Diamond War Memorial Project

2nd Lieutenant David Buchanan

2nd Battalion Seaforth Highlanders Regimental Number ----
Born: ---- Died: 1916-07-01 Aged: 23 Enlisted: ------

Interred in Sucrerie Military Cemetery, Colincamps, Somme, France. Name commemorated on the Diamond War Memorial.

Younger son of William and Margaret Bryson (died on September 22, 1927) Buchanan, Alt-an-Aros, Northland Road, Londonderry. Brother of Kathleen Elizabeth (who married the Reverend Gordon Douglas Erskine, B.A., Magheramason, youngest son of Mr Robert Erskine, High Street, Holywood, on April 15, 1915).

David Buchanan was educated at Foyle College, and belonged to First Derry Presbyterian Church.

Joining the 6th Black Watch (Territorial Force) in November 1914, as a private, he saw active service in the trenches of Festubert, and took part in numerous other engagements, with the famous Scottish regiment before he received his commission, in August 1915, on the field in the historic Seaforths in recognition of his merit and service. David Buchanan was in training at Dundee up till the beginning of May 1915, when he accompanied his battalion to the Front. He was promoted Lance Corporal, and while in the trenches was notified of his appointment to commissioned rank.

The Seaforth Highlanders were in the forefront of the British offensive from its opening on July 1, 1916, and Second Lieutenant Buchanan fell with many other officers of his battalion in the fighting that took place on that day. Prior to the war deceased worked as a director in the firm of Buchanan Brothers.

Writing to deceased's father, with reference to the death of his son, the Major of the battalion said, 'Lieutenant Buchanan was killed while leading his men with the utmost gallantry in the attack on July 1st. Nothing could possibly have exceeded his coolness and devotion to duty, and in dying such a heroic, splendid death he in every way proved himself worthy of the traditions and record of the Seaforth Highlanders, and you will, I feel sure, understand that one could not possibly say more than this.'

At the monthly meeting of Derry Port and Harbour Commissioners, held on Friday, July 14, 1916, the Chairman, Mr T. F. Cooke, D.L., referred in feeling terms to the death in action of Second Lieutenant David Buchanan, and moved a resolution placing on record the Commissioners' sorrow and deep regret at the loss thus sustained by Mr William Buchanan, a member of the board, and the young officer's father, and tendering to Mr and Mrs Buchanan and the members of their family heartfelt sympathy with them in their sad bereavement. Mr Cooke said that Lieutenant Buchanan had been at business amongst them, but when the call came for men he nobly responded. Although there were sorrowful hearts all over Ulster today, they were at the same time proud hearts in the knowledge of the extraordinary bravery that had been shown under appalling conditions. Lieutenant Buchanan had died heroically fighting for his country.

Mr Robert Watson, J.P., in seconding, said he knew from his own knowledge that Lieutenant Buchanan was quite prepared to make the supreme sacrifice.

The name of David Buchanan was read aloud during a special memorial service held in First Derry Presbyterian Church, on Friday, August 4, 1916, to pay tribute to the Presbyterian soldiers of the city of Londonderry, who had died during the first two years of the Great War. His name was again read out during a memorial service in First Derry Presbyterian Church held, on Sunday, July 1, 1917, to commemorate the members of that congregation who, up to that time, had made the supreme sacrifice in the First World War. The name of David Buchanan was also among a list of Great War dead, associated with Foyle College, Londonderry, read aloud during that College's annual prize giving ceremony, held on Thursday, December 19, 1918.

David Buchanan's father, William Buchanan, served his business apprenticeship in the pork-curing establishment of W. F. Bigger, before helping to found the firm of Buchanan Brothers. In a life that spanned sixty-seven years he also acted as a city magistrate; a member of the Harbour Board; a trustee of the Savings Bank; a president of the North Ward Unionist Association; and a vice-president of the City of Londonderry Unionist Association. He, in addition, served as an elder in First Derry Presbyterian Church, and had attended service on the Sunday before his death, which occurred on Wednesday, January 30, 1924, after succumbing to an attack of double pneumonia.

In the course of an eloquent tribute to Mr William Buchanan, in First Derry Presbyterian Church on Sunday, February 3, 1924, the Reverend Dr McGranahan said ? Jesus Christ enriches life and enhances death, robbing one of its stain and the other of its sting. This morning, as we recall memories of one who was suddenly called away from the midst of life's activities to learn the great secrets of the Unseen, let us rejoice in the light of revealed love and give thanks to God for a fellowship that makes life fruitful. For many years Mr Buchanan has been associated with the work of this church, and everything that made for its interest met with his hearty support. His cooperation and sympathy and generosity were never wanting in furthering any beneficent schemes that made for the uplifting of men or the relief of distress. For sixteen years he acted as secretary of the Presbyterian Old Age Fund, and spared no pains to see that First Derry contributed to its support a sum worthy of the church. In nothing, however, did he take a deeper interest than in our praise service. Even when he thought it well that younger people should occupy the choir seats, he was ever ready to render assistance and encourage those who devote their gifts to the ministry of music. Whilst a lover of old tunes and an admirer of venerated ways, yet he was much alive to the necessity of considering modern demands. He was never afraid to declare his views frankly, but he made every allowance for the position of those who had a different outlook. When this congregation elected him to the eldership he did not accept office without much misgiving and hesitation, but once he made the decision he abided by it and proved himself worthy of the trust you committed to him. The House of God was to him a place of renewal. After the worries and cares of a week's business he felt, as he said to me once, that he got something to help him. His seat was never vacant. He had too much consideration for the toil and thought a minister expends in preparation to place himself among those who 'forget to assemble themselves together.'

At the monthly meeting of the Londonderry Port and Harbour Commissioners, held on Friday, February 8, 1924, the chairman, Mr A. A. Crockett, also made sympathetic reference to the death of Mr William Buchanan, who, he said, for a period of seventeen years was a regular attender and valued member of the Trust. Mr Buchanan spent his whole life in the city, and for over half a century occupied a prominent position in the commercial life of Londonderry. Kindly, courteous, energetic, and charitable, he would be greatly missed by all. A loyal colleague, a broad-minded citizen and Christian gentleman, he left a blank in their midst not easily filled. To his sorrowing widow and family they tendered their most sincere sympathy on their loss.

Lieutenant David Buchanan's sister, Kathleen, married the Reverend Gordon Erskine, B.A., minister of Magheramason Church, on Thursday, April 15, 1915, at First Derry Presbyterian Church. There was a large congregation present in the church, and the choir was augmented for the occasion by several of the family's musical friends. The Reverend Dr McGranahan officiated, assisted by the Reverend W. M. Colhoun, Belfast. The 2nd Paraphrase, 'O God of Bethel,' was sung as the bride entered the church leaning on the arm of her father, who gave her away, and the other music included the Lohengrin Wedding March, the hymn 'O perfect love,' and, as the bridal party left the church, Mendelssohn's Wedding March. Miss Buchanan, the bride's sister, was the bridesmaid, and the Reverend Mr Kirkpatrick, Enniscorthy, acted as best man.

Lieutenant David Buchanan's brother, John James Buchanan, was educated at First Derry National School, Foyle College, Londonderry, and Campbell College, Belfast. On completing his scholastic career, he entered his father's business of bacon-curer in Foyle Street, Londonderry, and succeeded his father as proprietor of the firm. Prior to the Second World War he was a member of the Pig Industrial Council and was vice-President of the Ulster Curers' Association in 1950.

John James Buchanan, who took a keen interest in the life of the city of Londonderry, was City High Sheriff for four years from 1942 and was vice-President of the Londonderry Chamber of Commerce for the years 1939-40. He was a member of the Port and Harbour Commissioners from 1933, and, a foundation member of Londonderry Rotary Club, he acted as President for the year 1936-37. For fifteen years he was manager of his old school, First Derry, and was a member of the Board of Governors of Foyle College. A prominent member of the Presbyterian Church, he was for twenty-four years Clerk of Session of First Derry Church. He was also a member of the Derry Presbytery.

John James Buchanan, who was a keen golfer, was a foundation member of the City of Derry Golf Club and was also a member of the Castlerock Club. He was awarded the C.B.E. for his services to the community. At the time of his death, on Saturday, August 19, 1961, he was survived by his second wife, who was formerly Miss Evileen Maud Brisby, daughter of the Reverend James Brisby, Pollokshields, Glasgow, and by his son, David Buchanan, who had been associated with his father in business; and by his two daughters, Miss E. M. Buchanan and Mrs C. Newman.

A moving tribute was paid to Mr John James Buchanan, in First Derry Presbyterian Church on Sunday, August 20, 1961, by the minister, Reverend Steele, B.A., B.D., who said that he was 'conscious of a very deep sense of loss in the passing of one who was my early friend here, and who was my generous and true yoke-fellow in the ministry, sharer of many confidences and counsellor in many a difficulty.'

It was necessary, continued Mr Steele, to dwell upon the prominent and distinguished part which Mr Buchanan played, or on the service he rendered in the civic and commercial life of the community. Others will speak more fully of his office in the High Shrievalty of the city, and his position of responsibility and note on the various boards, commissions, and associations. In all of these he carried himself with shining honour, uprightness and dignity, as well as with ability and accomplishment, and he commanded unfailing respect for his gifts of speech and expression, his lucidity of thought, his shrewd intelligence and his balanced judgement. It was a mark of appreciation that he was appointed as Commander of the Order of the British Empire.

William, Margaret, John James, David, and K. E. Buchanan, Northland Road, all signed the Ulster Solemn League and Covenant (September 1912) pledging resistance to Home Rule for Ireland.