George Laing (Towser) DUTHIE


DUTHIE, George Laing

Service Numbers: 748, SN 748
Enlisted: 20 January 1916
Last Rank: Sergeant
Last Unit: 34th Infantry Battalion
Born: 9 Victoria Rd, Torry, Aberdeen, Scotland, 12 December 1891
Home Town: Aberdeen, Scotland, United Kingdom
Schooling: Walker Street, Torry, Aberdeen
Occupation: Sergeant AIF 34th Battalion
Died: Killed in Action, Villers-Bretonneux, France, 4 April 1918, aged 26 years
Cemetery: No known grave - "Known Unto God"
Memorials: Australian War Memorial, Roll of Honour, Villers-Bretonneux Memorial (Australian National Memorial - France)
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World War 1 Service

20 Jan 1916: Involvement Private, SN 748, 34th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
20 Jan 1916: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 748, 34th Infantry Battalion
2 May 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 748, 34th Infantry Battalion, --- :embarkation_roll: roll_number: '17' embarkation_place: Sydney embarkation_ship: HMAT Hororata embarkation_ship_number: A20 public_note: ''
8 Jul 1917: Promoted AIF WW1, Sergeant, 34th Infantry Battalion
26 Nov 1917: Wounded Sergeant, SN 748, 34th Infantry Battalion
4 Apr 1918: Involvement Sergeant, SN 748, 34th Infantry Battalion, Villers-Bretonneux

From Torry to NSW

George Laing Duthie was my grandmother's older brother. He was born at 9 Victoria Rd, Torry, Aberdeen, Scotland. His father John was a cooper making barrels for the herring fish caught in the North of Scotland and for a short time ran a small grocers business at 181 Victoria Road, Torry, Aberdeen. The Duthies originally came from Rosehearty and were fishing people. It's not known why George left for Australia at the young age of approx 15 but it's likely that there were family already living in NSW who he would have stayed with. It is possible that the fall in herring catches may have been a reason to emigrate as work was in short supply.

George had a good friend Charlie who wrote to George's parents John and Bella Duthie after his death, having visited the Duthie family previously. I am keen to learn more about Charlie so have added photos of some of the AIF guys in the hope that someone out there maybe able to identify the others and learn more about George's time in Australia.
I have also included copies of the postcards Charlie sent to the family which may be of interest to other family history researchers.

As with all fishing communities in the North of Scotland each person had a T name which identified the children within each family - so many sons had the same name as their fathers, grandfathers and great grandfathers, they needed a way to know who was who and T names resulted. George's father's T name was Sammy.

I have also included a photo of the Duthie family, minus George's father John Duthie and you can see the strain on his Mother's face - I assume this was a brief visit home by George before the big battle in 1918.

John Duthie never got over the death of his son and on John's headstone is an inscription to his son - I assume the body was never repatriated but need to verify this if possible.

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