Gillespie, Thomas Cunningham


He was younger son of Thomas Paterson Gillespie of Longcroft, Linlithgowshire, and brother of Second Lieutenant Alexander Douglas Gillespie (College, 1903-1908), Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, who fell on 25th September 1915 (see individual entry). He entered Kingsgate House as one of its original members from Cargilfield School and became a Commoner Prefect: he was President of Boat Club in his last year, played in Commoner XV and took a leading part in the work of Natural History Society. He went up to New College, Oxford in 1911 and was a member of the College VIII for three years, accompanying them to Stockholm in 1912 for the Olympic Games.

He was a leading member of the University O.T.C. and intended, after taking his degree in 1914, to enter the Regular Army. He was gazetted to the 2nd Battalion King’s Own Scottish Borderers within a few days of the outbreak of the war and left for the front almost immediately. He served a couple of weeks on the Aisne under continuous shell-fire and then orders were given to try and advance eastwards across the La Bassee Canal. He was killed near La Bassee on October 18th 1914. His body could not be recovered, and with no known grave, he is commemmorated on Panel 15 of the Le Touret Memorial.

A volume of his brother Alexander’s “Letters from Flanders” was published by Smith, Elder, in 1916. It contains a brief memoir of both brothers by the Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Rev. Hubert Burge, Headmaster of the College during Gillespie’s time. In it Alexander Gillespie describes his search for the chateau where Tom spent his last night before going into action and his reaction to the news of his death.

War: World War 1

  • Surname: Gillespie
  • Forenames or initials: Thomas Cunningham
  • House: K
  • Years in School: 1905-1911
  • Rank: Lieutenant
  • Regiment: King's Own Scottish Borderers
  • Date of Birth: 14th December 1892
  • Date of Death: 18th October 1914
  • How Died: Killed in Action
  • Location in War Cloister: Outer D2
  • Decoration: NA
  • Burial Site: Unknown but commemorated on the LE TOURET MEMORIAL: Panel 15