Special Collections

Sold between 19 July & 1 March 2017

3 parts


The Julian Johnson Collection

Julian Johnson, FRGS

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№ 228


10 May 2017

Hammer Price:

Four: Lieutenant-Colonel P. MacDuff, Royal Highlanders, who, aged 58, commanded the 1/7th Battalion Black Watch in France throughout 1915

British War and Victory Medals (Lt. Col. P. MacDuff.); Volunteer Force Long Service Medal, E.VII.R. (Major P. MacDuff. 6/V.B. Rl. Hdrs); Territorial Decoration, E.VII.R., unnamed, hallmarks for London 1912, with integral top riband bar, generally good very fine (4) £280-320

This lot was sold as part of a special collection, The Julian Johnson Collection.

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Provenance: Glendinings, June 1991.

Peter MacDuff was born in Perth, Scotland, in 1858. He was employed for 32 years as a Headmaster at Lochgelly, and died in October 1930. His obituary adds the following detail:

‘The funeral of Lieut. Col. Peter MacDuff, formerly of 1/7th Black Watch, took place on Saturday from his home in Lundin Links to Ballingry Cemetery, Lochgelly.

A large number of members of the Fife Territorial battalion were among the mourners... Mr. MacDuff’s death occasioned regret in Lochgelly, where he accomplished his life-work. He was headmaster of Lochgelly East School for 32 years, having been appointed to that post from the first assistantship of Bathgate Academy in 1889.

Apart from his scholastic duties he became particularly well known as a volunteer. Shortly after his arrival in Lochgelly he was commissioned a Second Lieut. in the Lochgelly company of the Fifeshire Rifle Volunteers. When the Territorial Act was passed he had risen to be in command of the company, at which time he held the rank of Honorary Major. During these years he shot regularly in the company shooting match, which was then among the best in Scotland. He was a frequent prize-winner at Fife Rifle Association’s annual meeting at Kincraig Links, and several times took part in the national competitions at Bisley.

When war broke out he led the Lochgelly company of the Fife Territorial Battalion, which by then had come to be known as the 7th Black Watch. In 1915 he went with the Battalion to France when he was 58 years of age. An active campaign quickly told on him, and near the end of the same year he was invalided home. He took up duties again in the school, but after a short time he again went to France, this time in charge of a battalion engaged in pioneer work. Later the deceased was appointed to the command of the 3/7th Reserve Battalion of the Black Watch stationed at Ripon, Yorkshire, and when his battalion amalgamated to make up the 4/5th Reserve Battalion of the Black Watch he finally passed back to civil life and carried on his duties as headmaster of the East School. On reaching the age of 64 he retired from teaching and went to live at Lundin Links.... When the Lochgelly War Memorial was unveiled he was invited to lead the march of the ex-Service men, and Mrs MacDuff laid the first wreath on the memorial.... During the war and while in France his youngest daughter died, and his second son, Lieut. William MacDuff, was killed in action.’ (copy of newspaper cutting included with lot refers)