11 October 2011
7162 Pte Alexander Burns, Royal Highlanders
I've written about 7162 Private Alexander Burns before. Since that post, I've managed to retrieve his Boer War medal rolls from Ancestry, and also his First World War medal index card. I looked in vain on WO 363 and WO 364 for a surviving service record, and also checked WO 97 over at findmypast.co.uk on the offchance that there might be something there that had been mis-filed. There wasn't. I did however, find papers in WO 96 which show that Alexander joined the Forfar and Kincardine Artillery (militia) on the 11th October 1898. He signed his name as "Alex Burns", giving his age as 17 years and 11 months and his place of birth as Dundee. He was a mill-worker employed by Mr Scott of Dundee; not a lot to go on in terms of research leads, but at least it's a lead of sorts.
Alex was slight. He stood five feet, five and a half inches tall and weighed 109lbs (which is just seven stones and 11 pounds). He had a fresh complexion, grey eyes and brown hair. A scar on the second finger of his right hand is also recorded.
Alex's attestation was approved at Perth on the 12th October 1898 but he was barely with the regiment before he joined the Royal Highlanders on the 20th January 1899. He had completed 49 days of drill and his character was noted as "good".
There are only four pages of this service record that survive in WO 96 but crucially, on page four, Alex's father is recorded as Frank Burns of 17 Arbroath Road, Dundee. This again, should enable further research.