Captain William Carrie Officer Gordon Highlanders & Army Cadet Force
The Man William Carrie Officer was born on 4th March 1912 and lived at 25 Kinnear Square, Laurencekirk, Kincardineshire, Scotland. His occupation was Assistant Grocer and later Grocer’s Vanman. On 20th May 1930 aged 18, William enlisted into the 5 / 7th Battalion Gordon Highlanders Territorial Army, attesting as a Private with service number 2874764. He was described as 5’ 4” tall, weighing 137lbs, fair complexion, blue eyes, dark hair with a girth of 33”. His religion was given as Presbyterian and his medical category A1. William attended his annual training camps for the next nine years and promoted to acting Lance Corporal on 22nd December 1933, substantive rank on 4th March 1934 and full corporal on 1st May 1936. On 18th August 1937 aged 22, William married Georgina Webster Lalgarno in Laurencekirk and according to the rites of the Church of Scotland. On 31st August 1939 he was posted to 7th Battalion Gordon Highlanders and embodied on 2nd September the day before World War II began, and attended the 27th Infantry Brigade Physical Training Course 13/39 qualifying as Q2. He served in the UK for duration of the war, being transferred to the 6th Battalion on 19th August 1940, the Infantry Training Centre on 8th October, No 20 Royal Air Force Training Centre on 30th August 1941, No 9 Physical Training Centre (PTC) on 1st August 1942 and promoted to unpaid Lance sergeant on 20th December 1943. He was then posted to 95 PTC on 3rd May 1944 as permanent staff and substantive Lance Sergeant the same day. William was awarded the Efficiency Medal and 1st clasp on 14th August 1945 in army Order 104/45 representing 18 years service in the TA with wartime service counting double. He was then attached to a transit camp from 1st - 13th October 1945 whilst attending a Commerce Course prior to his release to the Class Z (T) Royal Army Reserve on 27th December 1945. Upon his release his Officer Commanding said of William “An excellent worker. Honest, sober and intelligent, very reliable and trustworthy”. William lived with Georgina at 10 Blakiemuir Avenue, Laurencekirk. On 18th January 1946 aged 34 he was Commissioned into the TA Reserve of Officers Special List for service with the Army Cadet Force as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Kincardine Command and with a new service number of 361837. On 1st April 1950 he was transferred from the TARO to the Army Cadet Force and promoted to Lieutenant on 6th May 1951. On 3rd March 1957 aged 44 he was discharged from the TA reserves as there was no further liability for recall, but he continued with the ACF and on 28th March 1958 awarded the Cadet Forces Medal for 12 years service. He was subsequently promoted to Captain and awarded the first clasp to his CFM in November 1970, now serving under the Scottish North Eastern Area. No other detail is currently known about William Officer.
The Story The group of medals awarded to William Carrie Officer were acquired on E-Bay on 4th November 2014, and of interest because of the double long service award of the Efficiency and Cadet Forces Medals. Sadly, even with the unusual name, no detail could be found on Ancestry.uk, the only information available was from the London Gazette of his time with the Army Cadet Force. Contact was made in December 2014 via this web site by a former custodian of William’s medals, who kindly forwarded William’s service records he had acquired from the MoD. As happens the records revealed information throwing doubt on the validity of the original grouping of the medals, which were the 1939-45 Star, Africa Star, Italy Star, War Medal, Efficiency Medal ‘Territorial’ and Cadet Forces Medal with an Efficiency Medal long service clasp. Upon poring through William’s records and then the London Gazette it was confirmed he had not served abroad during World War but had been a Physical Training Instructor at No 95 Physical Training School, thus only entitled to the Defence & War Medal 1939-45. It was confirmed however he was also entitled to the first clasp to the Efficiency Medal, and the London gazette confirmed the award of the Cadet Forces Medal and first clasp. So his correct grouping is, Defence Medal, War Medal 1939-45, Efficiency Medal & 1st clasp and Cadet Forces Medal & 1st clasp – still a nice double (quadruple) long service group. It is possible, as the medals were ‘freshly’ mounted upon acquisition, that a previous custodian has only had William’s Efficiency & Cadet Forces Medal without any access to his service records. The only confirmation being the CFM and first clasp (which was actually incorrect as it was an Efficiency Medal clasp with the black inlay) and made the group up to match the following available details. They may have assumed - as he served in the Gordon Highlanders, with service number 2874764, which was from a block allocated to the Gordon Highlanders – that he served in either the 5th or 6th Battalion as both qualified for this medal combination, but more likely the 6th as although both were in France in 1940, the 5th were part of the 51st Highland Division and captured at St Valery becoming Prisoners of War, hardly anyone avoiding capture. The 5th was reformed following Dunkirk. The lack of a Defence Medal was also likely as both Battalions were kept on the move and did not have three years non-operational service. In the event I have done William a gross injustice, the original Campaign Stars have been retained, and if ever proof is found that he is entitled or that this was the combination he wore, they will be re-instated. The only way this will ever be definitively proved is by contact with the MoD Medal Office to see what his World War II entitlement was and if they were ever awarded. An interesting story that on one hand is very disappointing by having to remove medals, but on the other very positive as he is entitled to a medal not in the original group and a coveted clasp to the Efficiency Medal.
The Gordon Highlanders Was a British Army infantry regiment from 1881 until 1994. The regiment took its name from the Clan Gordon and recruited principally from Aberdeen and the North-East of Scotland. During World War II the Regiment served in France in 1940, in Malaya, North Africa, Sicily, Italy and north-west Europe. The 1st and 5th Battalions were with the 51st (Highland) Infantry Division during the Battle for France in 1940 when they were trapped and had to surrender at Saint-Valéry-en-Caux. The 1st Battalion was reformed in August 1940 and went on to serve with the second formation of the 51st Highland Division throughout the rest of the Second World War. The 2nd Battalion was based in Malaya as part of the Singapore garrison and fought in the battle for Singapore in February 1942, surrendering along with 130,000 other British Commonwealth soldiers on 15 February. The men of this battalion suffered more casualties as Prisoners of War in Japanese captivity than they did during the fighting on Singapore Island and Malaya The 2nd Battalion was reformed in May 1942 from personnel of the 11th Battalion and fought with the 15th (Scottish) Infantry Division, throughout North West Europe. They formed part of 227th (Highland) Infantry Brigade - the Junior Brigade in the Division. They were involved in the heavy fighting around Cheux and Tourville-sur-Odon in Normandy, the fight for Holland and in the Battle of Uelzen in Germany near to the end of the war. The 4th (City of Aberdeen) Battalion was converted to an artillery regiment on 1 November 1941, becoming the 92nd Anti-Tank Regiment, Royal Artillery, as part of the 9th Armoured Division, but saw no active service during the war. The 6th (Banffshire) Battalion was transferred from the 51st Highland Division before it surrendered in 1940 and joined the 2nd Infantry Brigade of the 1st Infantry Division. The 6th Battalion fought through the North African and Italian Campaigns before ending the war on garrison duty in Palestine. The 7th (Mar and Mearns) Battalion served with the second formation of the 51st Highland Division throughout the war. The 8th (City of Aberdeen) Battalion was also converted to artillery, becoming the 100th Anti-Tank Regiment, Royal Artillery. This battalion served with the 2nd Infantry Division in the Burma Campaign. The 9th (Donside) Battalion (originally part of the 9th (Highland) Infantry Division along with the 11th Battalion) were initially posted to the Shetland islands. Later they were amalgamated with the 5th Battalion and sent to India for training. Converted to an armoured regiment in 1942 as the 116th Regiment Royal Armoured Corps (Gordons), they continued to wear the Gordons cap badge on the black beret of the RAC. 116th RAC were sent to Burma where as part of 255th Indian Tank Brigade they were involved in the dash for Rangoon and were heavily involved in the battle of Meiktila, signalling the end of Japanese hopes in Burma. The London Scottish battalions were part of the Gordon Highlanders although they were a London-recruited regiment. The Regiment was amalgamated with The Queens' Own Highlanders (Seaforth and Camerons) on 17th September 1994 to form The Highlanders (Seaforth, Gordons and Camerons) and in In 2006, The Highlanders were merged with Scotland’s other remaining infantry regiments to form The Royal Regiment of Scotland.
- Defence Medal: Unnamed as issued.
- War Medal 1939-45: Unnamed as issued
- Efficiency Medal 'Territorial' 2874764. CPL.W.OFFICER. GORDONS
- Cadet Forces Medal: LT.W.C.OFFICER
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This page last updated 30 Mar 15