Mystery soldier identified

Centre: Captain William Magnus Russell, MBE, to his left, Hilda Anderson Russell, and to his right, Margaret Parry Russell
Centre: Captain William Magnus Russell, MBE, to his left, Hilda Anderson Russell, and to his right, Margaret Parry Russell

The mystery soldier printed in the Piper nostalgia just over a month ago has been recognised as a man from Banchory who was awarded an MBE.

He was Captain William Magnus Russell, a Lieutentant of the Gordon Highlanders in WWI, in which he was wounded. He worked in the timber industry in Africa for a while, before returning to Banchory to be a Labour Manager. He served as a Captain in the Home Guard in WWII.

The picture was taken outside Buckingham Palace in 1942 or 1943. It was printed in our nostalgia section, reversed and cropped.

Replicated as it was taken, William is with his sister and sister-in-law. The lady on the left is Hilda Russell Anderson, who worked in Banchory as a teacher. The lady on the right is Margaret Parry Russell, who married William’s youngest brother. (Where our cropped version of the image came from is a mystery, unsolved due to the complete turnaround of Piper staff in June.)

Banchory resident Mike Robson noticed William’s picture, and informed Euan Russell, the man’s nephew, who visited the Piper office while on holiday in Deeside to tell us about his uncle.

William was the eldest son of William and Margaret Russell, who owned and operated D Russell & Sons on the corner of Dee Street - he was born on October 30, 1892, and died on August 20, 1956, when he sadly took his own life.

William was cremated in Aberdeen, and is commemorated in the Banchory Ternan Cemetery. His award of the MBE was published in the Supplement to the London Gazette, on January 1, 1942.