Roll of Honour
Steven Donaldson Reith
Distinguished Conduct Medal
Steven Donaldson Reith was born on the 26th September 1891, and was the son of William and Janet Reith, of 43 Havelock Street, Partick. Steven attended Hillhead High School, where he was successful both in his studies and in a range extra-curricular activities. He played for the first XV from 1906 till 1910, and gained his first XV Former Pupils cap in 1912. He rose to the rank of Colour-Sergeant in the school OTC; and was president of the Literary Society which he had helped found.
Steven joined the University of Glasgow in 1910, studying for the degree of Bachelor of Science in Agriculture. In his first year he studied Mathematics, Natural Philosophy and Chemistry, followed in his second year with classes in Geology, Economic Science, and Engineering Field Work. In his final two years he took classes in Agriculture and Rural Economy, Agricultural Chemistry, Entomology and Botany, Veterinary Hygiene, and Forestry. He graduated on the 14th November 1914 with a degree of BSc. While studying at the University, Steven also attended the West of Scotland Agricultural College.
Steven was also a member of the OTC while at University, and he applied for a commission in the first days of August 1914. Having not received a timely response to his application, his eagerness sought a speedier way into military life, and the raising of that body of Hillhead men which gave the School its particular pride in the 17th Highland Light Infantry (HLI) was largely his work.
He remained faithful to the duties he had undertaken and held the rank of Company Sergeant-Major when the battalion went overseas. For his share in one of the 17th's earliest exploits he was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM). He was wounded on the eve of the attack of 1st July 1916, and after a period of convalescence was appointed to the 6th Officer Cadet Battalion (OCB) Oxford, where he passed out at the head of the list. He was in consequence offered a commission in the Indian Army, and gazetted to the Deoli Regiment with which he served in the Palestine campaign, winning fresh credit for his efficiency and keenness.
Lieutenant Steven Donaldson Reith was killed on the 20th September 1918. He is buried at the Ramleh War Cemetery in Israel and Palestine, and remembered on the University of Glasgow Roll of Honour.
Steven is remembered in the Hillhead High School War Memorial in the following way:
Since death was to come to him, it could have come in no nobler way. No situation, however dangerous, and no responsibility, however great, found him wanting. Always he was true to himself, and the Roll of Honour contains no worthier name."
"No one is more widely mourned in Hillhead High School than Steven Reith. His death was at a time when we were filled with triumphant expectation rather than anxiety, and has been a heavy grief to us all. He was one who not only worked vigorously in the School's interests himself, but drew their best work from those around him; so that there were many who knew him, and of them there was none that did not hold him in honour.
Comments and Citations
Obituary: Hillhead High School War Memorial Volume (War Memorial Committee, 1921)
Burial Place: Commonwealth War Graves Commission - Debt of Hon