Remembering those who fought in the Great War.

David Gilchrist

21 year old Apprentice Electrician, 3 Brougham St., Greenock

Not much is known about David's early life but it would appear that he lived most of his life in  Greenock and would have been schooled here as well. 

After he was discharged he returned to his apprenticeship as an electrician with the Greenock Corporation and had a relationship with Jean Crichton who worked as an attendant at Kings Theatre, Greenock.One morning the cleaners arrived at work to find two bodies lying side by side in one of the theatre boxes covered with a white sheet, a cup with the dregs of laudanum, a bottle of the same poison and a revolver with empty cartridge lay nearby. On inspection it was discovered it was the body of Jean and David was still barely alive with a gunshot wound to the head but  died days later in hospital. It was reported that they had been “lovers” and lately their courtship had not been running smoothly. Mrs Crichton refused to believe that her daughter had poisoned herself but a farewell note near to the couples bodies suggested that they were troubled and referenced going to “the better land”. As a soldier with shellshock it is unlikely that David received much sympathy for the trauma that he experienced and it is probably that this lead to, what appears to be, a suicide pact with Jean.

He first enlisted April 26th 1915, at the age of 19 years and 9 months, with the 2/3rd Highland Howitzers Brigade as a Gunner. He was described as 5’ 7”, with a fresh complexion, blue eyes and dark hair. He worked as a labourer and at this time lived at 12 Ardgowan Street. His character was described as “trustworthy and industrious”. He may have seen action in France before he was invalided out on December 4th 1915. He was declared unfit for service as he suffered from aches in his joints, sweats and had to urinate frequently.

He attested again March 3rd 1916. Wounded 16th September 1918 with a shrapnel wound to the right arm and knee while with the British Expeditionary Force and was sent home to convalesce. Transferred to 169 Coy Labour Corp on the 12th October 1918 for discharge with shell shock.