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Photo c1906/7 - Sergeant & Eliza Jane Osler, (unknown female adult), Jessie, Maggie, Marion, Brand (standing), Edith (baby) & Agnes (sitting)

David Osler (1859-1937)

His Life

David Osler was said to have run away to the army three times and been brought back twice by his mother.  The last time in 1877 she let him stay (he was now the minimum age and no longer require parental consent to join). She died 2 years later. The first 15 years of his manhood (from 18 to 33) were spent outside Scotland with the Scots Guards. He did well and by 29 achieved the senior NCO rank of Colour Sergeant.


In 1882 he was with the 1st Battalion, the Scots Guards in the Egyptian Campaign. He took part in the forced march to Kassassine and the Tel-el-Kebir battle. In 1885 with the 2nd Battalion, he was involved in the skirmishes around Souakim.  He was awarded the Egypt Medal, with bars for Tel-el-Kabir (’82) & Suakim (’85) and the Khedive’s Bronze Star.  After this campaign the Scots Guards were sent to Cyprus for a time, where they camped in Troodos Mountains.  He named the house he built in Forfar after this peaceful location.                    


In 1892, he retired from active duty and was transferred to the permanent staff of the volunteer Battalions of the Black Watch (Royal Highlanders), as Colour Sergeant and local Forfar Drill Instructor. He was discharged from the army in 1909 at 50 years of age (the maximum) and 32 years of exemplary service. 


Colour Sergeant Osler was well known in Forfar over the years in his roles as: Drill Instructor for the local Volunteers; Drill Instructor for the local Schools (for 20 years); and local WWI recruiting officer. He earned considerable respect over the years in the Forfar community for his ‘bearing’ and character.  He was a first class shot and won many prizes, and a champion of his bowling club.  He was a loving father and my mother adored him - sadly he died in 1937 just missing her marriage. Given his ‘inauspicious’ birth, he made a great success of his life and earned respect from all who knew him.                                         

His 2nd wife - Eliza Jane Grubb (1873-1954)

David remarried (Forfar, 1901) with Eliza Jane Grubb.  She was born in Brechin (1873) and was a domestic servant in Forfar from the age of 15.  Her Grub(b) family tree is summarized is the Osler Chronology.   They had 6 children: Agnes, Brand, Edith, Stewart, Francis & Ralph.

Marion Cargill (1872-99)         His 1st wife

On demobilization he returned to Forfar and the same year married Marion Cook Cargill.  She was the daughter of James Cargill (master builder) and Margaret Mitchell from Forfar.  


They had three daughters, but tragically she died of pulmonary tuberculosis (like David’s mother) at age 27. 

- Jessie Cargill Osler, b 1893

- Maggie Mitchell Osler, b 1895; married in Australia, no children.

- Marion Cargill Osler, b 1896, 


The 3 girls emigrated to Melbourne, Australia.  Marion & Jessie visited Scotland in the 1950’s.  Marion and my mother kept in touch for many years.

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