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Ensign Arthur Dingwall Fordyce

- Aberdeen, Scotland

- 14 January 1845

- Scottish

- 5 feet 8 ½ inches

Family Background:
- Fordyce's father was Alexander Dingwall Fordyce, owner of the Bruckley Castle estate, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, a former commander in the Royal Navy, and Member of Parliament for Aberdeen, 1847 to 1852

At Sandhurst:
- No

Foreign Languages:
- French and German

Career before Halifax:
- Ensign, 15 July 1867 (purchase)

Postings while in NS Command:
- 9 May 1869 to 25 November 1871

Career after Halifax:
- Lieutenant, 16 March 1870 (purchase)
- Adjutant, 21 August 1872

- 25 July 1877, Edinburgh

Ensign Fordyce was one of two officers with the 78th in Halifax who had some association with this city before coming here (the other being Lieutenant Edward Mayne Alexander) His mother, Barbara, was the daughter of James Thom, a merchant of this city. In 1835 she married Alexander Dingwall Fordyce of the Royal Navy, and left with him to live at his estate of Brucklay in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. The Brucklay estate consisted of 20 903 acres, and earned the Fordyce's an annual income of £12 967. The family also owned 46 acres in Kincardineshire, with an annual income of £1 091, yielding the Fordyces a total annual income of £14 058.

Alexander's and Barbara's fourth son, Arthur, was baptized into the Free Church of Scotland, and obtained a BA degree from Edinburgh University, before applying for a commission in the army. His initial preference was for either the 74th Highlanders, or the 92nd Gordon Highlanders, but he was assigned to the 91st Arayllshire Regiment instead, which, although a highland regiment, was at this time not kilted. When Fordyce heard of a vacancy coming open in the 78th he immediately applied for it. According to a letter written to the Horse Guards on his behalf by his eldest brother (then the owner of Bruckley), he much preferred the 78th "to the 9lst, ... [and] I am most anxious that my brother, who is a Scotchman and Highlander, should enter the army and the 78th Regiment.”  This would suggest that in some circles non-kilted highland regiments were excluded from the canon of national regiments.

After leaving Halifax, Fordyce was appointed the 78th's adjutant in August 1872. He continued in this position until his sudden death, while serving with the regiment in Edinburgh Castle, on 25 July 1877. Davidson writes that it was "a loss deeply regretted by all ranks" to whom, as stated in the regimental orders, "he had endeared himself during the time he held the adjutancy." In 1879 the family established the so-called "Dingwall-Fordyce Memorial Gift" of £1 200 which they contributed to the Caledonian Asylum. The commanding officer of the 78th was enpowered "to present from time to time one child, male or female, of a non-commissioned officer or private serving or having served in the 78th, whether an orphan or not, for admission to the Asylum without ballot, to be maintained and educated for the same period and in the same manner as the other children inmates of the Asylum.”  



All donations received are used to bring history to life at the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site of Canada, by hiring young men and women to portray the British Garrison in Halifax at the time of our nation's birth.