Fife man to pay tribute to great uncle at Ypres

Doug White will visit Ypres in April.
Doug White will visit Ypres in April.

A Fife man is to visit Ypres in April to pay tribute to his great-uncle who went missing in action during World War I.

Doug White (55), who moved from Glenrothes to Australia 27 years ago, will be placing a plaque and wreath on the site where Wemyss soldier Robert Laing went missing in action back on April 1918.

Mr Laing joined the Seaforth Highlanders in 1917 and was sent to Flanders in April 1918. Through transcribing battalion diaries, Doug believes he was drafted to the 7th Battalion on April 4.

One week later he, along with 28 others, went missing in action.

Mr Laing was just 19.

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of this event, Doug will place a plaque and wreath at the site that his great-uncle went missing in action, and will play a series of slow airs.

“When I was small, my mother used to talk about my great-uncle Robert and how, because he was never found , he might be the unknown soldier,” Doug explained.

“I have always had an interest in finding out more about what happened to him. Thanks to the web and the copious amounts of information available I will finally be able to put him to rest. I think that it is important that we don’t forget the sacrifice that Robert Laing and thousands of other young men made. Like him, thousands of other young men have no known grave. I have managed to find his last resting place and think the least I can do is to pay my respects.”