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May 1916. He was
only a few months in
France when he fell,
killed by a stray shell,
at Beaumont Hamel,
5 November 1 9 1 6.
His Colonel wrote of
him : " By his death
I have lost an ex-
cellent officer who was
most valuable and effi-
cient, and was one
who was remarkably
cool and brave under
fire on all occasions ".
BIRSS, NORMAN : Sergeant, 7th Bat-
talion Gordon Highlanders ; son of James
Birss, police con-
stable, Skene ; born
Skene, 13 July 1893;
educated Gordon's
College ; student in
Arts, 1912-14.
He joined the Ter-
ritorials in 191 1, and
was mobilized 5 August
1 9 14, with the 7th
Battalion Gordon
Highlanders. Birss
went with his Battalion
to Bedford, where he
remained till May 1915, then proceeded to
France, where he was killed in action at Beau-
mont-Hamel, on the Somme Front, 13 November
1 9 16. His Company officer wrote of him:
" He was an efficient and intelligent soldier, and
one likely to rise in rank rapidly, had he been
spared ".
Lieutenant, 5th Battalion Gordon High-
landers ; son of Alexander Ferguson, painter ;
born Peterhead, 20 October 1887 ; educated at
Peterhead Academy ; entered Aberdeen Univer-
sity 1905 ; graduated M.A. with honours in
Mathematics, 1909; B.Sc, 1910. He was a
keen student of nature, took a special course of
Botany at Oxford University, and had gathered
much valuable material concerning the Flora of
Banffshire with a view to its publication. Fer-
guson proved himself a very successful teacher,
doing good work at
Aberlour, Nairn and
Sharpe's Institute,
Perth ; he took up the
Boy Scout movement
with great enthusiasm
and was popular with
both parents and
In April 19 15 he en-
listed in his old Col-
lege Company, the 4th
Gordon Highlanders,
was later commissioned
in the 5th Battalion and thereafter was appointed
Musketry Officer. Ferguson went through his
training at Aberdeen, Peterhead and Ripon and
crossed to France in 1916, took part in the early
Somme Battles and was killed in action at Beau-
mont-Hamel, 13 November 19 16.
Battalion Gordon Highlanders ; son of T.
R. Gillies, advocate in
Aberdeen ; born Aber-
deen, 29 July 1886 ;
educated at the Gram-
mar School ; matricu-
lated, 1904; B.L.,
1908 ; served his ap-
prenticeship with
Messrs. C. & P. H.
Chalmers, Advocates,
and Messrs. Tods,
Murray & Jamieson,
W.S., Edinburgh;
member of the Society
of Advocates in Aberdeen and a partner in
business with his father.
While at King's College he enlisted in the
University Company of the 4th Gordon High-
landers and subsequently became Brigade Signal-
ling Officer, retiring in 191 2 with the rank of
Captain. Immediately on the outbreak of war,
although his health at the time gave cause for
anxiety, he rejoined his Battalion with his
former rank of Captain, and was retained as
Adjutant to the reserve unit for over a year.

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