Victor Ferrar

Military Information

  • Date of enlistment:
  • Place of enlistment:
  • Service no: ZX/24
  • Rank: Able Seaman
  • Service Occupation:
  • Awards:
  • Regiment/Service: Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve
  • Unit/Ship: Hood Battalion, R.N. Div
  • Place of Death: Turkey/Gallipoli
  • Age at Death: 18
  • Date of Death: 17.07.1915
  • Burial Country: Turkey/Gallipoli
  • Cemetery: Helles Memorial
  • Grave/Mem Ref no: Panel 8 to 15

Personal Information

  • Date of Birth: 22.06.1896
  • Place of Birth:
  • Address: 61 1/2 Perth Rd, Dundee
  • Occupation: Apprentice Watchmaker
  • Mother:

    Mary Auchterlonie Swanson Ferrar, The Wattles, 413 Blackness Rd, Dundee

  • Father:

    William Ferrar

  • Siblings:


  • Spouse:
  • Children:

More about Victor Ferrar

Victor has no known grave but is remembered on the Helles Memorial.

On 17 July 1915, ZX/24 Bandsman Victor Ferrar, Hood Battalion, Royal Naval Division, R.N.V.R., was killed in action at the Dardanelles, aged 18.
Born on 22 June 1896, Victor was the only son of William and Mary Auchterlonie Swanson Ferrar, Perth Road, Dundee. He was a watchmaker to trade, and a member of the H.M.S. Unicorn Band, transferring to the Hood Battalion, R.N.D., on 9 September 1914.
Ferrar took part in the defence of Antwerp in 1914, before serving in the Dardanelles, where fell victim to a Turkish sniper while trying to assist a wounded comrade. Notification of his death appeared in ‘The Post’ on 1 August.

POPULAR YOUNG DUNDEE LAD KILLED AT DARDANELLES. Intimation has been received in Dundee of the death in action near the Dardanelles of Bandsman Victor Ferrar, only son of Mr Wm. Ferrar, jeweller, High Street, Dundee. Bandsman Ferrar, who was only eighteen years of age, was attached to the Hood Battalion of the Royal Naval Brigade.
Official intimation states that he was killed on 17th July. Bandsman Ferrar was an exceedingly well-liked young man in Dundee, and was a popular pupil of Harris Academy, and a member of Monifieth Golf Club. The Post, Sunday, 1 August 1915, 2.

Family Background:

Victor`s father was a jeweller and watchmaker, with a business at 70 High Street, Dundee ,who died in 1911. Victor attended Harris Academy and was a pre war member of the Unicorn Band and fine violinist. He was a member of Monifieth Golf Club and the Ryehill Brotherhood. The family lived at 20 Forebank Road and then at the Wattles,413 Blackness Road, Dundee. Victor was living at 61&half Perth Road, Dundee on enlistment.

 Service History:

Unicorn Band member pre war. Served at Antwerp and then Gallipoli where he was a stretcher bearer. He was one of a group of Dundee men who were searching for an injured comrade lying in no man`s land when he was killed. His companions later rescued the injured man after burying Victor. He was so highly thought of that a Communication Trench was named Ferrar Road in his honour.

The following day, ‘The Courier’ published a photograph and more detailed obituary.

WELL-KNOWN DUNDEE BANDSMAN KILLED IN ACTION AT THE DARDANELLES. Bandsman Victor Ferrar, a well-known Dundee lad, has been killed in action at the Dardanelles. He was the only son of the late Mr Wm. Ferrar, jeweller, High Street.
Mrs Ferrar, who resides at 61 ½ Perth Road, received official intimation during the weekend that her son was killed on 17th July.
Bandsman Ferrar, who was only eighteen years of age, had a wide circle of friends in Dundee. He was a member of the Hood Battalion of the Royal Naval Division, and took part in the defence of Antwerp with the Dundee companies of the Clyde R.N.V.R., with the band of which he was connected for several years.
Deceased, along with the other members of the Unicorn band, was attached to the ambulance section at the Gallipoli Peninsula. A former pupil of the Harris Academy, he was a member of the Monifieth Golf Club, and was also connected with the Ryehill Brotherhood. The Courier, Monday, 2 August 1915, 4.

The circumstances of his death were revealed in a letter to the Rev. Stephen Forsyth, Chapelshade Church.

DUNDEE MAN IS BURIED IN A HERO’S GRAVE IN GALLIPOLI. VICTOR FERRAR’S NOBLE END. Bandsman Victor Ferrar, of the Dundee R.N.V.R. Band, who a week ago was reported killed in action at the Dardanelles, met his death while trying to relieve a wounded comrade.
Deceased, who was 18 years of age, was the only son of the late Mr William Ferrar, jeweller, High Street, Dundee, and of Mrs Ferrar, 61 ½ Perth Road. He was attached to the Hood Battalion of the Royal Naval Division, and the circumstances of how this lad came by a noble end are related in a letter which has been received by the Rev. Stephen Forsyth, of Chapelshade Church.
The writer, after referring to the dangers attending the work of buying the dead due to the presence of snipers, says: – Several of our men have been lost as the result of snipers, amongst them being young Ferrar, who met his death trying to give real comfort to a wounded man.
This wounded man, who belonged to the Nelson Battalion, after lying for three days between the trenches without food or water, managed to attract attention by holding up a white bandage. He was brought into a British trench, but as this trench was one which had been taken over, it was impossible then to get him removed to hospital, as the communication trench was not finished. The wounded man lay in this trench, which was near the firing line, for other four days.
Dundee Men’s Efforts at Rescue.
At this juncture, the writer states, their battalion took over the line at that point, and the stretcher-bearers, which were all Dundee men belonging to the R.N.V.R. Band, decided to take the wounded man down after dark. They started to carry this out, but only managed to get him to within 100 yards of the supports, when, being absolutely dead beat, they were forced to put him temporarily in as safe a place as they could find. They left a bottle of water with the wounded man, and intended to make a further attempt to have him taken to hospital the following evening. About dinner time next day Ferrar thought he would risk carrying some food to the wounded man, and started on this perilous mission. The young Dundee lad, however, never got the length. He was shot through the head, no doubt by a sniper.
That night the wounded man was at last removed to safety; while Victor Ferrar, who had given his life in an attempt to succour him, was laid in a soldier’s and hero’s grave. The Courier, Monday, 9 August 1915.

Bandsman Victor Ferrar was buried in a communication trench named ‘Ferrar Road’, presumably in honour of the young Dundonian. Today, Victor is commemorated on the Helles Memorial, Turkey, with over 21,000 of his comrades.


Victor Ferrar was the son of Mr William and Mrs Mary Auchterlonie Swanson Ferrar of The Wattles, 413 Blackness Road, Dundee. He was a civilian member of HMS Unicorn’s Band. When the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve was established in Dundee in 1905 the men trained onboard HMS Unicorn. An important morale booster was their band, formed from volunteer musicians who, although they wore Naval Uniform when performing, they were not enrolled in the RNVR. Over 160 of the Dundee RNVR were mobilised for service in the Royal Naval Division. The Unicorn Band members all volunteered and joined the Hood Battalion in Kent, changed their name to the Hood Band and began training as infantry men and stretcher bearers. He went with the Hood to help defend Antwerp in October 1914. Victor Ferrar was killed trying to rescue an injured comrade lying in no-man’s-land on 17 July 1915. He was one of a group of Dundee men attempting to find the missing man. He was struck down but four of his friends stayed with him until he died. Later, they went back out and found the injured man and brought him in as well. Victor Ferrar was a musician in the Hood Battalion Band and was also a talented violinist. Although his comrades buried him and marked the spot with a makeshift cross his grave was not found after the war and his name is recorded on the Helles Memorial and the HMS Unicorn Memorial. He enrolled at the Dundee Technical College in 1913 but did not attend.

Iain Stewart and Iain Birnie

Additional information kindly supplied by Michael Caldwell and Hugh Mcrae.

Further information supplied by Iain Stewart and Iain Birnie

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