Captain Douglas Harvey DSO 1884-1917


Stuart Graham of Portnahaven has produced an important book which collates all known information about the men of Islay and Jura who fell during the Great War of 1914-18. The heart-rending individual stories are presented against a broad timeline and commentary covering some of the major issues and events.

An entry reproduced from The Oban Times of 31st March 1917 reports that Captain Harvey was killed in action on 10th February 1917.  It reads “Captain Harvey was born in Bruichladdich in 1884, being the son of the late Mr Robert Harvey, the founder of Bruichladdich Distillery, and nephew of Mr Wm. Harvey, the present principal proprietor of the distillery.  Educated at Fettes College (Edinburgh), he chose the army as a profession, and after passing through Sandhurst with distinction and obtaining the Sword of Honour, he was attached to the Royal Scots Fusiliers

“He later joined the Indian Army and was appointed to the 31st Punjabis, subsequently becoming a staff officer at Wellington, Madras.

“He went to Mesopotamia with the Kut relief force, and his sad death has cut short a gallant and brilliant career.

“He leaves a widow and son, and the intimation of his death as caused deep regret.

“The numerous branches of the Harvey family have contributed a great many combatants to our various fighting forces on sea and land. Lieut. Commander James Harvey, R.N., eldest son of Mr Wm. Harvey was navigating officer of the cruiser Kent at the Falkland Isles naval battle. The Kent went in pursuit of the German cruiser Nurnberg and sank her, afterwards joining HMS Glasgow in pursuit of the Dresden and sinking her.”

Harvey was part of a force led by General Maude who was to eventually capture Baghdad following the Second Battle of Kut later in 1917.  Maude’s forces were operating in a difficult period for British Empire forces in the Middle East.  Historian James Morris described the infamous Seige of Kut in 1915 as “The most abject captitulation in Britain’s military history”.

Stuart Graham’s book is available by mail order from The Celtic House, in Bowmore, Islay

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