Bridge of Weir

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21812 Sergeant Peter John Calligan, MM

23rd Heavy Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery

died of wounds 16th August 1916

aged 30

Heilly Station Cemetery, Mericourt-l'Abbe
St Machar's Church Memorial, Bridge of Weir

Torr Bothy, Bridge of Weir
Son of John Calligan and Mary Ann Thow
Husband of Euphemia Currie Boyd

His Life

Peter John Calligan was born on 8th October 1885 at 32 Nelson's Lane, Dundee, the second of a family of ten born to John Calligan, from Dundee and Mary Ann Thow, from Brechin, Forfarshire (now Angus) who had married in Dundee on 21st April 1884. John was a potato merchant's labourer when Peter was born.

In 1891 John (29), Mary (28), and four of their children Bella, Peter, James and Maggie were living in 237 Blackness Road, Lochee, Dundee, Forfarshire. John was a labourer. The family took in a boarder, Mary Jane Clark (18), a weaver from Montrose.

In 1901 the Calligan family was living at 6 Ford's Lane, Liff and Benvie, Forfarshire. John was a market gardener, Isabella a jute weaver, Peter John (15) a greengrocer's message boy and James (aged 11) a half-time millworker. Margaret was at school.

By 1911 Peter (25) had left the family home and was working as a domestic gardener and living on his own in Torr Bothy, Bridge of Weir. The rest of the family, now of nine, were in 184 Perth Road, Dundee. John was employing staff in his market garden business, Margaret was a hessian weaver in a jute mill, and Charles was an apprentice gardener. James and Margaret were no longer in the family home.

Peter, although resident in Bridge of Weir, enlisted at Dundee in September 1914 and joined the Royal Garrison Artillery (RGA), perhaps after transferring from 2nd Battalion, London Scottish. Heavy Batteries of the RGA were equipped with 60 pounder (5 inch) guns, although some still had obsolete 5 inch howitzers. Large calibre high explosive shells were despatched in fairly flat trajectories. As British artillery tactics developed, the Heavy Batteries were most often employed in destroying or neutralising the enemy artillery, as well as putting destructive fire down on strongpoints, dumps, stores, roads and railways behind enemy lines.

Corporal Calligan's Medal Index Card does not record when he first joined the theatre of war but he was not awarded the 1914 -15 Star. The 23rd Heavy Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery, to which Peter was posted, was raised for the 23rd Division but left and moved independently to France in September 1915. In November it became part of XXII HA Brigade.

Peter married Euphemia Currie Boyd, dressmaker, and daughter of John Boyd, a horse dealer, and Margaret Dunlop, Graham Terrace, Stewarton, Ayrshire in the Established Church of Scotland Manse, Stewarton on 7th June 1916. Peter was described as a gardener, presently Corporal, Royal Garrison Artillery. His father John was by then a fruit merchant.

Peter died of wounds on 16th August 1916 leaving a widow barely two months' married. He is buried in Heilly Station Cemetery between Amiens and Albert in northern France, established in May 1916 and used by the 36th, 38th and 2/2nd London Casualty Clearing Stations. The date and location of his burial suggests he was in the Battle of the Somme when he was wounded.

Peter Calligan is the only one of the 72 men on Bridge of Weir WW1 memorials to have received an award for bravery. The Military Medal was established on 25th March 1916 as the Other Ranks and NCO equivalent of the Military Cross. Peter's award was first published in the London Gazette on 22nd August 1916, within a week of his death.


1891 Census 1901 Census 1911 Census Birthplace
Name Age Name Age Name Age
Bella6 Isabella16 Dundee, Forfarshire
Peter5 Peter John15Peter*25 Dundee, Forfarshire
James2 James11 Dundee, Forfarshire
Maggie2 mo Margaret S10Margaret20 Dundee, Forfarshire
Charles L4Charles14 Invergowrie, Forfarshire
David A 1 David11 Dundee, Forfarshire
Mary7 Dundee, Forfarshire
Ina5 Dundee, Forfarshire
John3 mo Dundee, Forfarshire

* = not in John and Mary Ann Calligan's family home - see text for details


TO CITE THIS PAGE: MLA style: "Bridge of Weir Memorial". Date of viewing. http://www.bridgeofweirmemorial.org/profile-calligan.html