In Memoriam: Archibald Carmichael

Photograph of Archibald Carmichael in uniform

Archibald Carmichael

Archibald Carmichael, of Coldstream, died of wounds received in action in France on the 22nd May, 1918, aged 26 years.

Archibald was born in 1892 and attended Bootham School from 1906 to 1908.  At school he played 2nd XII football and was a member of the Natural History society and Photographic club.

In the school Christmas Exhibition of 1906, Archibald won the Workshop Prize for Bookshelves.

The February 1908 issue of the school magazine, “Bootham”, contains  The Seventy-fourth Annual Report of Bootham School (York) Natural History, Literary & Polytechnic Society of January, 1908, including the following:

“CONCHOLOGY.

A. Carmichael has started this term, but as winter is not the time for shell collecting, he has had very little opportunity of doing much.

CHRISTMAS EXHIBITION, 1907. NATURAL HISTORY.

I I. Conchology.—………….F. A. Brockbank shows 23 species of marine shells, and A. Carmichael a tiny but most promising set of six species.

VII. Oology.—First comes F. A. Brockbank, who has collected 38 species, all this year. ………….E. B. Marriage has 40 species, of which 21 have been shown before. ……………………… A. Carmichael comes third with 22 species.”

The February 1909 issue of “Bootham” contains the Seventy-fifth Annual Report OF Bootham School (York) Natural History, Literary & Polytechnic Society. January, 1909, which includes the following:

“NATURAL HISTORY CLUB.

The Ornithological reports of C. N. Levin, A. Carmichael, B. Pickard, R. B. Graham and F. A. Brockbank also deserve mention, for they were all the records of careful observations in various parts of the country.

CONCHOLOGY.

A. Carmichael has increased his collection by 32 species

NATURAL HISTORY DIARIES.

A. Carmichael and B. Pickard’s works both deal with birds and shells, and both have excellent illustrations of the latter.

ZOOLOGY.

Oology has also prospered, and Marriage, Brockbank and Carmichael have good collections.

 PHOTOGRAPHIC CLUB.

The quality and amount of Photography have been better on the whole than last year, and quite up to the average. A. Carmichael and A. H. Pumphrey filled the places on the Committee occupied before by C. Rowntree and E. R. Midgley.”

A report on the School Term in the same issue reports that A Carmichael joined the football committee for the 3rd and 4th teams.  This issue also includes:

“Bene Decessit

ARCHIBALD CARMICHAEL entered in September, 1906, and leaves from the Upper Senior to enter his father’s business. Second X L half-back; hobby, conchology.”

We next hear of Archibald in the March 1915 issue of “Bootham”:

“Bootham School War Lists. Under Military Discipline:—

[Those whose rank is not stated may or may not be privates.]

CARMICHAEL, A., Lothian Border Horse. Trooper.”

 In “Bootham” of March 1916, we read:

 “Bootham School War Lists. Under Military Discipline :—

[Those whose rank is not stated may or may not be privates.]

Carmichael, A., Trooper, Lothian Border Horse, 26th Division.”

and in the section “Across the Months”, we hear from Archibald himself:

“A. CARMICHAEL was in the neighbourhood of Salonika when he wrote on February 13th. He says that his chief employment is ” touring Europe at British Government expense. To be a little more precise, I was mobilised with the Territorial Forces when war broke out, and for a year the regiment (the Lothians and Border Horse) was on coast-defence work.”  After being in France he was sent to Greece. ” Since landing on December 18th we have lain at four camps. Six weeks at L. is, however, the only period worth mentioning. Our duties were to patrol the whole country between the entrenching camp and S., on a front of roughly eight miles. . . . Villages are dotted all over the hills, and look quite pretty with their brown-tiled and white chimneyed houses ; and a minaret, purest white, in the clear sunlight. . . . The people, mostly Turks, are civil and even courteous on occasion, our officers having been regaled with honey and coffee. .. . I have been reading the December number of BOOTHAM. I might go on to tell of the joys and sorrows of this life—natural Turkish baths; soakings, and the subsequent drying; parcels from home ; days on the hills, when the sun shines from a sky of purest blue, and a keen wind makes one’s ears tingle with the breath of the snowmantled mountains; and, best of all, I think, a good batch of letters. ” A. C. regards a hot sulphur spring as a great boon, a small swimming-bath about 15 ft. in diameter and 4 ft. deep. There has been plenty of snow in his district. One day, when they were lunching, three eagles settled near them (absit omen!)”

Archibald wrote again, as we read in “Bootham” of October 1916:

“A. CARMICHAEL sends a confession from Greece that he experienced nervousness on seeing some of his sentences in print in BOOTHAM. He begs for mercy this time, as literary aspirations suffer under the strain of Macedonia’s summer heat. So we will only add that in July he longed for strawberries and cream at the Cocoa Work s party ten days after he had lost four teeth in twenty-five minutes to a Greek-American dentist in Salonika.”

We hear more of Archibald in “Bootham” of June 1917:

Bootham Oversea

A. CARMICHAEL (1906-1909) writes from Salonica, where he is as contented as he can be “under war conditions,”though longing” for a sight of the home folk and familiar surroundings.” Of his recent doings he says : “We have just got settled after an eight days’ march from a precautionary front where nothing happened, to one where guns boom and roar without stop, and aircraft are very active. Our camp is in a safe and cosy corner of hills and work is at present light. Our principal duty is to guard a station on the shore of a now famous lake. A few kilometres distant is the town it served in peace time, which is in Bulgar hands. They have a magnificent position, which I should think only a huge artillery preparation and considerable sacrifice of life could reduce.” There was a great air fight yesterday, a dozen or so machines taking part; only at intervals were they overhead, and we could not make much out of the general mess-up. A few bits of shells came whistling down near us.” A few days ago I had a note from A. S. Jennings; he is in General Hospital at Salonika.” It is not long since A. C. was himself in hospital with malaria, and has only just escaped the same fate a short time before writing.

Across the Months

A. S. JENNING sent good wishes for Whitsuntide from the Salonika district, where he has met CARMICHAEL looking very fit.”

In “Bootham” of May 1918, we hear more of Archibald:

“Bootham Oversea

ARNOLD S. JENNINGS (1907-11) writes most interestingly from Salonika, where he has at last been run to earth after many and devious postal pursuits. He refers to this epistolary game of Hare and Hounds as follows: “The idea of invoking the aid of ‘ The Hielan Laddie ‘ [the ' H. L.' is ARCHIE CARMICHAEL (1906-9)] was fine, and you see it has proved successful. He visited me some months ago and I had a very pleasant hour with him. But from the time I saw him clamber upon a W.D . motor lorry and begin his bumpy journey to town I have neither seen nor heard of him. Where has he vanished to? I rather think he must be in England. “This surmise is correct. A. CARMICHAEL is at present training for a Commission in the R.F.A., near Exeter. “

Later in the same issue we read:

“O.Y.S. War-time Service Lists.

Old York Scholars serving in the Navy and Army.

Carmichael, A., Sec. Lieut., R.F.A.”

However it was not long before “Bootham” of July 1918 reported:

“Bootham Oversea

It may be remembered that in a previous letter A. S. J. referred affectionately to ” The Hielan’ Laddie” (ARCHIE CARMICHAEL). It was with very real sorrow that we received from Mrs. Carmichael the sad news that her son Archie had died of wounds on May 22nd. Those of us who were privileged to be counted amongst his friends know how true that friendship was. Both as a boy and as a man he was remarkable for his unfailing good temper and for his steadfastness. We shall miss him greatly, but though his physical presence has passed away from us, there is still left to us his example. It is an example of courage and of comradeship, two qualities of inestimable value in the world to-day. B.P.

 In Memoriam

ARCHIBALD CARMICHAEL (1906-8). His father wrote the sad news on May 23rd that Archie died of wounds the day before.” We had a letter from him this morning dated 18th, when he was well and on duty, so he has not been long.”

 Deaths

CARMICHAEL.—On the 22nd May, 1918, of wounds received in action in France, Archibald Carmichael (1906-8), aged 26.”

The December 1918 issue of “Bootham” contains the following “In Memoriam”:

“ARCHIBALD CARMICHAEL (1906-08). Everybody liked Archie. He had a real genius for friendship, and a fund of good humour that made him a friend worth having. At work he combined a true zest for certain subjects with a capacity for not taking life too seriously; at play, whether it was on the field at Bootham, during an N.H. excursion, or beside his beloved Tweed at home, he was keenness itself, taking a live interest in what was going forward, and always ready and anxious to share that interest with others. Sociability was perhaps his chief characteristic.

At the outbreak of war Archie was in camp with his Territorial regiment, the Lothian and Border Horse. He expected to go to France at once, but it was not till November, 1915, that he left this country, and then for Salonika. Here he stayed for about two years, and his letters showed that he was making the most of his experiences, and observing nature and human nature as was his wont. Occasionally he would betray his longing for the Old Country, and when at last he came home for his commission his joy in the old places and old faces knew no bounds. But his sojourn in England passed all too rapidly, and in the spring of this year, having been gazetted to the R.F.A., he went once more to the front, this time to France. He had not been away a month before the news reached home that he had died of wounds on May 22nd. He will be sorely missed by some of us to whom his genial comradeship meant much, and there is no way of showing our loyalty to his memory that would please him more than by increasing our loyalty to the school he loved so well.   B. P.”

Second Lieutenant Archibald Carmichael of the Royal Field Artillery is buried at Vignacourt British Cemetery, Somme, France.

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