Memorial to Bute’s second Great War victim

A simple wooden cross pays tribute to Captain Claude Gray Buchanan, who was killed on November 4, 1914.
A simple wooden cross pays tribute to Captain Claude Gray Buchanan, who was killed on November 4, 1914.

A simple wooden cross was laid in the ‘garden of remembrance’ at Rothesay’s war memorial this week as a mark of respect for Bute’s second victim of the First World War.

The cross was laid by members of the island’s Legion Scotland branch a hundred years on from the death of Captain Claude Gray-Buchanan, who was killed on November 4, 1914, having previously been reported missing.

Captain Gray-Buchanan was the eldest son of Lieutenant Corporal M.R. Gray-Buchanan, of Ettrickdale, near Port Bannatyne.

He was born on February 11, 1878, and was educated at Harrow from 1892-96, afterwards going to the Royal Military College at Sandhurst.

He passed first out of the latter and was gazetted an unattached Second Lieutenancy in July 1898. He served his probationary period with the Hampshire Regiment at Lundi Khotal (Khyber Pass) and on the North-West Frontier in India, joining the Indian Staff Corps in 1899.

He served in the Waziristan campaign, North West Frontier of 1901-02, receiving the medal with clasp in recognition of his efforts.

He was promoted to the rank of captain in July 1907 and passed out of the Staff College, Quetta, in December 1913. In August 1914 he was appointed to the HQ staff of the Royal Flying Corps, Expeditionary Force, and in November of that year was attached to the 8th Gurkha Rifles.

Captain Buchanan’s name appears on the North Bute war memorial in Port Bannatyne and on the Neuve-Chappelle Memorial in Pas de Calais in France.

Many of the above details were printed in the Harrovian War Supplement for November 1914.

This week’s simple ceremony followed a similar memorial on October 21 to Corporal Donald McLean of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, the first man from Bute to die in the Great War.