A MOTHERWELL woman spoke this week of the hero brother she never knew, who died during World War I, and how her family are overjoyed he will be remembered forever at Craigneuk War Memorial.
Emily Breslin (93) was born on May 27, 1918, around the same time her 20-year-old brother Private James Gebbie was shot by a German while serving for the Gordon Highlanders 4th Battalion.
Her mother, also Emily, heard the news while in labour and had to request a doctor - which was unusual in those days as midwives dealt with births - to help her deliver Emily due to the stress of hearing she had lost her son.
It is believed he died in The German Spring Offensive Battle or The Kaisers Slact Battle as the Germans called it when his kilt - which was the military dress for the Gordon Highlanders during this conflict - got caught in barbed wire ,giving the Germans time to catch up with him before cruelly taking his life.
James had no known grave and was commemorated in the Arras Memorial Pas De Calais in France until his name was recently added to the Craigneuk War Memorial.
Emily said: “There could have been problems from the stress my mum was going through in labour and hearing about James. So I feel very lucky to be here today.”
Emily visited the war memorial to see how the brother she never knew will be remembered forever.
The tragedy hit the family hard with Emily’s other brother John tried to sign up to join the Army after hearing about his brother’s death. At 16, he was too young at the time so he joined as a volunteer before eventually working his way through the ranks to become a sergeant major.
It is clear that the will to fight for your country is something that runs in the family as Emily is also related to William Clamp, a cousin, who was her uncle Charlie’s son.
William is a Victoria Cross holder who fought in World War I and was listed in the Times & Speaker’s MT100, which documented the most influential and well-known people from our circulation area.
For full story, see this week’s Times & Speaker, dated Thursday, November 10.