Dr John Boyd Michie

Dr John Boyd Michie

Dr John Boyd Michie was a doctor in the town of Whitburn. Born at Alva, Clackmannanshire, in 1881, his father was a Pattern Weaver in a Tweed Factory. He appears to have owned a Chemist's Shop in Alva at the same time as he was studying medicine. His working-class background enabled him to relate well to the coalminers who formed so large a part of his patients.

During much of the war, he served as physician for the Polkemmet Auxiliary Red Cross Hospital just west of Whitburn. He was also employed as the works doctor to some of the coal mines in the area, called out to deal with many distressing accidents and fatalities underground.

He had indicated his willingness to serve as a medical officer with the forces, but was not called up till very late in the war. He presented himself at the army base in Blackpool on 29th October, just 13 days before the end of the war. However, despite the armistice being signed, fighting continued on several fronts, and Dr Michie was despatched with the 2nd 10th Battalion Royal Scots (raised in Bathgate in 1915) to Russia. There, in the far north, the White Russians were opposing the Bolsheviks who had swept to power following the Revolution.

The severe Russian winter proved a sore trial to British forces, as it had to many enemy armies in the past. The campaign was a miserable failure, and the Royal Scots were withdrawn from Russia in June 1919.

It's not clear exactly how Dr (Lieutenant) Michie met his end. He was initially reported missing, then killed in action on 31st December 1918.

For more information on Dr Michie, see that attached PDF.

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For more information on any aspect of West Lothian and the First World War, contact localhistory@westlothian.gov.uk.


More info: 

Officer in uniform
Dr Michie in RAMC uniform a few weeks before his death. (West Lothian Local History Library)