Twinner town honours Aboyne Solider

A Gordon Highlander from Aboyne has been recognised and honoured in Martignas, the town with which Aboyne is presently twinned.

Towards the end of last year the Twinning Association in Aboyne received a request from the Mayor of Martignas for the name of a Scottish soldier who had died in France during the First World War whilst defending France.

The request was straightforward. He asked for the name, age, trade and regiment of a local lad, any battles he had fought in and where he was buried. Fortunately much of the work had already been done and using the internet site Royal Deeside Scotland Great War dead of Aboyne the Association was able to identify Private Ralph Edward Buchan of the 7th Gordon Highlanders who had died at Dermancourt on the Somme on the 27th of July 1916, aged 20.

The site also contained a photo of Ralph and his two brothers. His father was the local blacksmith and a poet. Unfortunately two of his sons did not return from the Great War.

The Gordon Highlander Museum in Aberdeen identified the likely battle in which Ralph had died. It had been a hard battle with many casualties fought in the terrible mud for which the Somme was to be known.

This information was sent to the Mayor of Martignas along with a badge of the Gordon Highlanders and a piece of Gordon tartan. They were then attached to the wreath which was placed on the War Memorial of Martignas.

Martignas has a military garrison within its boundaries which is presently manned by the (French) 13th Parachute Regiment.

They, together with representatives from Senegal, with whom Martignas has links, from America, whose soldiers had been garrisoned in Martignas during the war, and from Germany were all honoured and remembered in a solemn ceremony attended by the Mayor of Martignas and many other local dignatories. The link between Aboyne and Martignas has been further cemented by this act of commemoration. Ralph Buchan, son of Aboyne, has been written into the history books of Martignas.

The Twinning Association in Aboyne made several attempts to find any living relative of Ralph Buchan but were unsuccessful. If anyone can shed any light on this, please do get in touch by emailing, in the first instance, Maureen Forsyth (moforsyth@gmail.com).