In 2014 the centenary of the outbreak of World War One, Cumnock History Group began researching the names on the Cumnock War Memorial plus other men and women with Cumnock connections mentioned on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission or in the Cumnock Chronicle of the time. The research is not limited to those who died but also to men and women who served, using family history information.

The group would like to appeal to individuals with knowledge of family members for photographs of the soldier, either in uniform or not, and photos of medals or other memorabilia eg letters sent home from the Front. If you would be prepared to share these on this site, please email the web manager The group is willing to share any copies of documents found with the soldier's descendants.

Monday 13 May 2024

Thomas Gibson Cochrane

Thomas Gibson Cochrane was born on 13th October 1898 at Roadside Cumnock, Thomas joined the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve. He was an officer's steward. His occupation at the time was chemist, he was 18 when he enlisted.

NameThomas Gibson Cochrane
Birth Date13 Oct 1898
Year range1915-1917
Service NumberZ/8847

NameThomas Gibson Cochrane
Birth Date13 Oct 1898
Birth PlaceCummock, Ayrshire
Record TypeMilitary
Military Service Start Date21 Aug 1917
Military Service End Date10 Feb 1919
Service BranchRoyal Navy
WarWorld War I
DivisionWar Fleet Service Divisions
DescriptionClyde, Vol 12, Z08201-Z09200

He was the younger brother of William Cochrane

He married Mary Graham Brown of Catrine in 1923.

He owned a pharmacy in High Street, Dalbeattie in Kirkcudbrightshire. He died in 1966 of liver cancer.

Ian Howat has his Cumnock War Medal.

Wednesday 21 February 2024

The names on the War Memorial

The War Memorial (pictured to the right) is in the New Cemetery in Glaisnock Street. It was unveiled  by Lt-Col Archibald McInnes Shaw of Ballochmyle on Saturday 25th June 1921. There are 8 bronze plaques with 7 of them with the names of 117 men associated with Cumnock. Is your ancestor among them? Get in touch with your memories.

The names are organised first by rank,  then alphabetically.
Click below for all the names

Scroll over names to find information. Names are being added as they are discovered.

Lieut. Edward Knight, R.S.F.
Lieut. A.J.B. Milne, Gordons

Lieut. William McNaughton, R.S.F.

P.O. James Young, R.N.
C.S.M.Robert W. Brown, A.I.Y.

C.S.M. Robert Orr M.M. & Bar R.S.F.
Sergt. Robert Baird M.M. R.S. 

Sergt. George Burns, A.&.S.H. 

Sergt. Robert Gilmour, R.S.F.

Sergt. James B. Johnstone, Camerons
Sergt. John Nicol, Seaforths
Sergt. William McCaa, R.F.A.

Corpl. John Black, R.S.F.
Corpl. Hugh Brogan, R.S.F.

Corpl. James Lennox, R.S.F.

Corpl. John McKinnon M.M. R.E.
Corpl. George Neil, H.L.I.

Sunday 12 November 2023

John Kirkland

John (Jackie) Kirkland was born in Cumnock in 1897 making him very young when he enlisted in the Royal Scots Fusiliers 1/5, reg numbers 240207 and 7013

His parish medal

John McCartney, RSF

 John McCartney was born in Cumnock on the 25th May 1878 in Elbow Lane to William Clark Mccartney and Margaret Richmond. His father a tailor to trade, was also a successful horse trainer.

John served in the RSF no. 40110. 

Photos from Brandon Colvin in Texas.

He was awarded the Silver War Badge (SWB)
In September 1916, King George V authorised the Silver War Badge (SWB) to honour all military personnel who had served at home or overseas since 4 August 1914 and who had been discharged because of wounds or illness.

Wednesday 11 October 2023

William Carter

William Carter was born on  the 22nd February 1886 in Elbow Lane where his parents Francis Carter and Margaret Murray kept a lodging house. In the 1901 census aged 15 he was a pit bottomer. On his marriage certificate he was a farm servant when he married Jane Little of Craigbank in June 1912 and they had their first child, a daughter Catherine in April 1913. 

William enlisted in the army in April 1913 with the 2nd Battalion, the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders no.1192 then he served with the Royal Engineers no 83690 in the tunnelling corps and was sent to France. He was wounded for the third time at the battle of Hill 60 in spring 1915.  

He gifted a book of Burns poems to Mr & Mrs H Sutherland which was found by Sarah Blackburn who has provided this information.

He died on the 25th March 1972 in Ballochmyle Hospital of respiratory failure due to silicosis (miner's lung) aged 86. His usual address was 23 Redree Place, New Cumnock. He is buried in New Cumnock Afton road cemetery along with his grandson Billy Woonton.

Monday 24 April 2023

The Lodge Memorial

 The Lodge Memorial in Cumnock New Cemetery

photographed and recorded by George McMillan


To the glory of God and in memory of Brethren of this Lodge who fell in

the Great War 1914 – 1918
Sergt Thomas Armstrong Canadians,
Pte James Carson Camerons,
Pte Peter Forbes Scotts Guards,
Tpr Samuel Guthrie Lanark Yeomry,
Pte Alex Geeki Camerons,
L.Cpl John Henderson Royal Scots
Sergt Alex Hodge M.M. R.A.M.C.,
Pte John Lamont New Zealanders,
Pte Robert Lundie R.S.F.,
Pte James Lundie Australians,
Pte Adam Purdie A.S.C.,
Pte John Smith H.L.I.,
Pte William Surgeoner Camerons,
Pte John F. Laing R.S.F.,
Their name liveth forever more

1939 - 1945
William Skilling M.N.,
Gnr John Lees R.N.

Saturday 6 November 2021

Hugh Porteous

Hugh Porteous was born in 1895 in Motherwell. His mother Agnes married John Robert Hewitson a widower with 3 children in 1901 and by 1911 census the extended  family was living at  Roadside in Old Cumnock.

Hugh enlisted in March, 1916 his address was Glengyrow Row, Cumnock. He was a fireman. He had a slight weakness on the left side: facial muscles, arm and leg due possibly to a stroke in childhood. But he was deemed fit for service. (C1) This was also noted in 1917

He served in in the Royal Scots, The Black Watch, the 10th Works Battalion of the Royal Scots Fusiliers and the Reserve (Regimental Number 480461) 

His was in the  516th Agricultural Corps in 1916 and his permanent address then was Alltan Albany, Barr by Girvan.

He served in France in 1918 for  264 days from January to October.

His stepbrother was Thomas Hewitson who was the same age as Hugh but was killed.

Hugh was badly affected by the war. He never married and was looked after by his younger sister Hannah Hewitson, Mrs Edgar until he died in 1975.

Medal Roll Card

Friday 24 September 2021

James McGrady

 1/10 Royal Scots Service Number 375675

James McGrady born in Cumnock in 1894 son of James McGrady of 9 The Square, Cumnock enlisted on the 5th October 1916 in Ayr. at the age of 21 years 10 months He was a shoemaker. His next of kin was "Laura" his mother. (His mother was Jeanie)

He was discharged as unfit in October 1917 with neurasthenia and he had suffered as long as he could remember from childhood with a tremor.

His character was good. 

He married Christina Anderson in 1921 and died suddenly in the Square in 1957.

He was a cousin of Thomas McGrady who also served

Thomas McGrady

Thomas McGrady born in 1897 enlisted in the Royal Garrison Artillery in June 1917. He served a a gunner until December 1920. He was a shoemaker, single age 30, son of John McGrady of 117 Glaisnock St, Cumnock.

His service record survives.  He served a a gunner until December 1920. He was a shoemaker, single age 30, son of John McGrady of 117 Glaisnock St, Cumnock. He was 5 ft 9 and a half inches tall. He served in France.

He was the cousin of James McGrady on this blog who also served.

Tuesday 23 March 2021

George Findlay

George Findlay was born on 21 March 1871 in Lugar Street, Cumnock to George Samson Findlay and Sarah Hamilton. His father was born at Broomfield farm but by 1865 was the landlord of the Wheatsheaf Inn in Cumnock.  George was an engineer and publican at the Wheatsheaf along with his mother Sarah after his father died.

 He joined the fledgling  RAF in July 1918 when he was 47 making him one of the oldest men to serve. He was 5 foot 9 and a half inches tall with brown hair and blue eyes. His civilian occupation was fitter. His mother Sarah was his next of kin. He gave his DOB as 22 March 1871 which is a day later than what's on his birth certificate!

He was discharged on 30 April 1920.

I've not found what happened to him after that. He doesn't appear to have died in Cumnock.

Wednesday 11 March 2020

History of the War Memorial

By February 1920 the War Memorial fund met and found they had £748 left after the payment of the Parish Medals and the the Welcome Home Dance. Further fundraising was required to pay for the memorial.
By March five sculptors were asked to submit ideas and 16 different designs were looked at including; a 16-foot high granite column surmounted by a metal-cast Lowland Scot Soldier sculpture on a 4-foot square granite block on a base costing £1,200 and a Celtic Cross in red granite and lead lettering costing £1,000.
Several different sites were looked at including the Square, the grounds of the school at the Barrhill, in front of the Town Hall, the site of the new houses at Gemmell Avenue and the central space at the new cemetery – the latter was chosen.
By April the winning design by monumental sculptors Mathew Muir & Co from Kilmarnock was chosen. 
The memorial was described as “Built of grey Creetown granite and 20-feet high and 7-foot wide at the base. The underpart and body of the structure is octagonal having 8 panels for names. This is surmounted by a 9-foot column all in one stone which terminates with an emblem of a martyr’s crown above which is a ball, an emblem of the new world. A low coping in the same material will enclose the space.” 
Bronze tablets with raised lettering were chosen which were slightly more expensive that lead lettering. The total cost of the monument was over £2,000 – all raised by further fundraising.
Mathew Muir Advert

By May 1920 the names to be featured on the memorial were published in the Cumnock Chronicle and any additions called for. Quite how the names were selected is not clear. Presumably they were included if Cumnock was on their service records as either a place of birth, residence or enlistment, or if a local resident wished a relative to be added. By July the contract had been signed with Matthew Muir and Co and work on the monument had begun. By January 1921 work was progressing and a report from the committee stated that the granite part of the monument was lying at Dumfries ready to be sent on for erection but there was a delay with the eight inscribed panels. Four of these were complete and four still to cast but due to the slow process this would take a few more weeks to finish. By April 1921 plans were being finalised for an unveiling ceremony in June.
Cumnock Chronicle announcement 1920

The memorial was unveiled by Lieutenant Colonel Archibald McInnes Shaw of Ballochmyle on Saturday 25 June 1921 in the presence of several thousand onlookers. It was an ideal summer day and people met at the Town Hall where the gathered soldiers, bands, organisations and platform party were slowly led up Glaisnock Street by a pipe-band playing Flowers of the Forest. In the cemetery a platform had been built behind the monument and facing the gates and once the crowd had taken their place the Rev John Warrick led the dedication prayer. After this Provost Andrew Millar made the unveiling ceremony address and handed over to Lieutenant Colonel Archibald McInnes Shaw who removed the Union Jack covering the name plaques and paid tribute to the men who had given their lives and to the men and women who had remained at home and supported the fighting men. Rev Warrick gave the benediction and many wreaths and bouquets were laid at the base of the monument. 

The following day, there was an almost constant stream of visitors to the cemetery, and a unanimous opinion was expressed on the beauty of the design of the memorial and on the clear and lasting lettering on the inscriptions.

Tuesday 10 March 2020

Cumnock Chronicle 2014 War Articles

In 2014 we ran some WW1 articles in the Cumnock Chronicle.
August 13 2014
August 20 2014
August 27 2014
September 7 2014

Cumnock Armistice Events 2019

November 2018 saw the 100th Anniversary of the WW1 Armistice where Cumnock History Group in partnership with the Corra Foundation, Cumnock Action Plan and local organisations marked this milestone event by involving the wider community in a series of town centre celebratory, educational and family fun events, workshops and activities on the armistice theme. These were inclusive events for all. 

Read more on our website HERE

Painted Memorial Stones 
We are still researching the stories of the 876 men and women from Cumnock who served in WW1 - 192 never returned. 

To commemorate them we invited schools, community groups and individuals to paint stones with these names and a red poppy - we had a fantastic response from Barshare Primary, Greenmill Primary, Netherthird Primary, St Patrick’s Primary, Logan Primary, Hillside School, MIMA Junior Youth Club, Lisalanna, Colour Splash, The Guides, 0-100 Club, Things Tae Dae, 4 Connections, Bobby Grierson, Mary Little, Shaun Lowrie, Aimee Muggridge and Isobel Shaw.

The stones have found a permanent home around the War Memorial at the new cemetery and at Lugar Church.

Poppy Making
We asked for volunteers to knit, crochet or make felt, material and paper poppies to decorate the Town Hall for the Welcome Home Tea Dance on 10th November. It was spectacular with over 3,000 poppies!

Thanks to the following for making poppies for our beautiful Poppy Curtain.
Morag Gordon, Betty Outram, Sandra Faddes, Maureen Murphy, Roberta McGee, Betty Fleming, Jessica, Abi, Hannah, Mary McClatchy, Margaret Cochrane, Donna Mullin, Mary Hope, Elizabeth Kay, Laura Carmichael, Louise Quinn, Claire Dalrymple, Susan Brown, staff at Queen Margaret Academy, June Black, Lauren Collow, Linda Sutherland, Amanda Dobie, Anne Griffiths, Kim Hill, Catherine McConnell, Evelyn McBride, Maggie Goudie, 0-100 Club, Shaun Lowrie, Sorn Primary School, Co-op Funeral Care, Things Tae Dae and others not wishing to be named.

WW1 Poster Design Workshop
Saturday 27th October - Yipworld, Barrhill Road. We looked at original WW1 posters and used these as inspiration to design a poster for the Welcome Home Tea Dance. Yipworld 

Star Poster Designers are: Ayesha Mushtag, Andrew James, Carlie Smith, Hollie Malone, Kayligh Barr, Leah McHardy, Molly McIlvaney, Niamh Connolly, Nola Pierotti, Paige McGuire, Rebecca Ferguson, Sophie Brown and art tutor Hollie Bates. The posters are awesome!

War-time Cooking
Tuesday 30th October at the Riverside Centre, Ayr Road. Cross-generational and inclusive. Soup and baking. We cooked soup and sweet-bites for 30 guests under the guidance of the Buns R Us group and staff. It was delicious!

WW1 themed evening talks and presentations 
Thursday 1st November – Baird Institute, Lugar Street, Cumnock. East Ayrshire Leisure gave an illustrated talk on their WW1 Collections.

Thursday 8th November – Baird Institute. Cumnock History Group present the story of the Cumnock War Memorials and how they were funded.

Drop-in Reminiscence Events 
Friday 2nd Saturday 3rd November. Baird Institute, Lugar Street, Cumnock. We identified recorded and researched Cumnock Parish Medals, War Medals, photos, letters and family stories.

War Horse Family Film Night 
Friday 9th November. Barrhill Community Centre, Barrhill Road, Cumnock. Steven Spielberg’s epic adventure. A tale of incredible loyalty, hope and tenacity. Great Film!

Welcome Home Tea Dance
Saturday 10th November. Cumnock Town Hall, Glaisnock Street. Based on the dance given for men and women returning from the war in 1919, this was late afternoon entertainment for all ages and was sold-out!

With WW1 themed tunes from Sanquhar & District Silver Band, Strings n Things, Cumnock Academy Orchestra, CAMPS, Heart & Soul Choir and other guests. 
Tea, coffee, cakes, sandwiches and dancing! 
There was a WW1 themed dressing-up box available on the day and people came in their own war outfit and got their photos taken.

The Cumnock Roll of Honour with over 800 names was displayed in the Keir Hardie Room alongside the WW2 Pennylands POW Camp exhibition. 

Remembrance Day Events - Organised by local churches
Sunday 11th November 
Remembrance Service - Lugar Parish Church

Act of Remembrance at War Memorial - Lugar Parish Church

Service of Remembrance - Cumnock Cemetery. Service and laying of a selection of the painted stones around the war memorial. Wreath laying by groups and organisations 

United Service of Commemoration - Cumnock Square & Parish Church. Cadets and Pipe Band in the Square. Welcome and call to prayer. Readings from the Front Line and the Trenches. 

Bugler played Last Post. Prayer and hymn.
Piper played Lament. All Churches rang out their bells across the town for 10 minutes.
Bugler played Reveille then the Benediction.

Our thanks also to:
Sergeant Rab McMillan and Raven for all their military advice.
Baldy Bane Theatre Company for the loan of the fab costumes.
Police Scotland Youth Volunteers for their invaluable help.
Michelle Laats, Craig Brown, Kris LeMay and Michael Shaw of EAL for their services at the Town Hall.
Bruce Morgan and Mari Monaghan of EAL for their use of the Baird Institute.
Tesco’s Auchinleck for help with the Painted Stones Project.
John Senior, Helen Ng and Janice Hendry from Cumnock Action Plan for their generous support.
John Campbell of the Dumfries Arms Hotel for loaning us the crockery.
Sergeant Rab McMillan and Raven for welcoming us to the proceedings with such aplomb.
CAMPS for showing Warhorse on a rainy windy night.
Shaun Lowrie for his fantastic support.
And the people of Cumnock and the surrounding area for supporting all the events.
We are grateful to Morrison Construction for donating the stones and art materials for the Memorial Stones Project.

Cumnock Armistice Events were supported by Cumnock Action Plan and the Corra Foundation.

Welcome Home Dance 1919

After several months of serious fundraising, the dance was held on the evening of Friday 10 December 1919 in Cumnock Town Hall with an expected audience of over 600. Cumnock Parish Medals would be presented to those who served and were in attendance - this took quite a while. Speeches were made by newly elected Provost Andrew Millar, Brigadier-General Pollok-McCall, Colonel John D Boswell, the Women’s Work Party Committee, representatives from the Town Council, Parish Council, Education Authority, and from the various committees of the War Memorial and Welcome Home Fund.

Town Hall December 2019 - 100th Anniversary

The large hall was beautifully decorated for the occasion with flags and streamers, a large banner with the words ‘Welcome Home’ occupying a prominent place. The hall was filled with about 340 soldiers and their partners, and while they were assembling Tom Buck’s orchestra of six players played spirited selections. Had it been possible to secure a building capable of holding thousands instead of hundreds it would have been filled to overflowing – everyone being anxious to be associated with what must have been regarded as a unique and historic gathering.
Typical Hall decorations in wartime

The presentation of souvenir Cumnock Parish Medals was then proceeded with - this had been so well organised that the 340 medals were handed over in record time. Each man had been supplied with a number, and was seated in the hall accordingly. They were called out into the entrance lobby in fifties and marshalled into order leading to the platform door. As the name of each soldier was called out he advanced to the table in the centre of the platform, where he received his medal from Miss Urquhart, secretary of the Work Party, and returned to his seat by way of the other end of the platform. A continuous round of applause was kept up during this ceremony and several of the recipients came in for a special cheer.
Colonel Boswell, in proposing a vote of thanks to the Work Party, told how much their parcels of comforts and good things were appreciated and looked forward to by the soldiers. The hall was quickly cleared of the seats and dancing was soon in full swing. 
Meanwhile the first of four relays sat down to tea in the lesser hall, and here the work of the Work Party was much in evidence. But that did not finish the labours of the women and their many willing assistants, for, after everybody had been “tead,” the lesser hall was converted into a running buffet, and there was an unlimited supply of everything right up till the close at two-thirty. In the Council Chambers downstairs ices and aerated waters were dispensed and taken full advantage of. By all accounts there was nothing but the highest praise from the guests for the very generous way in which they had been entertained. The attractions in the various refreshment rooms relieved the congestion in the dancing hall, where, under the supervision of Hugh Blackwood and Herbert Morton, the big company enjoyed themselves to the full. Without a doubt the Welcome Home celebration was long remembered by all who had the pleasure of taking part in it.

From a Cumnock Chronicle article 1919

Duncan Cameron

Duncan Cameron was born on 13 April 1893 and the youngest son of Duncan and Annie Anderson. When he left school he served as an apprentice millwright with George McCarneys Engineering Works, Cumnock then Lugar Ironworks as a mechanical engineer. He then moved to Glasgow where he worked at John Brown's Shipyard and helped build the naval battleships HMS Repulse and HMS Barham.

Duncan and John Cameron

He joined the Royal Scots Fusiliers c1915

He married Grace Lang on 31 December 1920 in Bothwell, Lanarkshire and they emigrated to Canada in 1927 to live with his older brother John where he worked on the Canadian National Railway.

Duncan Cameron 1964

He then married Ellen May Willcott in 1964 in Vancouver. where he died on 25 October 1969 at the age of 76 and was buried in Burnaby, Canada.

HMS Repulse
HMS Barham