Kincardineshire Raitts

It would appear that the descendants of the de Rathes of Rait Castle fled from Nairn or Moray to the Mearns (Kincardineshire) around 1405. While not all members of the family are fully accounted for, we do have a fairly good knowledge and record of the Raits of Hallgreen in the Mearns from 1425-1725 and the story of this Kincardineshire family is recounted on a separate page. However, there were (and are) other Raitt families from the county and those known so far will be covered here.


Mention can be made first of a few of the Raitts, Lairds of Drumtochty (see under Raitt Residences), who were active in the period 1435-1488. John Rait (wife Elizabeth) had at least one child, Henry. Henry had at least one child, named Archibald Raitt who was mentioned in a court paper in 1624. The latter had at least two children, a son Robert and a daughter Katharine who married William Hay of Ury and Crimond in 1487. A later Robert Rait of Drumtochty is to be found in 1602.

The basic tree for much of this family (except the putative Charles Raitt tree) is given on the Manitoba Raitts page. It does not give the complete picture of the family since I have chosen not to include the parents of non-Raitt spouses or non-Raitt children (i.e. the offspring of Raitt daughters). Much of this information can be found in Holly Raitt Colquhoun’s tree on the web which I came across while delving into this family.


However, given the recently discovered facts about the South African branch of the family, then I have provided the updated tree for the descendants of James Ryrie Raitt below.

Hugh Mitchell Raitt (1922-2008)


As noted above Hugh Mitchell Raitt was born in 1922 to James Ryrie Raitt’s first wife, Janet Speedy. He was consequently already a young man when his father remarried, though one assumes that he lived with his father and step-mother and their new family at least for a few years.


In 1946, Hugh married Catherine Jessie Denise Waller in Inveresk and Musselburgh. Catherine was born there in 1921. Who her parents were is not known at the moment as neither the birth nor marriage records are yet online (though they can be ordered). Hugh and Catherine Raitt had at least three children: Janice Margaret Helen, born 1947 in Inveresk and Musselburgh; Hugh Mitchell, born 1951 in Cranston, Midlothian; and John Waller, born 1953, also in Cranston. Janice married Donald Fleming in Dalkeith, Midlothian in 1970 and currently resides near her mother in the Scottish Borders. Son Hugh Mitchell emigrated to Australia and is unmarried living in Melbourne.


Son John Waller Raitt was a prop artist and designer who travelled around the world, possibly with his brother Hugh, building sets as required. He went to South Africa in the early 1970s and in 1976 met and eventually married a local girl named Ethel Modise. Ethel was born on 25 November 1950 in Pretoria, South Africa to Johannes and Julia Modisse. After the birth of a daughter, Millicent, on 18 February 1977, John and Ethel subsequently moved to Namibia where their son Ashley was born on 15 Dec 1981 in the town of Keetmanshoop. John and Ethel married in Namibia in 1986 and later moved back to South Africa where their second son, Hugh Mitchell was born on 20 January 1990 in Pretoria. Thus the name Hugh Mitchell Raitt has been carried down through the family since 1862. Daughter Millicent had a son, Fortune, born in Pretoria on 13 June 1997, but sadly she died during the birth of her second child, daughter Thato, on 26 January 2004. John Waller Raitt died in Pretoria later the same year on 18 December 2004. His widow Ethel, their two sons Ashley and Hugh Mitchell, and their two grandchildren Fortune and Thato Raitt reside in Pretoria.

William Raitt (1772-1849)


William was the fifth child and second son of William and Ann Raitt and born 8 June 1772 in Marykirk, Kincardineshire. He married Elizabeth Rew (born 24 March 1776 in Fordoun, Kincardineshire) on 14 March 1807 (marriage also dated 8 March 1807 in Montrose, Angus) and they had five children between 1808-1816: Ann (1808); James (6 July 1809); Charles (9 January 1811); Elizabeth (1812); and William (24 May 1816) All were born in Montrose with the exception of William who was born in St Cyrus, Kincardineshire. William Snr was buried on 30 July 1849 - the internment took place in Marykirk, but the event was recorded in Montrose.


The 1841 census for Burnside, Benholm, Kincardineshire has a William Rait, aged 65, linen hand loom weaver, born Kincardineshire. Since ages are rounded in the census this is probably the right William and it looks as though he is a widower. However, there seems to be so sign of William’s sons in the 1841 census, except for possibly the youngest, William, in Bervie (see below).


William and Elizabeth's son Charles married Elspet Howie on 15 Dec 1846 in Huntly, Aberdeen. He died on died 28 March 1862 in Huntly, aged 51. The couple appear to have had four children: George; Charles; Jane; and Mary Ann.


The 1851 census for Bogie Street, Huntly gives Charles Raitt, 45, carrier, born Montrose, Angus; wife Elspit, 30, born Grange, Banffshire; and son George, 1, born Huntly.


The 1861 census for Bogie St, Huntly, Aberdeenshire has Charles Raitt, 50, carrier, born Montrose, Angus; wife Elspet, 35, born Grange, Banffshire; children: Charles, 9; Jane, 6; and Mary A., 5 - all scholars and born Huntly.


The 1871 census for 6 Bogie St, Huntly, Aberdeenshire has Elspet Raitt, widow, 47, carter, born Grange, Banffshire; children: Charles, 18, shopman (grocer), born Huntly as all others); Jane, 16, dress maker; Mary A., 14, dress maker; niece Jane Henry, 23, servant, born Marnoch, Aberdeenshire; and daughter Mary A. Currie, daughter, 6, born Huntly. This is likely to be Jane Henry’s daughter.


There seems to be no sign of son Charles in later censuses, so I suppose it is possible that he emigrated.


James Raitt (1779-1861)


James Raitt was the seventh child and third son of William and Ann Raitt. In the 1841 census living at Muirhead, St Cyrus, Kincardineshire is James Raitt, a farmer aged 60. In his household are his wife, Helen, aged 55 and four children: Ann, aged 20 (actually born 1815 in Benholm); James, aged 20 (born 1817 in Benholm); Margaret, aged 15 (born 1822 in Benholm – mother given as Agnes – presumably erroneously); and David aged 13 (precise date and place not found). The last three are all agricultural labourers – and the whole family were born in Kincardineshire. Son William may be the William Rait, age 21, living at Hallgreen Bothie in Bervie, Kincardineshire in 1841.


This family is also in the 1851 census at the same place, Muirhead – James Raitt is a widower aged 70, farming 65 acres and employing three labourers. He was born in St Cyrus. In the same household is his son William Raitt, unmarried aged 28, an agricultural labourer, born in Benholm; and daughter Margaret Raitt, unmarried, the house servant aged 26 and also born in Benholm.  


In the 1861 census for Muirhead Farm House, St Cyrus, we have James Rait, 81, widower, farmer, born St Cyrus; son William, 37, ploughman, born Benholm, Kincardineshire; daughter-in-law Margaret, 35, born Dundee, Angus; and grandson Charles, 6, born St Cyrus.


Charles Raitt (1782-1831)


There were apparently two infants named Charles Raitt christened in Kincardineshire at almost the same time. One was christened on 25 December 1782 in Marykirk to William Raitt and Ann Petrie, and the other was christened on 4 January 1783 in St Cyrus to James Raitt and, amazingly, an Ann Petrie. Given the timings, this would not be the same woman - in any event James and Ann only appear to have had that one child and there is no record of a marriage between Ann Petrie and James Raitt. William and Ann, however, had quite a few more, as we have seen above, with Charles being the last. The question is, were there really two Charles Raitts or was there a clerical error? Possibly, the earlier date is the actual birth date, while the second is the baptism - or perhaps the birth was registered (like Willam and Ann's marriage) in both parishes. Quite how the father was named James in one and William in the other is not clear - possibly confusion with one of the witnesses, James Cant, who is named in both records.


However, as noted on the California Raitts from South Dakota page, a Charles Frederick Raitt was born, possibly in Scotland, around 1784. The two Charles Raitts mentioned above are the only two recorded as born around that date not only in Scotland, but in the whole of the United Kingdon! But, what this means though, is that if Charles Frederick Raitt, was christened simply as Charles and turns out to be the son of William Raitt and Ann Petrie, then it gives descendant kinship not only to the Kincardineshire Raitts, but also the Manitoba Raitts and two sets of South African Raitts! In fact, as noted earlier, there is a candidate for the father of William Raitt - and his name was Robert - and the name Robert, like Charles and William has most definitely been carried down in this side of the family (see also the page for Anastatius Raitt.)


William Raitt (1816-1895)


William Raitt was the youngest son of William Raitt and Elizabeth Rew. He married Helen Grainger on 29 April 1844 in Edinburgh (her father was named John) and they had ten children between 1849-1864: John (1849); William (Sept 1850, Craig); George (10 Nov 1851, Craig); James (4 Jan 1854, Craig); Helen, (1856, Logie Pert); Mary and Margaret (1858, Logie Pert); Charles (16 Jan 1860); Hugh Mitchell (15 Feb 1862); and Thomas Ballentyne (6 March 1864, Logie Pert).  


Sons James, George and Charles Raitt emigrated to Canada and their descendants will be found under Manitoba Raitts and subsequently California Raitts.


Information about sons Hugh Mitchell, Thomas Ballentyne and John is provided below. No further details of son William have yet been found after 1871.


William Raitt's death extract states that he was a master joiner, widower of Anne (sic) Grainger, and died 18 January 1895 aged 78, at Wright’s Croft Craigo, Logie Pert. Parents were noted as William Raitt (master weaver) and Elizabeth Rew. Son Thomas B. Raitt was informant.


In the 1841 census for Hallgreen Bothie, Bervie, Kincardineshire is a William Rait, aged 21, born Kincardine. This may be William Raitt’s son or it could be the William (1819-1889) who is the son of his brother James.


In the 1851 census for 9 Esk St, Craig, Montrose, Angus are William Raitt, 34, carpenter employing two men, born St Cyrus, Kincardineshire; his wife Helen, 30, born Edinburgh; and their children John, 2; and William, 7 months, both born Craig.


In the 1861 census for Logie Pert, Angus and living at Wright’s Croft, Craigo are William Raitt, 44, joiner, born St Cyrus; his wife Helen, 40, born Corstorphine, Edinburghshire (Midlothian); and their children John, 12, scholar, born Craig, Angus; William, 10, scholar, born Craig; George, 9, scholar, born Craig; James, 7, scholar, born Craig; Helen, 5, scholar, born Logie Pert; twins Margaret and Mary, 3, born Logie Pert; and Charles, 1, born Logie Pert.


In the 1871 census for Logie Pert, living at Carpenter’s Croft of Craigo are William Raitt, 54, house carpenter employing one man; wife Helen, 50; and children George, 19, house carpenter; Helen, 15; twins Margaret and Mary, 13, scholars; Charles, 11, scholar; Hugh, 9, scholar, born Logie Pert; and Thomas, 7, scholar, born Logie Pert. Son William, 20, is living next door at the Smith’s Croft of Craigo where he is a blacksmith.


In the 1881 census for Logie Pert, living at 1, Logie Road are William Raitt, 64, wright or house carpenter; wife Helen, 60; and children James, 27, unmarried, blacksmith; Margaret, 23, unmarried; and Thomas, 17, wright’s apprentice or house carpenter. Sister Mary is probably nearby, Charles had already sailed for Canada.


In the 1891 census for Logie Pert, living at Joiner’s House, Craigo are William Raitt, 74, now a widower, but still employed as a joiner; and the unmarried twins Margaret and Mary, 33, both father’s housekeepers.


Thomas Ballentyne Raitt (1864-1946)


Thomas Ballentyne Raitt was the youngest child of William Raitt and Helen Grainger and born on 6 March 1864 in Logie Pert. He married Isabella Ley in 1890 in Montrose, Angus and they had two children between 1893-1901; David; and Helen.


Thomas is to be found at home with his parents in the 1871 and 1881 censuses (see above).


In the 1891 census Thomas Raitt, 27, joiner, born Angus is living with wife Isabella, 26, born Montrose, in New City Road, Barony, Kelvin, Lanarkshire.


In the 1901 census for Wright's Croft Cottage, Logie Pert, Angus, there is Thomas B. Raitt, 37, estate joiner, born Logie Pert; wife Isabella, 36, born Montrose; son David L., 8, scholar, born Logie Pert; daughter Helen G., 0, born Logie Pert; and sister Margaret Raitt, 43, single, domestic servant; born Logie Pert. She was presumably helping with the new born baby.


In the 1911 census for Logie Pert, Angus are Thomas B. Raitt, 47, estate overseer; wife Isabella, 46; and children David L., 17; and Helen G., 10.


John Raitt (1849-1917)


John Raitt was the oldest child of William Raitt and Helen Grainger and born about 1849. I have not been able to find his exact date of birth. He died on 18 Feb 1917, age 68, at 9 George St, Montrose. Like his father he was a master joiner. The informant was his son William. His death extract says he was married to Jeannie Alexander, and they married in East Hill of Craigo, Logie Pert on 13 June 1876. John, 28, was a joiner living in Melrose and Jane, 27, was assisting at home at East Hill of Craigo. Jane's parents were Alexander Alexander, farmer, and Jean McPherson. Witnesses to the marriage were Margaret Raitt (John's sister) and John Alexander.


In the 1851 and 1861 censuses John was at home with his parents (see above).


In 1871, we find John Raitt, 22, unmarried, a house joiner, born Craig, Angus lodging at 46 Oxford Street, Tradeston, Lanarkshire.


In the 1881 census for 82 Albert Street, South Leith, St Andrew, Midlothian we find John Raitt, 33, house carpenter, born Montrose, Angus; wife Jane, 32, born Montrose; daughter Jane Mcph, 3, born Melrose, Roxburghshire; and son William, 2, born Glenluce, Wigtownshire.


In the 1891 census for Lower Hall Street, Montrose, there is John Raitt, 43, house carpenter and joiner, born Craig, Angus; wife Jane, 42, born Logie Pert, Angus; daughter Jane Mcp, 13, scholar, born Melrose, Roxburghshire; and sons William, 12, scholar, born Wigtownshire; and John A., 7, scholar, born Leith, Midlothian.


In the 1901 census for 23 Balmain Street, Montrose, Angus we have John Raitt, 52, house carpenter, born Craig, Angus; wife Jane, 50, born Logie Pert, Angus; and children Jane M., 23, born Roxburghshire; John A., 17, house carpenter, born Leith, Midlothian; and Arthur G. Raitt, 7, born Montrose, scholar.


In the 1911 census for 9, George Street, Montrose there is John Raitt, 61, house carpenter, employer, born Craig, Angus; wife Jane, 60, born Logie Pert, Angus; and son John A., 26, house carpenter, worker, born Leith, Edinburgh.

At least one Raitt family from Kincardineshire had members that emigrated first to Canada and then to the United States. Those elements of the family are mainly given under Manitoba Raitts and California Raitts pages. On the Manitoba Raitts page it is noted that those who went to Canada in the early 1880s stemmed from the family of William Raitt and Helen Grainger. However, the earliest members of this family are possibly William Raitt and Ann Petrie from Kincardineshire whose descendants later moved to Angus as well as Midlothian. Other later family members emigrated to South Africa.


According to his gravestone in Marykirk, Kincardineshire, William Raitt was born in 1730 (in St Cyrus, Kincardineshire) and died in 1823 (in St Cyrus). His date of birth might actually be 1736 (and in subsequent transcriptions might have been misread from a worn stone - it seems unlikely that he would be fourteen years older than his wife. If he was indeed born in 1736 and in Kincardineshire, then he could possibly the son of Robert Raitt and born on 24 July 1736 in Fordoun. However the name Robert does not seem to have been carried down through descendants - though see below.) William was a tenant farmer in Gaupieshaugh which lies between St Cyrus and Laurencekirk and nearby Ecclesgreig where his wife Ann Petrie was born in 1744 (she died in St Cyrus in 1823). At his marriage on 11 August 1763 William’s surname is spelled Reat, but exactly when and where and to whom he was born is not known. Clearly he must have been working in Marykirk as his first few children were born there. And a caveat must be made that, as with many of the older Scottish parish records, since often only the father is given and many names are the same, then it is not always one hundred percent certain that we have the right individual for descendants. However, the available evidence does suggest that these are the most likely parents to have spawned a family exodus.


There are actually two records for the marriage between William Raitt and Ann Petrie - one in Marykirk and one in St Cyrus. The Marykirk one is an entry for July 29 [1763] and says "The which day were contracted to marriage William Rait in this parish and Ann Petrie in the parish of Ecclesgreig. Married Augst 11." (Actually, a couple of entries above is a similar record for John Rait and Margaret Duchars both of this parish with William Rait as a witness for the bridegroom. Married June 29. Maybe John was William's brother?) The other marriage entry for Wm Reat in St Cyrus is rather odd because at the top of the page is the heading Baptisms Anno 1763 and indeed most of the entries are of baptisms. However, in the middle of the page with a date of July 22 it says "Wm Reat in the parish of Arbuthnott and Ann Petrie in this parish were contracted and married August 12th." So there is no doubt the two records refer to the same people. It was, of course, normal for the banns or contracts to be made in both the bride's and the groom's parishes - Ann came from St Cyrus (Ecclesgreig is the old name for St Cyrus). What is interesting though is that William is said to be from Arbuthnott rather than Marykirk (which is some way away). Maybe he was originally from Arbuthnott (where there were other Raitts) but was working in Marykirk.


William Raitt and Ann Petrie had eight children between 1764-1782 (and the name fluctuates between Rait, Raite and Raitt). They were: Margaret, chr 4 August 1764 in Marykirk; Elizabeth, chr 19 Feb 1766 in Marykirk; Euphemia, chr 15 May 1768 in Marykirk; John, chr 29 April 1770 in Marykirk; William, chr 8 June 1772 in Marykirk; Ann, chr 8 March 1777 in Garvock; James, chr 1779 in Garvock; and Charles, chr 1782 in Marykirk. There does seem to be a five year gap between a couple of their children and I surmise that an unnamed one might have died around birth since otherwise they were born regularly every couple of years.


Son William (1772-1849) married Elizabeth Rew in 1807 and they had five children between 1808-1816. At least three of their grandchildren emigrated to Canada in the early 1880s (see Manitoba Raitts). Son James (1779-1861) married Helen Cruickshank in 1813 and they had six children between 1815-1828). James and his son William appear in the 1841 census (Kincardineshire), but there seems to be no sign of their brothers John and Charles. But new research has thrown up an intriguing possibility for Charles (see below).


The details below do not cover all individuals in the family of William and Ann, nor all their descendants. I will try and provide more complete coverage at a later date.

James Ryrie Raitt (1892-1964)


The second son of Hugh Mitchell Raitt and Jessie Ann Ryrie, James Ryrie Raitt, was born on 16 December 1892 in Montrose, Angus. He married Janet Helen Speedy (also Speedie) on 18 Sep 1920 in Kirkton, Hawick, Roxburghshire. Janet was born in March 1891 at Westruther (or Greenlaw), Berwickshire to James Speedy and Janet Brunton who married in 1887 in Canongate, Edinburgh, Midlothian. James had been born on 15 Oct 1841 in Berwick-upon-Tweed, England, apparently the second child of four, to Anderson Speed (born 1804, Holy Island, Northumberland) and Mary Allan (born 1807, Ancroft, Northumberland). Janet Brunton was born on 17 April 1856 in Ednam, Roxburghshire, the fourth child of eight, to John Brunton (born 1821 in Sprouston, Roxburgshire, son of James Brunton and Jenny Aldcorn) and Agnes Hermiston (born 1825, Eccles, Berwickshire). James Speedy and Janet Brunton had certainly two children: Agnes B., born 1890 in Westruther and Janet Helen in 1891.


James Ryrie Raitt and Janet Helen Speedy had a son named Hugh Mitchell Raitt, after his grandfather, born on 28 July 1922 in Inveresk and Musselburgh, Midlothian. This appears to be their only child, even though it was not until ten years later that Janet died on 14 Oct 1932 in Inveresk, Midlothian after a bout of influenza that lasted ten days. Some years later, on 5 February 1936, James married Anne Brown Leitch - James was a 42 year old widowed master joiner and Anne was a 26 year old clerkess. Anne was born to Alexander Leitch, a master hairdresser, and Mabel Jessie Saunders, on 26 December 1909 in Lochgelly, Fife. Her parents had been married on Christmas Day 1905 in Dunbar, East Lothian. Anne died in 1999 in Inveresk, Musselburgh, more than 30 years after James who died there on 26 August 1964.


James and Anne had three children, all born in Edinburgh: Margaret Saunders, born 1938; Anne Morag, born 1941; and James Saunders, born 1944. James married Wilma Turnbull in 1969 and they had a son, Alastair Scott, born 31 October 1972 in Musselburgh, who today runs the H. M. Raitt & Sons Ltd family business. Alastair married Catherine McCabe in 2000 and the couple have three children. James and Wilma also had a daughter, Suzanne Elizabeth, born 7 August 1975 in Edinburgh. Suzanne married Peter Keohane from Dublin. Ireland on 2 September 2006 at Dalhousie Castle in East Lothian and the couple emigrated to Oakville, Ontario, Canada in July 2007. Their two children Dylan James and Niamh Elizabeth were subsequently born there.

Hugh Mitchell Raitt (1862-1935)


Hugh Mitchell Raitt was the ninth child born to William Raitt and Helen Grainger. Like his father and many others in the family, Hugh became a joiner. In the early 1880s Hugh moved first to Aberdeen for work and then to Montrose, Angus (where he married Jessie Ann Ryrie in 1886), He subsequently moved to Musselburgh, Midlothian in the late 1890s or early 1900s, again for work and subsequently forming a family business there in 1906. The company, which undertakes commercial, domestic, new build, restoration and renovation works, has been subsequently passed on to Raitt sons to this day and is now in its fourth generation. Hugh and Jessie had four children between 1887-1894: William Grainger, born 1887 in Montrose, Angus; Margaret Ryrie, born 1891 in Montrose; James Ryrie, born 1892 in Montrose; and John Ryrie, born 1894 in Montrose.


In the 1881 census for 6 Sea View Place, St Nicholas, Aberdeen, Hugh Raitt is aged 19 and unmarried is a boarder and working as a joiner.


In 1891 Hugh Raitt, aged 29, a joiner, born Logie Pert, Angus is living in a close at 5 High Street, Montrose, Angus with his wife Jessie Ann, 28, born Montrose; and children William, 3; and Maggie, 2m – both born Montrose.


In the 1901 census, living at Links Place, Inveresk, Musselburgh is Hugh M. Raitt, 39, former joiner, born Logie Pert; wife Jessie Ann, 38, born Montrose; and children William G., 13, office boy; Maggie R., 10, scholar; James R., 8, scholar; and John R., 6, scholar – all born Montrose. Also in the household is John L. Ryrie, 29, brother-in-law, baker, born Montrose; and a visitor Isabella McLennan, 27, single, former factory worker.


In the 1911 census living at 4, Links Place, Inveresk, Musselburgh is Hugh Mitchell Raitt, 49, joiner and house agent, employer, born Craigo, Angus; wife Jessie Ann, 48 (married 24 years); daughter Margaret, 20, book keeper in the joiner industry (thus presumably her father’s company); and sons James, 18; and John, 16 – both apprentice joiners.


Hugh’s eldest son William Grainger Raitt, born 7 Nov 1887, emigrated to Canada. On 20 January 1911 he departed Liverpool for St John, New Brunswick aboard the Corsican. As a 39 year-old farmer he is registered as leaving Greenock for St John, NB on 26 February 1927 on board the Montcalm and on his way to Saskatchewan. His last address in the UK was 13, Windsor Gardens, Musselburgh. He married Louise Isabele Wilson and died in White Rock, British Columbia on 28 October 1981. Louise was born about 1902 and died in White Rock in 1989.

Arhur Grainger Raitt (1893-2003)

Arthur Grainger Raitt was the youngest child of John Raitt and Jean Alexander and was born on 18 July 1893 in Montrose, Angus. At home with his parents in the 1901 census, as Arthur Raitt he appears in the 1911 census, aged 17, an apprentice marine engineer, born Montrose, boarding with the Walkley family at 957 Argyle Street, Glasgow Anderston.


Arthur served as an Ordinary Seaman, Able Seaman, Signalman and Engine Room Artificer in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve Division Service (Clyde) during the 1st World War. As an Able Seaman serving on HMS Howe Battalion as an Engine Room Artificer, First Class, he was awarded a Clasp on 1 November 1922 to the 1914 Star which he was awarded on 14 April 1920. He also received the Victory and British War medals. On his card for the 1914 Star, headed Sea Service, we learn that his date of entry in the RNVR (Clyde) was 19 January 1914, he was a protestant, was able to swim, was an apprentice marine engineer in civil employment and his address was c/o Ramage, 9 Clyde View, Whiteinch, Glasagow. His father was given as John Raitt, residing at Dunard, George St, Montrose. Arthur was 5ft 8¾in, with dark hair, hazel eyes and a dark complexion and he had a tattoo on his right forearm depicting a thistle and heart and the words Scotland for ever. His service record shows that his yearly assessment for conduct throughout was very good and his ability was excellent. He was demobbed in February 1919 and was paid a war gratuity. His service record also reveals that he was on board diverse vessels continuously from October 1914 to February 1919 in various capacities. The ships on which he served are listed as:


Victory - OS - served from 29 Oct 1914-11 Dec 1914

Halcyon - signaler - served from 12 Dec 1914-31 Dec 1914

Attentive  - signaler - served from 1 Jan 1915-12 Jan 1915

Actaeon II - signaler - served from 13 Jan 1915-9 Feb 1915

Harrier - signaler - served from 10 Feb 1915-5 March 1915

MFA Ceto - signaler - served from 6 March 1915-19 Oct 1915

Pembroke I - signaler - served from 20 Oct 1915-29 Oct 1915

Pembroke II - engine room artificer 2nd class - served from 30 Oct 1915-14 Feb 1916

Empress - engine room artificer 2nd class - served from 15 Feb 1916-28 Aug 1916

Empress - engine room artificer 1st class - served from 29 Aug 1916-15 Aug 1918

Pembroke II - engine room artificer 1st class - served from 16 Aug 1916-25 Feb 1919


With his wartime experience in the engine room under his belt, Arthur continued in that line of work.

Arthur Grainger Raitt, age 29, an engineer with the Shanghai Tug and Lighter Co., married Jessie McCallum on 20 November 1922 in Shanghai, China. The record shows that both were resident in Shanghai at the time and Jessie’s age was given as “full” meaning that she was over 18 and an adult. Arthur’s father was named John and he was a builder; Jessie’s father was James and he was involved in seafaring (i.e. presumably a sailor). I have not yet found when they first travelled to Shanghai - whether that was together, or Jessie joined Arthur there, or whether she was already there and that is where they met. The couple had two sons born in Shanghai: John A. about 1923; and Arthur G. about 1927.


Arthur Raitt, 35, engineer, departed London on 7 September 1929 bound for Singapore and Japan (final destination Shanghai) aboard the Kashima Maru. With him travelling in first class were his wife Jessie, 34; and sons John, 5 and Arthur, 2. Their last address in the United Kingdom was 5 Walworth Terrace, Glasgow. Their country of last permanent residence was given as  “Other parts of the British Empire”, and their country of intended future permanent residence was given as China.


Arthur Raitt and family are recorded as departing Yokohama, Japan, aboard the Corfu and arriving in London on 12 April 1933 travelling in second class. Their country of last residence was China and their port of embarkation was Shanghai. The party consisted of Arthur Raitt, 36, engineer; Agnes Raitt, 36, H.D.; and children John, 9 and Arthur, 6. Their proposed address in the United Kingdom was c/o McCallum, 60 Kent Road, Glasgow. Quite why Arthur’s wife is called Agnes rather than Jessie is not yet known.


An A. G. Raitt, age 41, is recorded as departing Southampton aboard the Warwick Castle destination Cape Town on 24 May 1935. His last address in the UK was c/o South Africa House, Strand, W.C. (London). His country of last permanent residence was given as  “Other parts of the British Empire”, and his country of intended future permanent residence was given as South Africa. Whether this is Arthur Grainger Raitt is not clear - there is an age discrepancy of a couple of years.


The Arthur Grainger Raitt who died on 3 February 2003 in Largs, North Ayrshire, aged 76 (thus born in  1927) will be the above Arthur's second son with Jessie McCallum, born in Shanghai.