor.

    William Ewart Meikle [WO 374/47228]
    The file shows that Billy Meikle was wounded at the 9th Battalion's attack on the Butte de Warlencourt in November 1916 [WO 95/2840]. He received gun shot wounds to his left shoulder and fingers of the left hand and returned to England for treatment. The shoulder wound was "a clean perforating wound not affecting bone", but he lost the index finger on his left hand. He was eventally prounounced fit for duty in June 1917. Precisely when he returned to France is not clear, but the War Diaries of the 9th Battalion (Pioneers) note the award of his Military Cross [WO 95/3077] on 1 September 1918. The action for which he was awarded the medal is not shown, but may have been that at Bois de Reims on 21 July 1918.

    Harold Ellison Quin (husband of Margaret Meikle) [WO 374/55854]
    Had it not been for the fact that Harold Quin suffered from dysentery shortly before the war ended, it is doubtful that any records about him would have survived. His 'Casualty Form' provides considerable detail about his activities. He served with 2/9th Battalion in Salonika from 1917 and was attached first to the Seaforth Highlanders and later to the 12th Cheshire Regiment, where he would have been at the time of the attack on 'Pip Ridge' in September 1918, but his role in this is not known.

    The Twins - John Cunningham Meikle and Robert Coulson Meikle
    The DLI War Diaries for WW2 [WO 169/350 and WO 169/1713] show the twins arriving for duty on 22 February 1940 when the battalion was at Moascar, Ismailia. In July 1940 Jack was briefly evacuated to hospital, and Robert, then with 'B' Company, took over the Prisoners of War camp. At the time of the battle of Fort Capuzzo, Robert was with 'A' Company and Jack was with 'D' Company. There is a patrol report for the night of 23/24 April 1941 where Jack was the Commander of a Patrol to search the area of Landing Ground East of Musaid which briefly describes the action for which he obtained a Mention in Dispatches.

    A very satisfying outcome to my research - my thanks to all involved.
  15. BobKat14

    BobKat14 Member

    I had thought this subject had closed, but the Meikle twins' younger sister, Mary, has recently celebrated her 60th wedding anniversary and I have been in touch once more.

    She has found a photograph (which is attached) of her uncle, William Ewart Meikle, who won the Military Cross in WW1, probably taken in 1917 when he was recovering from wounds suffered at the Butte de Warlencourt. He appears to be wearing a black armband, and his damaged left index finger is protected by a form of gloved bandage.

    She also found a cutting from the Newcastle Evening Chronicle of 18 June 1942 which is also attached and which has an account of the DLI's action at Fort Capuzzo. Amongst those mentioned in addition to the Meikle twins and those appearing in Verrieres' account of the battle at the start of this thread are: Lieut JL Sutherland Oliver, Captain RA Lees, and those killed in the night patrol led by Jack Meikle - Corporal McKenzie, Private Tomlinson and Private Hagan. Also mentioned are Second Lieut WD Fairclough and Second Lieut GH Blakey.

    Tantalisingly, the report on page two of the newspaper is continued on page three which is missing.

    The account of 'D' company's actions concludes:

    Messages were received at battalion headquarters that they were being counter-attacked and were running short of ammunition .. and then silence.

    A runner reported that Major Fox-Davies was (Continued on Page Three.)

    Jack Meikle was serving with 'D' Company (Robert was with 'A' Company and there is some detail about him in the report).

    In a somewhat forlorn hope that someone reading this may have access to page three of the Newcastle Evening Chronicle of Thursday June 18, 1942 or know where an archived copy might exist, I should be glad to have your help.

    Attached Files:

  16. ken griffin

    ken griffin Senior Member

    try the local library, they normally have newpapers on microfiche, or will be able put you in the right direction.
  17. BobKat14

    BobKat14 Member

    Success! The Newcastle City Library have found the third page of the article from the Evening Chronicle which is attached.

    Sadly nothing more about the Meikles.

    I do know from the National Archives [WO 373/88 Pt.4] that Jack was recommended for a Military Cross but received a Mention in Dispatches. He was last seen at Capuzzo leading a bayonet attack with his Company Commander.

    Attached Files:

  18. BobKat14

    BobKat14 Member

    In the course of my research on family history someone once said to me "I doubt that you have concluded your researches - we never, or seldom, do!". He was right.

    Having contacted the DLI Museum about the newspaper article referred to earlier, they told me that they had a copy of the message brought back by Private Medforth as mentioned by Verrieres in his account of the battle of Fort Capuzzo which started this thread. For the payment of a small fee I obtained a copy.

    I cannot reproduce this for copyright reasons, but I can say that the message made it clear that in the opinion of the Company commander, one tank could solve the problems faced by 'A' Company.

    What happened to the tanks?

    Verrieres' account says that they disappeared over the ridge and the noise of heavy fighting was heard. The History of the British 7th Armoured Division by Ian A Paterson refers to the involvement of the DLI and says that 4RTR had 26 Matildas and that 5 were destroyed and another 13 damaged: also that 'A' Squadron of 4RTR was met with a hail of shellfire. Perhaps the statistics speak for themselves. I know that the Matildas were slow and had steering problems, but does anyone know anything more? Was there simply an enforced strategic withdrawal of the surviving tanks that ultimately left the infantry without support, in turn forcing them to fall back? Or did the sandstorm which blew up simply make it impossible for the tanks to participate further?
  19. BobKat14

    BobKat14 Member

    I have now located the The Home of 4 RTR website. In its history for 1941-1942 it refers to the battle as follows:

    4RTR was now to be tested in Op Brevity, involving a thirty-seven mile approach march on 11 to 13 May in a heavy sandstorm. The Regt attacked at dawn on 15 May. On this their first desert action they started very well. C Sqn (Major Miles) with 2 Scots Gds took Halfaya Pass, capturing two batteries, 250 prisoners and much transport.

    A Sqn (Major Banks) in trying to get round Capuzzo with 9 DLI met twenty five Panzers III and IV and lost twelve of his fourteen tanks. A small force comprising three RHQ Matildas and the Recce Officer's light tank stormed Capuzzo Fort led by the CO doing much damage; but they were driven off. Next morning the fourth, heavily attacked by 15 Pz Div, fought a delaying action to the Pass, the front stabilizing at Buq Buq.

    That evening Lt Vaux and Sgt Dickens were sent out to render irreparable the A Sqn tanks left on the battlefield. While doing so they came under intense fire from Mk III Panzers one of which closed on them rapidly but inexplicably then fell back and drove off.

    This is what happened to the tanks.
  20. Verrieres

    Verrieres no longer a member

    A Sqn (Major Banks) in trying to get round Capuzzo with 9 DLI met twenty five Panzers III and IV and lost twelve of his fourteen tanks. A small force comprising three RHQ Matildas and the Recce Officer's light tank stormed Capuzzo Fort led by the CO doing much damage; but they were driven off. Next morning the fourth, heavily attacked by 15 Pz Div, fought a delaying action to the Pass, the front stabilizing at Buq Buq.

    Hi, Bob
    Just looked in read the account re-the tanks...I`m sure this is a mis-print or perhaps deals with a latter action? 9DLI were not at Capuzzo and did not sail for the Mid- east until 20th May 1941.Sorry to nit pick

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