Private William Donald Bruce


William Donald Bruce was born around 1895 in Brechin, Forfarshire, Scotland, son of railway guard David Bruce and his wife Mary Ann (née Smart).

On 4 October 1912 at Edinburgh he enlisted in the Hussars of the Line (No.9127) and was posted to the 3rd (King's Own) Hussars. His occupation at the time was locomotive engine cleaner. He embarked for France with his regiment on 15 August 1914.

In September 1917, as part of a general reduction in the size of the cavalry, a number of men of the 3rd Hussars left the regiment. The war diary of 15 September records that:

56 other ranks of the regiment proceeded by rail from Hesdin to the Rouen Base for transfer to Infantry on the reduction of the 100 dismounted men allowed to Cavalry regiments.

Between twenty-eight and thirty-four of these men, including Bruce,  were transferred to the North Irish Horse, joining the 1st (NIH) Regiment in the field on 11 October. Bruce was issued regimental number 2715.

In February-March 1918 the regiment, which had been serving as corps cavalry to V Corps, was dismounted and converted to a cyclist unit. This meant a 25 per cent reduction in the regiment's numbers. It is possible that Bruce was one of those transferred out, re-joining the Hussars in April (though which regiment is not clear). On 29 December 1918 he was posted to the 3rd Hussars. On 11 March 1919, having returned from France, he reported for duty at the 2nd Reserve Regiment of Cavalry at the Curragh, remaining there until transferred to Section B, Army Reserve, on 10 November.

Bruce then returned to Scotland. He was briefly recalled to duty with the Hussars between April and June 1921. By 1923 he was living at Woodilee Hospital, Lenzie, near Glasgow, where he worked as an asylum attendant. On 16 March that year he married Margaret Legget in Lady Glenorchy's Parish Church, Edinburgh. The couple then lived at 48 Donaldson Street, Kirkintilloch.

Bruce was discharged on the expiration of his twelve years' service on 3 October 1924. His military character was recorded as 'good'. On 18 November 1924 at Glasgow, however, he re-enlisted for two years (No.530007). He was posted to the Section D Cavalry Pool. On 17 November 1926 he was discharged. He died at Kirkintilloch in 1984.