Forbes, John Keith
Regiment: 4th Battalion Gordon Highlanders
Biography: Son of Alexander Forbes, teacher, Aberdeen. Born Aberdeen, 12 April 1883; graduated M.A., 1905; taught for seven years in Rathven Public School; in 1912 entered Aberdeen U.F. College, taking the highest place in the examinations open to all the U.F. Colleges; gained Foote Scholarship in Hebrew and Eadie Prize in New Testament Greek. He enlisted in October 1914 as a Private in the 4th Gordon Highlanders; and was sent to Belgium in February 1915. Although he could readily have obtained a commission, he contented himself with the rank of Sergeant, believing that as a N.C.O. he would be able to exercise a greater moral influence on his men. The invaluable services he rendered by organizing a corps of snipers, as well as by the accurate information he was able to gain regarding the German positions, were recognized in a letter addressed to him by the General commanding the Division. He fell at Hooge on 25 September 1915. A more versatile genius than Forbes never passed through Aberdeen U.F. College. A tireless walker, an intrepid mountaineer, a keen sportsman, a humorist, a skilled musician, a linguist, a scholar - no achievement seemed beyond his capacity. Even in the trenches he pursued his studies, and left behind him singularly able notes on the Book of Job, which to the last he studied in the Hebrew original, with the aid of the latest German commentary. Those who had the privilege of knowing him will never forget this distinguished student and Sniper-Sergeant, who was as modest and lovable as he was gifted.
Date of Death: 25 September 1915
Burial Details: Name recorded on the Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres, Panel 38, Column 4.
Publication: Roll of Service, edited by Mabel Desborough Allardyce. Published 1921.
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