Shamrocks, Thistles, and the odd English Rose.

From The Afghan War of 1878 to the War in Iraq 2003 This section covers the military careers of family members who served their Country during both war and peacetimes

(Where permission is granted!!)

The Buchanans



My great grandfather Pte John Buchanan, The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles). John enlisted at the outbreak of WW1 and served with the 2nd Battalion of the Cameronians. He was wounded whilst taking part in the Battle of Aubers Ridge in Fromelles, France. John Buchanan also fought at the Somme in July of 1916 and in 1917 took part in the Battle of Ypers.

He returned home in 1919 and was awarded The 1914/15 Star, The British War Medal and The Victory Medal.



John Bleakley was a Merchant seaman aged sixty four when he was drowned in October of 1914. His ship HMHS Rohilla was sunk as it made it way to France to pick up the wounded from the British Army’s retreat from Mons. (His story can be read in "THE ROHILLA DISASTER" section)

He had only one son, John who survived him. he was in a reserved occupation as a shipbuilder and it is not known if he served in the military during the Great War.

Two of John's three grandsons went on to serve during World War 2. Due to a reserved occupation as a a shipbuilder at the start of the  War, William Bleakley served with the home guard in Partick. He was first refused entry into the Royal Navy because of his shipbuilding trade, and eventualy he was accepted into the army. He joined the local 6th Battalion The H.L.I. (The Glasgow Regt) which at the time was made up of mostly men from the shipyards of Partick and Whiteinch.  After finishing his basic training he was transferred to the 2nd Battalion of The Gordon Highlanders who were about to be posted overseas to the Middle East, The Regiment sailed from the UK aboard the troopship “Regina Del Pacifico” which took them to Algiers, Here they boarded the “Princess Kathleen” which took them to Tripoli. and ending up in Palestine. After almost two years service with the colours he was demobbed and returned home in December of 1946 and remained on the Army Reserve until 1959.

Medals / Awards

1939/45 British War Medal

Defence Medal


In October of 1941 the second grandson Samuel Bleakley joined the army and served as 1131598 Gunner Samuel Bleakley with the Royal Artillery.   On the 15th of July 1942 Samuel left the UK and landed in Egypt were he served with 53rd Field Regiment, R.A. as part of 7th Armoured Division (The Desert Rats), Middle East Forces. Here his unit would take part in almost all the desert battles including Tripoli and the most famous one of the war, El Alemien At the start of 1943 he was sent to Italy, again his unit would take part in battle, this time Monte Cassino. Months later his unit was sent back to the Middle East, and later on to North Africa. In July of 1945 Samuel was transferred to 71st Field Regiment until his return to the UK a month later. He was finally released to the Army reserve in March 1946.

With the Korean War just about starting Sammy re-enlisted in 1950 and served as 1/22295699 Driver Bleakley, Royal Army Service Corps. With the R.A.S.C he served at the Depot and qualified as a Grade 1 Drill Instructor and promoted to Lance Corporal. He later applied for a transfer and was posted to Germany and served with 112 and 118 Company R.A.S.C. He finally left the army in 1953. He never made it to Korea.


1939/45 Star

Africa Star (8th Army Bar)

Italy Star

1939/45 British War Medal

It is not known if the third and oldest grandson John served during WW2.


The next known Bleakley to serve in the military was another Samuel. The grandson of William, He joined 221 Squadron RCT (V) based at Yorkhill Parade in Glasgow. Samuel went on to serve in the Iraq War in 2003 and returned for a second tour in 2004. Sammy still serves today with 221 and has been recently promoted to Sergeant, he is currently serving in Cyprus as part of the  United Nations peacekeeping forces.







Volunteer Reserve Service Medal

(plus 2 bars)

The Queens Golden Jubilee Medal

The Iraq Medal (with Clasp)

UN Medal (Cyprus)




In 1914 with the First World War just started, the Eaglesham brothers joined up in force, Todd Eaglesham along with his brothers John, William and Daniel, inlisted with the Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) and the other brothers Mathew went to the Argyle and Sutherland Highlanders and James to the Highland Light Infantry (The Glasgow Battalion). But Daniel according to his army records I managed to obtain from the National Archives in Kew, was later transferred to the 11th Battalion Royal Scots Fusiliers and then to 8th Battalion Kings Own Scottish Borderers and eventually to the 10th Battalion Highland Light Infantry. It was with the HLI that in 1918 he was sent to France, only to be sent back home some months later after being wounded at the front line. He was discharged from the army in March of 1919

Todd and younger brother John headed for the battlefields of France with the 10th Battalion of The Cameronians.  Todd was soon to prove himself as a soldier and before long was promoted to sergeant.  A fighter by nature he was in December of 1916 awarded “The Military Medal"


Medals issued to Todd Eaglesham .Military Medal, 1914 Star, British War Medal & The Victory Medal                                                                                                          


Sadly two years later on the 28th of March he was killed in action in the battle of Arras. One Historian described that day as “If ever the lid was lifted from hell, then the 28th of March 1918 was the day it happened”  Another quote from the book on the history of The Tenth Battalion, The Cameronians it reads

“ At the same time the battalion lost a most devoted and gallant NCO in Sgt Eaglesham, the provost sergeant, who had been with the battalion from the first. He also had won the military Medal”.

The award of the Military Medal to Todd was published in the London Gazette (copy below) on the 9th December 1916.

There are a couple of pages on what happened, and a report from a public meeting in Edinburgh in 1919 where Earl Haig referred to 'one of the most gallant of the minor incidents of the battle was a counter attack by a single company of the 10th battalion Scottish Rifles.'
The counter attack was by C company under Capt Munro towards the Feuchy Chapel crossroads. The order was countermanded and the company had to disengage from a considerably superior enemy. Capt Robb and Lt Robb who was wounded both won the Military Cross, and Sgt Barlow The Distinguished Conduct Medal, the latter accounted for fifteen of the enemy with his own rifle during the withdrawal.
The original company position had been astride the Arras Cambrai road. this 'line' consisted of incomplete trenches, in most places 3 feet deep and about 7 feet wide. they found 55 newly arrived men waiting for them. These were posted for the night to the reserve Company - C. Many of them were destined to remain unknown to them by name, for at 3am an intensive enemy bombardment of gas and high explosive shell opened, killing most and causing numerous casualties.
Lt Col Stanley Clarke was awarded an immediate bar to his DSO following this action.
Sergeant Todd Eaglesham is shown in the book as getting his Military Medal on 16th of September 1916. The same day that the tank had been used for the very first time ever in the battlefield. This possibly followed the 10th Battalions involvement on 15th Sept 1916......tanks and Scotsmen....a potent force!

John Eaglesham, (Who according to family sources was said to have falsified his birth lines and fought in in South Africa during the Boer War) was later transferred to the Gordon Highlanders where he served until he was pensioned out of the army in October of 1918 after being badly wounded in France.  John’s brother in law Robert Pickles was killed at the Battles of Loos in September of 1915 whilst serving with the 12th Battalion Highland Light Infantry


Below.The obituary that appeared in the Glasgow Evening Times in 1918 For Sgt John Todd Eaglesham, the William Eaglesham is not known to be related



 2025 Private MatthewEaglesham, Argyle and Sutherland Highlanders. Matthew was killed by a train in January of 1942 whilst clearing snow from the railway tracks , His son, also named Matthew joined the 9th Battalion Cameronians (SR) during WW2. On the 4th of October 1042, aged 33, He was killed during a German bomb raid that was targeting the shipyards of the Clyde. He was buried along side his father in Cardonald Cemetery (Section D. grave 170)


John Eaglesham's son also called John served in World War 2. At this moment in time I have very little about him as yet but have been told stories of how he was the Army Boxing Champion of India, his family still have the Silver winners cup at home to prove it. He served in India and Burma were he fought against the Japanese forces

John Eaglesham. Burma


Three of the four Todd brothers enlisted when World War Two broke out,  Joseph Todd enlisted on the 27th of March 1940 in Glasgow. On April 18th he reported to the Infantry Training Centre at Berwick on Tweed were he underwent four months of training. On completion of this he was posted to the 6th Battalion Kings Own Scottish Borderers based at Clacton on Sea, then only days later to the 8th Battalion . Joseph never took to the military life and on four occasions he was reported AWOL loosing  a total of sixteen days pay. In February of 1942 he was downgraded as unfit and transferred to the Pioneer Corps and posted to Stromness No12 Training Centre at Pheasey Farm in Birmingham, Again he lost six days for being AWOL. After more training he was posted to 98 Company Pioneer Corps in Lockerbie. He was here until December 1943 when he was arrested for the theft of a lorry load of public property. At his court martial he was sentenced to six months detention.

He remained in the UK building and constructing military camps until July of 1944 when he was posted to 181 COY P.C. On the 11th of August 1944 he landed on the beaches of Normandy under the command of Major D Richardson OC of 181 COY.

                                                                   They spent about a month here unloading stores at various shipping depots. On the 1st of September they moved to the city of Caen, this time working on the construction of railway lines.

On the 3rd of November they moved to Nijmegen in Holland. This city had just seen some of the toughest battles of the war in Europe. Operation Market Garden was launched by the allied forces in order to capture the bridges at Arnhem and Nijmegan to allow them access across the Rhine into Germany (This battle would later be made famous in the film " A bridge to far"). On the 5th of April 1945, 181 COY crossed the Rhine into Griethausen Germany. They moved to the city of Frechen.

Joseph Todd was demobbed from military service on the 25th of March 1946. One month later 181 COY was disbanded in the city of Frechen, Germany


The 1939/45 Star

The France/Germany Star

The Defence medal

The 1939/45 War Medal


Joseph's brother William enlisted into the army in 1941 and joined the 12th Battalion HLI. Later he to  was transferred to The Royal Pioneer Corp (75 Coy) and on the 6th of June 1944 under the command of Major W E Terry landed on Sword Beach, Normandy in what soon became known as D-Day

Under heavy gunfire and constant enemy bombing, his company began laying the tracks that would allow the tanks and vehicles of the British Second Army access onto the beach. During this task they had four men killed and several more badly injured.

By the October of 1944 they where in the city of Caen, where they where employed in the unloading of supplies and looking after the Prisoners Of War camps. Williams younger brother Joseph had been here only weeks before, but had now moved to Holland. On the 8th of November 1944 William and his company moved to the city of Meerhout in Holland, Again missing his brother Joseph who had now moved on o the city of Nijmegen. It was a while serving in Holland that William was informed that his only son, Alfred was missing presumed drowned after falling into the flooded Levern burn whilst playing with a friend.

He was immediately granted leave and returned home. His son’s body was discovered in the "Fitting out basin" of John Brown's Shipyard on the day that William was meant to return to Holland. In January of 1945 William returned to Holland to find that most of the men in his unit had been killed in action. Then on the 10th of March they finally crossed the River Rhine into Germany and the city of Sonsbeck. They stayed here until April

when they headed for the city of Fallingburg. Finally on the 1st of July they entered the capital of Hitler’s Germany.... Berlin.

On the 15th of January 1946 William and 75 COY PIONEER CORP moved to Lohnde as part of the 101st Army Group.

In February of 1946, 75 COY was disbanded and all surviving members where demobbed and returned to the UK. William rarely spoke of his war service and his medals lay unclaimed till after his death. His son William later claimed them


The 1939/45 Star

The France/Germany Star

The Defence medal

The 1939/45 War Medal

The third brother to serve was Neil Todd. When war broke out he was already a serving Territorial with the Cameromians (Scottish Rifles).

Because his first wife had died and he had a young child Neil never served overseas with the military. Little is known at present about his military service.  I hope to recieve his military records soon and will update this section


The 1939/45 War Medal

The Defence Medal

The Efficiency Medal (Territorial) 1951


The fourth  brother Patrick was refused for military service because of  a muscle injury to his leg caused by an accident as a child. He spent the war in London repairing homes damaged during the blitz.


Joseph's eldest son James Todd was called up for National Service in October 1956, it was two days before he left that he married Matilda and joined Royal Army Ordinance Corps. He was sent to Portsmouth and joined 16th Battalion R.A.O.C.

In August 1957 he was attached to the Royal Army Veterinary Corps and sent to Stirling where he served the remainder of his service as a dog handler.

About four months before he was due to leave the army he was arrested for the theft of military rail travel warrants. He was court marshalled and sentenced to 28 days detention at Maryhill Barracks in Glasgow.

When he was released from service in November 1958 he enlisted into the 6/7th Battalion Cameronians (Scottish Rifles). After about a year with the Cameronians he transferred to the 6th Battalion Highland Light Infantry. He finally left the military on the 10th of May 1962

The oldest grandson of Joseph Todd,  John Todd  enlisted into the REME in January 1981. He left six years later and then again rejoined in 1990, this time enlisting into The Royal Corp Of Transport.(V) In 1993 he was transferred to the newly formed Royal Logistic Corp.

In February 2003 John was called up along wih younger cousin Samuel Bleakley due to the rising conflict in the Middle East. They were both then transferred to 202 Field Hospital and stationed in Kuwait until the conflict with Iraq began, they then moved up and served the rest of the conflict in the city of Basra

They both returned to 221 Transport Squadron in September 2003 but within six months both volunteered  to return to Iraq for a second tour and were  posted to 13 General Transport Squadron, 8 Regiment RLC and served another six month operational tour in Iraq, stationed in the city of Basra.  In January of 2005 they returned to 221 Transport Squadron in Glasgow, John still serves today as "A" troop Admin Sergeant





Volunteer Reserve Service Medal

(plus 2 Bars)

The Queens Golden Jubilee Medal

    The Iraq Medal (with Clasp)



Marine James Todd. son of Hugh Reid Todd and Mary Devlin. not much is known about his military career except he served aboard HMS Angelo in August of 1944 when the above photo was taken.



The Warburton's

Above. A corporal of the 2/8th Regiment of Foot. Afghanistan 1878


Edwin Warburton was born in 1852 in Blackden, Cheshire. One of eleven children born to Thomas Warburton and Martha Moores, He spent his childhood living at 4 Goosbrey Cootage in Blackden, His father was a labourer on the railways and his older brothers worked as labourers on the local farms. Edwin soon joined them and also worked on the farms.

On the 27th of February 1872 Edwin enlisted into the Army at Salford Barracks and became a Private soldier in the 2/8th Regiment of Foot (Kings Liverpool Regiment). In June of 1873 Edwin deserted from the army and was on the run until June 1877 when he was captured. He was eventually court marshalled and sentenced to 56 days. On the 2nd of September 1877, Edwin along with the rest of his regiment, set sail from Portsmouth aboard The Euphrates Ship and headed for India, He finally docked in Bombay on the 23rd of September. He remained in India until April of 1879 when the Regiment was sent to Afghanistan. The regiment was to spend the next two years in Afghan, mostly in the Kuram Valley.

The 8th were involved at the Peiwar Kotal battle (2 Dec 1878), but Edwin missed it.  looking at his military records he was in hospital in Kohar on the 4th of October 1878 suffering from Ague (fever) He was part of the 2 companies under Captain Lewis that stayed behind to garrison Kohat.,

These 2 companies joined the rest of the regiment in the second campaign, after September 1879, in various works and holding the position at the Peiwar Kotal - including some minor actions against Mangals and Jagis.. In the kurram Valley the regiment had suffered quite a bit of illness (usually cholera).According to his records, Edwin himself fell victim to this and also suffered from Dysentery and Hepatitis.

 They returned to India in October 1880 when the Kurram Valley was evacuated and remained there until the 9th of March 1882. The where then posted to Curragh Camp on the outskirts of Dublin where in 1888, Edwin finally left the army after 16 years service. He was awarded the Afghan Medal  it is believed this is where he possibly met his wife Maria.

Above .. 2/8th Regiment of Foot. Afghanistan 1879.

Edwins wife, Maria, was the daughter of Thomas and Mary Murray. Thomas was born in Enniskillen, Ireland.   At Fulwood Barracks, Preston on the 31st of May 1858 at the age of 18, Thomas Murray was attested and joined The 2/22nd Regiment of Foot (now The Cheshire Regiment)

He served in Malta, Gibraltar and India. Maria was born at sea as her parents made there way home from the East Indian island of Mauritius. He left the army in March of 1869 after eleven years service, seven of which where served overseas

In 1909 Edwin Warburton using his mothers surname Murray he joined the 1st Battalion The Queens Own Cameron Highlanders and became 8602 Private Edwin Murray. In 1914 whilst stationed at Edinburgh Castle he married Jean Sutherland in Greyfriar’s Church.  Jean was a domestic servant who originally came from Aberdeen, When Jean’s mother died, her father remarried and Jean along with one of her sisters was put into an orphanage and led a hard life there. Two pearl buttons that she owned where her only treasures. That same year 1914 their first daughter Isabella was born.

When the Great War broke out on the 4th of August 1914, Edwin along with the rest of his battalion found themselves heading to the frontline battlefields of France where they would stay for the whole of the war. It was then that Edwin decided to tell his commanding officer his true identity in a letter he sent to him dated 4th August.

On the 14th of August they landed at Le Harve and Edwin was promoted to lance corporal days later.By September they where part of the infamous retreat of Mons and the very successful counter offensive on the river Marne. The battalion’s first major engagement was the battle of Aisne where they attacked the German lines and lost a total of 151 men.

October 1914 saw them take part in the first battle of Ypres and by December where attacking the Germans at Givenchy. In 1915 at the battle of Loos they where one of the few who broke through the enemy lines but with heavy casualties, the battalion was by now down to 4 officers and less than 200 men.

July of 1916 seen the battalion in bitter fighting at the famous battle of the Somme, again they lost many men and one company alone was down to just twelve men.

In 1917 the where again in battle, this time returning to Ypres and Passchendaele.

1918 seen them yet again at the Somme and fighting in they’re last battle of the war. They attacked the now almost beaten German army across the Sambre and L'Oise canal capturing over 500 men and equipment.

During these four years at war in Europe, Edwin like most of the men where given only a few weeks leave and allowed to return to the UK.

Medals as issued to Edwin Warburton

When the war was over Edwin, by now a corporal returned to Edinburgh for a short while before being posted to Aldershot and then onto Cologne in Germany. He successfully captained the Cameron Highlanders football team here and won the British Army On The Rhine Cup, He was promoted to Sergeant in 1921 and sent back to the UK.

In Aldershot on the fourth of November 1922 his second daughter Helen, pictured right with sister Isobel was born.

In February of 1925 Edwin was posted and attached to 10th (Liverpool Scottish) Battalion. The Kings Regiment (V) as a Permanent Staff Instructor (PSI). He remained with the Liverpool Scottish until his retirement from the army in August of 1933.

He was given the job of caretaker at the TA drill hall in Fraser St and stayed on in Liverpool. It was said that he returned to the military when the Second World War broke out in 1939 and became an Instructor, but I could find no proof of this in his military records that I received from the Army Records office

A large picture (below) of Sjt Edwin Warburton with Sjt W. Brown MM, Regimental Sergeant Major Boston F. Keith and Captain H. Burgen Law hangs in the Liverpool Scottish Museum

Edwins older brother, Thomas, was a Volunteer in the 6th Battalion Highland Light Infantry. He joined in 1907 and served  with the battalion untill 1915 He was transferred to the 7th Battalion Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) and later that year demobbed due to illness, He never served overseas and was awarded the "Silver War Badge" for his services.

Edwin's cousin born in 1869,also named Edwin, had a remarcable career which started in the Royal Navy in 1884 and finished in the battlefields of France at the end of the Great War. you can read his obituary in "The Warburton Family History" section which tells of his  service in the military.



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