22853 Private Peter Biggar
SCOTLAND – ARDBOE
13th Battalion Royal Scots
Killed in action 12 June 1916
Vermelles Communal Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France
Grave 3 – D – 3
Peter Biggar was born on 20 January 1897 at 8 Graham Street, Addiewell, Midlothian, Scotland. He was the son of Patrick Biggar and Elizabeth Montague or Teague (the names were used interchangeably in the 19th century). The Biggar and Montague/Teague families were from Killycolpy, Ardboe, Co Tyrone, though Patrick, the son of Peter Biggar and Sarah Conroy, had been born in Scotland.
Patrick and Elizabeth were married in Mullinahoe chapel, Ardboe, on 22 August 1895 by Fr James Loughran, the parish priest. The witnesses were John Wylie and Sarah Montague. Following their marriage the couple moved to Scotland.
Peter was born in Scotland but the second child, Patrick, was born and baptised in Ardboe in 1899, his godparents being Charlie Teague and Catherine Killen. Four more children – Elizabeth, Charles, Sarah, Margaret – were born in Scotland. Peter, the oldest, spent some of his growing-up years in Killycolpy. The 1911 census shows the family living in Craiglockart, Edinburgh. Patrick, the head of the family, was an agent for an insurance company, and 14-year-old Peter was a messenger boy. When war was declared in 1914 Peter enlisted with the Scots Guards.
It was reported that he died as the result of an accident though he is listed as killed in action. Three men from the 13th Battalion Royal Scots were listed as killed in action on 12 June 1916 – Peter Biggar, Matthew Laurence, and Ernest Corbett.
Peter Biggar is buried in plot 3, row D, grave 3, at Vermelles Communal Cemetery, France.
Vermelles is a village 10 kilometres north-west of Lens. From Lens take the N43, towards Bethune, to its junction with the D75 in Mazingarbe. Turn right at this junction and continue for approximately 900 metres when Vermelles British Cemetery will be found on the left hand side of the road.
Wheelchair access is possible to this cemetery. For further information regarding wheelchair access, please contact our Enquiries Section on 01628 507200.
Vermelles was in German hands from the middle of October 1914 to the beginning of December 1914, when it was recaptured by the French. The cemetery was begun in August 1915 (though a few graves are slightly earlier), and during the Battle of Loos, when the Chateau was used as a dressing station, Plot I was completed. It was laid out and fenced by the Pioneers of the 1st Gloucesters, and known for a long time as “Gloucester Graveyard”. The remaining Plots were made by the Divisions (from the Dismounted Cavalry Division onwards) holding the line 1.6 kilometres East of the cemetery until April 1917, and they incorporated a few isolated French graves of October 1914. From April 1917, to the Armistice, the cemetery was closed; but after the Armistice some graves were re-grouped and others were brought in (to Plots II, IV and VI) from the battlefields to the East.
There are now over 2134 First World War casualties commemorated in this cemetery. Of these, 198 are unidentified and special memorials are erected to six soldiers from the United Kingdom, known to be buried among them. This cemetery also contains the graves of 11 casualties of other nationalities.
This cemetery was designed by Sir Herbert Baker.