Eldest son of Alexander Paton and Helen Duncan, William was born October 1893 in Stone Rows, Oakley, Fifeshire, Scotland.
William and his brother James found themselves in France during World War 1
Letters from William to his Father and Brother shows their closeness as a family, especially as their Mother had passed away in 1907.
14/9/1916 – No.3816 Pte W D Paton – 10 Platoon – C. Company – 4/5th Black Watch – B. E. F. France
This is a short note for you in answer to your letter which I received alright. You will see that my address has changed again but this address will get me all the time I am out here. I am getting along fine after our first turn in the trenches and we are out just now in a rest camp so it is alright. Well Father, I will write Jim and let him know how things are, but I thought that I would have a chance of seeing him out here, there is some of the R. F. A. out here beside us but they are English. but there is some of the Dunfermline Boys out here close beside us.
Well Father this is about all the news I have at present but please send me on the socks I asked for. I will close now so Bye, Bye, at present
From your loving Son Billie
With Best Regards Write soon, soon,
Dear Jim, This is just a short note for you just to let you know that I have not forgotten you although it is such a long time since I wrote you a letter but never mind Jim Father has always let me know how you were getting along I had a letter from him this week and he is getting along alright. Well Jim you will see that I am in a new mob now and we have had our first time in the trenches and got along all but there is a big difference in this crowd then in the last lot.
Harry is still getting along fine and is in the same Company as I am, he is a great card and always wishes he could meet you for to get a laugh. I wrote to Kate Evans and she was telling me in her letter that Jim is in England and that David is still getting on fine and she was asking for you, Jim the next time you write to Father you can tell him that I have managed to write to you for he was giving me a telling off for not writing but I have managed at last.
Well Jim I will have to close now as this is about all the news I have at present but I hope to here from you as soon as possible and I might have a chance of meeting you yet and I hope so for I would like to see you once again but buck up Kid this can’t last much longer now. I will close now Jim with Fondest Regards.
From your Loving Brother Billie
Write soon, soon
P.S. Have you heard about the marriage between Alf and Nettie Allan it is the talk of the place as far as I here out here for Harry got a cutting out of a paper with the news on it.
Bye, Bye, Jim
Jim you might let me know how the girl is getting along when you write.
Another letter that William’s father received was from the Territorial Force Record Office, Perth Station, 10th September, 1917
Sir, It is my painful duty to inform you that a report has this day been received from the War Office notifying the death of No. 241,238 (Old No. 3815) Rank: Private
Name: William D Paton Regiment: 5th Battalion, The Black Watch which occurred In the Field on the 14th day of October, 1916, and I am to express to you the sympathy and regret of the Army Council at you loss. The cause of death was Killed in Action (Burial reported by IV Corps Burial Officer) …
Death: Oct. 14, 1916 Inscription: Black Watch (Royal Highlanders) Note: 241238 Burial: Thiepval Memorial Thiepval Picardie Region, France Plot: Pier and Face 10 A.
Victory Medal and British Medal – Roll. G/102 B23 Page 1918
Capture Northern part of Schwaben Redoubt
On 14 October, the 4th/5th Black Watch and the 1st Cambridge of the 118th Brigade and the 17th King’s Royal Rifle Corps of the 117th Brigade, attacked the north side of the redoubt. The troops advanced over the open and captured the last part of the redoubt by 11:00 p.m., taking about 150 prisoners of II Battalion, Reserve Infantry Regiment 110. Three German counter-attacks on 15 October, supported by Flammenwerfer were defeated.
(Miles, W. (1938). Military Operations, France and Belgium, 1916: 2nd July 1916 to the End of the Battles of the Somme. History of the Great War Based on Official Documents by Direction of the Historical Section of the Committee of Imperial Defence II (IWM & Battery Press 1992 ed.). London: HMSO. ISBN 0-90162-776-3.)
James was injured in the war but survived to immigrate to Australia with his father, wife and son, named after his loving brother, William Duncan Paton