Census 1911 at School Brae, David Carmichael (19) born Govan, Clerk, Whinstone Quarry. Son of David (42) Blacksmith’s striker, Forth Bridge and Annie (42). Judging by ages of children they had then been in North Queensferry for 17 years.
Although here is no evidence to prove it, it seems probable that David enlisted in the Seaforths at the same time as John Rankine. Their service numbers are close together. The Seaforths Medal Roll of Honour lists them consecutively.
David enlisted in Edinburgh and his Medal Index Card shows that he landed in France on the 5th December 1915.
Both John and David were serving with the Seaforths in November 1916 as part of 152 Brigade part of the 51st Highland Division. This division had the unfortunate nickname of Harper’s Duds. Having been given the name during the failed attacks on High Wood on the Somme in July/August 1916 – named after the Divisional Commander Major General Sir Montagu Harper.
On the morning of Monday 13th November 1916, the Seaforths were one of the lead battalions positioned in the British front line near Hawthorn Ridge close to the village of Beaumont Hamel. They were flanked on the left by the 8th Argyll’s and on the right by the 6th Black Watch. Their objective was to capture the village of Beaumont Hamel – which had been an objective for the British since the 1st July 1916.
There are many accounts of this battle and of note is the fact that the weather was described as atrocious, with heavy rain, thick mist and mud with a consistency of porridge.
History records at the end of the day that the village of Beaumont Hamel (or more accurately its broken ruins) were in British hands.
Unfortunately, neither David nor John lived long enough to witness their success.
They were both killed in action on the day and are buried close together in Mailly Wood Cemetery, in Mailly-Maillet on the Somme.