Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Uncle Robert, Revisited

Nearly ten years ago I wrote about my Great Uncle Robert Bain.

At the time I had no idea what he looked like, now I do. (Yes, that's him above. In the photo on the left he bears a striking resemblance to my paternal grandmother.)

As Gaza has been much in the news (he's buried there) I decided to use Find-A-Grave to see if there was any more information on him. There was.

I was going to post that old post here, as a rerun, decided not to. (It's linked above at the family name.)

But I know a bit more about the man now, he died a year earlier than my original research had indicated. Here's what Find-A-Grave had to offer:

Private Robert George Bain
15 May 1879, New Deer, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
24 Oct 1917 (aged 38), Gaza Strip

Deir El Belah War Cemetery
Deir al-Balah, Deir al-Balah, Gaza Strip

D. 57.    (Source)

The cemetery's website is here, and the map of the area is here. (Which I reproduce below, the link is so you can explore for yourself.)

One rather hopes the cemetery has been spared by the war, the men in it fell in an earlier war. One hopes that Plato's old saying¹ holds true. I did find an article mentioning a cemetery that Israeli soldiers had found, that article is here.

As I age I tend to pray for the soldiers on both sides. They obey their superiors, whether those superiors are wrong or right, the soldier seldom has a choice in the matter. Even when they seem to, they really don't. Those who know, know.

¹ Only the dead have seen the end of war.


  1. You were quite fortunate to find out so much about your Great Uncle Sarge although I'm less sanguine about that cemetery being untouched since October seventh.

    1. Untouched, probably not, deliberately desecrated, probably not as well.

      I was very pleased to find pictures of Uncle Robert.

    2. This site will show you the original British Army records of his burial.

    3. "View cemetery details"

      Beautiful cemetery, unknown date of photo.

    4. Algy #1 - Thanks for that additional data!

    5. Algy #2 - It is a lovely place, or perhaps "was," I hope it has avoided damage.

    6. Went down the rabbit hole😁! I spent many hours (days?) finding information on Wife's Uncle, killed in Normandy and buried in Bayeux Commonwealth War Cemetery. Had the opportunity in 2008 to pay our respects in person. Try this site -
      Subscription required but may give you further valuable information. 5236 items tagged 5th Bn, Royal Scots Fusiliers in their archives.

  2. Sarge,
    Glad you could find out where your Uncle is located and more information about him. History, IMHO, is always interesting. That having been said, war crimes are just that and "following orders" is not a defense.
    Hope you're feeling better. If not, you may have to buckle down and resort to the Kimchi Chicken Soup therapy even if you don't like chicken.

    1. Feeling much better. One thing to always remember, if you lose the war, you don't get to decide right and wrong, the victors do that. If you're some poor conscript, not following orders might get you (and your family) shot.

      I don't mind chicken, just not a big fan of soup in general.

  3. If you find yourself with time on your hands and the itch to do something different taking a look at your great uncles grave marker might be just the thing. Might be too exciting these days ....
    Finding my G2 grandparents markers was a big deal to me....

    1. There was no photo of his grave at Find-A-Grave, might have to look elsewhere. But yeah, I'd like that.

  4. "As I age I tend to pray for the soldiers on both sides. They obey their superiors, whether those superiors are wrong or right, the soldier seldom has a choice in the matter. Even when they seem to, they really don't."

    I'll pray for them, but in the case of the mohammedean Hamas Einsatzgruppen, unless you want to argue brainwashing from infancy, they have the choice to not participate at all.

    And then we have our homegrown, mindless "from the river to the sea" Sturmabteilung, such as the idjits who shut down the Bridge across the Golden Gate recently.

    I think those two words borrowed from the National Socialist lexicon fit the groups perfectly.


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