He was born at Aberdeen, Scotland, on 2nd March, 1859. He entered the High School, June, 1869, remaining until December, 1872, when he had risen to a high position in the
school. He then went to Fettes' College, Edinburgh. Returning again to the Colony, he first entered the Civil Service, and then a solicitor's office, where he was long remembered for his remarkable intelligence. During this time he joined the Natal Carbineers as a trooper, and lost his life on 22nd January, 1879, on the field of Isandhlwana.
His remains were identified as amongst those who fell surrounding their leader.