WW1 display at Dunninald

John Raymond Evelyn Stansfeld (left) with a colleague during his service in France.
John Raymond Evelyn Stansfeld (left) with a colleague during his service in France.

The story of a Montrose colonel is being told at his family home to mark the centenary of the outbreak of World War One.

A exhibit currently been shown at Dunninald Castle, just outside of Montrose, in memory of Lieutenant-Colonel Raymond Evelyn Stansfeld, who died in action in 1915.

Stansfeld was a member of the Gordon Highlanders Second Battalion and the display is made up of artefacts from the Stansfeld family archives.

These include letters Stansfeld sent home, four hats - three German and one French - he retrieved from the front line and photographs he took during his service.

In one letter he wrote: “I must describe my Christmas day to you, which was most unique and very interesting...I waved for one of the Germans to come across and talk, which he did. We met in the middle but beyond shaking hands and laughing at one another, we could not say very much as we were both ignorant of the other’s language. Henry (big drummer) who is my orderly with Piper Stuart was with us... [and Harold Sprot]... About 20 came across... They were Bavarians and Hanoverians, 15th, 115th and 158th Regiments... They were very cheery and laughed at nothing, in fact merriment was rather forced on both sides... the next division was not so fortunate, and about a mile from us, they were fighting as usual.”

Mary Stansfeld said: “The centenary of the start of World War One gave us a fantastic opportunity to put on a display using family artefacts.

“It is not very often that people get to see primary sources of history, and that is what we have on display.

“It is interesting because people can see first hand what these men would have used rather than looking through a history book.”

John Raymond Evelyn Stansfeld was the born on April 20, 1880. He received his education at Uppingham and the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst. He was gazetted as second Lieutenant to the Second Battalion of the Gordon Highlanders on April 18, 1899. He was made temporary Lieutenant-Colonel on June 23, 1915.

While leading his men into action at Loos on September 25, 1915, Stansfeld was wounded. He died three days later. He is buried at Chocques Military Cemetery in France.

The display runs until Sunday, July 27.