Biography of Major Charles Russell McClure
Born in Wemyss Bay, Renfrewshire in 1875 to James Howe McClure and Charlotte Russell McClure, Charles Russell McClure grew up in the west of Scotland and was educated at Kelvinside Academy. His family was very well known in legal circles. His maternal grandfather was James Russell QC, a distinguished barrister and reporter to the courts of the Lord Chancellor and Master of the Rolls; his uncle was James Cholmeley Russell (1841-1912), barrister, railway magnate and property developer; his father James Howe McClure was also a lawyer in the firm McClures and Hannay (dissolved 1883).
By the time Charles was ready to begin his studies at Glasgow University, the family lived at 51 Westbourne Gardens, where they had gone to live with his uncle Robert McClure, also a lawyer, probably after his father died. The family was previously resident at 13 Windsor Terrace, Kelvinside. Charles was academically able. In October 1891 he took 44th place in the prestigious University Bursary examination, and in 1892, he matriculated to read Latin and Greek. He was still only seventeen.
The following year he took classes in Logic, Moral Philosophy and Literature. It is likely that he knew the distinguished novelist John Buchan, who was also a bursary winner. The two young men began their studies at Glasgow the same year and both went to Oxford to complete them, McClure in 1894, Buchan in 1895. Their career paths took a very different course, however.
Charles McClure studied at Magdalen College Oxford from 1894 to 1897. He chose a career in the Army and joined the 19th (Queen Alexandra's Own) Royal Hussars. It was a colourful cavalry regiment, established in 1857, and with a reputation for daring'and a fashionable uniform. He served in the Boer War, where the regiment was involved in the relief of Mafeking, and he was promoted to Lieutenant in October 1901. He rose through the ranks - promoted to Captain on 20th February 1910 and Major on 4th March 1914. The Hussars served in khaki on the Western Front in the Great War, and Major McClure was an early casualty.
He died on 21st October 1914 after being wounded under heavy close fire at Le Bizet. He was 39. Mentioned in Despatches (MID) for his own gallantry on the field, two of his comrades, Sergeant Brunton and Private Jerome, were each awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM) for their part in attempting to rescue him. He is buried at the Strand Military Cemetery in Belgium, probably in the Le Bizet Convent Military Cemetery, Ploegsteert between Le Bizet and Motor Car Corner, which contains the graves of 88 British soldiers who fell between October 1914 and October 1916.
University of Glasgow Registry Records
Hutcheson, William M. 1953. A List of Legal Firms in the City of Glasgow and the Counties of Argyll, Ayr, Bute, Dunbarton, Inverness, Kirkcudbright, Lanark, Perth, Renfrew, Stirling and Wigtown which have been absorbed, amalgamated, or have otherwise gone out of existence. 2nd Ed. Glasgow: Royal Faculty of Procurators.
Post-Office annual Glasgow directory 1879-1880. Glasgow: Printed by J. Graham for the letter-carriers of the Post-Office. Page 309.
Additional information contributed by Professor Richard Sheppard, Magdalen College, Oxford
Additional information contributed by Nick Booker
Photograph: Courtesy of Colin Castle
Burial Place: Commonwealth War Graves Commission ' Debt of Honour Register