18 April 2020

Chief Gunner - David Ogilvie

This WWI group of three medals have been with me for 13 years. The medals were awarded to Chief Gunner David Ogilvie. Over the years I've revisited the research and thanks to more information being available online I've picked up another clue or two about David but never quite enough to resolve the search.
A recent review of my notes and a new search linked David to an Ancestry tree. What I had previously put together and what I now know from the relative I've been in touch with is that David was the son of David William Ogilvie and Margaret Ogilvie. He was born in Eglin, Scotland in 1871. David had four siblings, Eliza (b1855-?), Annie Isabella (1859-1902), Margaret (1862-?), Lily (1868-1948) and Catherine (b1874-died in infancy).
David married Phyllis Marion O'Sullivan in 1901 and was a member of the Royal Navy. When the RAN was being established, following Federation, many sailors were loaned by the British Royal Navy to the RAN. A brief RAN service record for David is available at this link. After WWI,  David and Phyllis remained in Australia. David died in 1945 and Phyllis in 1949. They did not have any children.
Through Ancestry I've been in contact with Doug who is the great grandson of Annie Isabella.
Doug tells me that: 'David's father (David William) appears to have been quite a character and had mixed fortunes during his life. He started out as a photographer but took over his father's shoe making business. He may have had 'social problems' which affected his business. Eventually he ended up in the Elgin Poorhouse where he died in 1899. The Poorhouse records stated he was a widower but in fact his wife had moved back to her roots in Arbroath where she died in 1915. Her tombstone has the following inscription - In memory of Margaret Ogilvie who died 25th Feb 1915 aged 80 years - erected by her son David, officer of HMAS Australia'.
David was indeed an officer aboard HMAS Australia as the Chief Gunner. It appears that in 1916 he was promoted to Command Gunner.
Thanks go to Dave G who originally sent the medals to me.
The returned medal tally is now 2455.


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