Sombre Somme shrouds inspire a former soldier

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By Mark Davey

A former soldier who bought a Somme Shroud is proud to have a certificate for Kintyre’s Private Daniel Docherty.

When Paul Squire, from Southampton, bought the boxed miniature shroud of Private Docherty, who fell during the Battle of the Somme in 1916, he was determined to find out more about the soldier whose life he was commemorating.

Mr Squire said: ‘When I bought the shroud I promised myself I would do some research into whoever it was going to be.

‘It was quite easy I Googled his name and the Campbeltown Courier was the second result.’

On November 16 2018 the Courier featured a memorial, at Kilkivan cairn, to the Docherty brothers who died in the First World War.

The story was about their nieces Moira Graham and Margaret McCallum unveiling the memorial plaque.

Mr Squires’ certificate states: ‘Shrouds of the Somme, to commemorate Private Daniel Docherty, Royal Scots Fusiliers, died 12/8/16, No Known Grave, Thiepval memorial pier, face 3C, remembering those who made the ultimate sacrifice, number 3639 certificate of authenticity.’

Mr Squire added: ‘Once I had cross referenced the details I had already looked up on ancestry. Com and another forces website and I knew it was the Kintyre Private Docherty aged 32.

‘None of the shrouds are alike and each one has a separate name with his own history.

‘Full details are at: www.shroudsofthesomme.com

‘They have been displayed around the country, I saw them at Winchester and it culminated in a huge display on Remembrance Day 2018 in London.’

The shrouds were created from an art installation, which physically represents each of the 72,396 British Commonwealth servicemen killed at the Battle of the Somme.

It was started by artist Rob Heard in 2013. In 13,000 hours he has hand sewn about 1.6 million stitches in the calico shrouds round a small figure.

The work is supported by two charities SSAFA and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission as well as a large number of individuals and companies.

Customers receive one of the actual shrouded figures from the installation, after it was dismantled last November and are warned that it will not be in pristine condition.

Mr Squire added: ‘I am originally from Yorkshire but have lived  in Southampton since finishing my 22 years service in the Royal Corps of Transport in 2000.

‘I love all military history. My grandad on my mother’s side never returned from the Second World War.

‘He was captured by the Japanese and put to work on the Burma railway where he died, so I know just how the nieces feel.

‘Mr grandad also has no grave in the UK, but I have managed to find his in the Kanchanaburi military graveyard.’

The shroud for Private Daniel Docherty. NO_c02shrouds03_figure