In 2014 the centenary of the outbreak of World War One, the newly formed Cumnock History Group has been researching the names on the War Memorial plus other men with Cumnock connections mentioned on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission or in 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 webmaster cumnockhistory [at] The group is willing to share any copies of documents found with the soldier's descendants.

Wednesday, 21 February 2024

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. It is a column of white granite topped with a stylised crown and sphere on an octagonal base bearing bronze plaques 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

Sunday, 23 September 2018

George Farrell

George Farrell was born at Changuebank Cottages in 1884. No records for his military service survived but he is mentioned in the 1919 Welcome Home list published in the Cumnock Chronicle along with brothers James and Westley.

His great granddaughter relates that he died in hospital in 1923 as a result of what we would now call post traumatic stress disorder. His widow received a widow's pension. They had  7 surviving children.

She also had this photo of George Farrell back row left.

On Cumnock Connections tree
Brother-in-law of Niven Withers.

May be on FMP
GFarrell19172730PrivateRoyal Scots19th General Hospital

Saturday, 22 September 2018

Robert Bissett

Robert Bissett was born in Lugar in 1888 to Robert Bissett and Annie Aitken.

He was an Air Mechanic First Class in RAF. Reg No 23093.

His civilian occupation was  cycle mechanic.

He survived and lived to the age of 90.

James A Bissett

James Aitken Bissett was born in Lugar in 1887, son of Robert Bissett and Annie Aitken.
By WW1 the family was in Urbana Terrace in Cumnock. He died in  Glasgow in 1943.

Royal Engineers
Regimental Number: 93823

His brother Robert also served and his sister Margaret was a nurse.

Monday, 10 September 2018

The Chronicles of Cumnock

We are thrilled that a new dramatic piece has been written based on the WW1 stories we have found in the Cumnock Chronicle.

Part of the Cumnock Tryst 2018, Sir James MacMillan has commissioned Martin Travers of the Citizens Theatre to dramatise the stories and pupils from Doon Academy in Dalmellington have been working with him, professional musicians and dancers to  create an original work, "The Chronicles of Cumnock" to be played against a backdrop of projected photographs of soldiers.

We have a had a sneak peak at the script and it is very moving and powerful and we are really looking forward to the performance on Friday 5th October 2018 at 2pm in Cumnock Academy. And it is free though you need to reserve a ticket. Don't miss it!

The Cumnock Tryst

Friday, 31 August 2018

Lord Ninian Crichton-Stuart

The son of the 3rd Marquis of Bute,  Lord Ninian was born on the 15th May 1883 at Dumfries House, Cumnock.

He was a soldier from 1906 reaching the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the reserves the 6th Welsh Territorials in 1911. He volunteered for foreign service on the outbreak of war along with the whole regiment. He fell at the Hohenzollern Redoubt at the Battle of Loos on 2nd October 1915.

He was married with four children.

He stood for parliament for Cardiff boroughs in 1910, losing on that occasion but was elected to the same seat in the General Election of 1911.

Cumnock Connections tree

He is not on Cumnock War Memorial. His name is inscribed along with 21 other MPs on the Parliamentary War Memorial known as the Recording Angel Memorial in Westminster Hall and a statue of him was erected in Cathays Park in Cardiff.

Saturday, 18 August 2018

William Surgeoner

William Surgeoner was a baker, born in Ayr and aged 24 when he enlisted on 8th September 1914  in the Cameron Highlanders.

He worked as a baker in the store at Lugar.

He was posted missing at the Battle of Loos on 25 Sep 1915.

His service record survives. He was 5 ft 5 in tall and brown eyes and light brown hair.

His sister Annie McFedries of 137 George St, Ayr was his next of kin and received his medals.  She was 16 years older and brought him up after his mother died.  (Her husband, William McFedries, turns out to be a second cousin once removed of my husband!)

Cumnock Chronicle

He is on Lugar War Memorial.

Cumnock Connections Tree


Service Number S/13494

Died 25/09/1915

7th Bn.
Cameron Highlanders

Monday, 16 July 2018

James W Chidwick

Lance Corporal James William Chidwick enlisted  in the "Buffs"the East Kent regiment in 1914 and was killed at Ypres on 16th July 1917 leaving a widow and eight children including one yet to be born.  James was born in Kent in 1881 and worked as a waggoner on a farm. He married Ayrshire born Agnes Watson in 1902 in Riccarton. Agnes's address in 1918 was Croucher Farm, Westwell near Ashford in Kent. In 1920 Agnes married Finlay Ralston in Glasgow and moved back to Ayrshire. When Agnes received his medals in 1922 she was living at 4 Grougar Row, Galston.

His Cumnock granddaughter Edna supplied these photos showing life in the trenches.

Sunday, 15 July 2018

Edward McLelland

Edward or Ned was born in 1883 to James McQueen Mclelland and Elizabeth Vallance Brown.

He served in WW1 and was wounded in the legs. His grandson Billy Anderson still has his parish medal.

In 1901 census he was  a seventeen year old slater. He married Helen Samson Findlay in 1905.

He served with Cumnock Fire Brigade. He died in Cumnock in 1969 aged 85.

Cumnock Connections tree

Friday, 4 May 2018

William Sloan

Of Roughside Farm

New Cumnock

Name: William Sloan
Birth Place: Cumnock
Residence: New Cumnock
Death Date: 15 Nov 1915
Death Location: Gallipoli
Enlistment Location: Ayr
Rank: Private
Regiment: Household Cavalry and Cavalry of the Line (incl. Yeomanry and Imperial Camel Corps)
Battalion: Ayrshire (Earl of Carricks Own) (Hussars) Yeomanry
Number: 1581
Type of Casualty: Died
Theatre of War: Balkan Theatre


Cumnock Connections tree

Friday, 20 April 2018

John A Hill

John Anderson Hill was born at 5 Lugar on the 5th Apr 1893 the eldest son son of Harry Hill and Catherine Hope.

1/ 5th KOSB

He wrote a letter home from Moudras Bay on Island of Lemnos in the Dardanelles in 1915

He was in hospital in Alexandria wounded but survived the war.

He was single and a housepainter when he died on 5th May 1924 at Stepends Cottage,  Cumnock of tubercle of lungs.

List of casualties and survivors researched, in order of date of death

last update: 1 Dec 2017

162 fallen men and women

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

James Watt Rodger

James Watt Rodger was born on the 30th June 1881 in Inverkeillor in Fife. He was a gardener. He married Mary Cochrane, from Penpont in Dumfriesshire, in Cumnock in 1905. She was the daughter of local draper William Cochrane. They had one daughter Margaret  (Madge Rodger) in 1907.

They lived in the house on Ayr Road called "Georgeville" which had been John Ballantine's photographic studio. It had a wonderful garden.

His army service record survives and he was an insurance agent and, elsewhere in the documents, a traveller.

He served in both the 2/4 Black Watch, no 7980 and the 14th A & SH. 

John died in 1954.

William Smith MM

William Smith was the son of William Smith and Janet McClymont, born in 1891 in New Cumnock. He was a gardener at Glaisnock House, Cloncaird Castle and Loch Fyne then Sundrum  and then a chauffeur.  He was awarded the MM in 1918.  Soon after, his brother George Smith was killed in the war.

John Campbell Smith

John Campbell Smith was a 32 year old  painter of Newark, New Jersey, USA when he enlisted in the RFA in Shoreditch on 4 Aug 1915. He was 5 ft 8 1/2 in with hazel eyes and auburn hair and a 35 and a 1/2 inch chest.
His next of kin was his mother Janet Smith of Waterside Row, Cumnock. He was born in Cumnock.
He served in France.
He was demobbed on 29 Oct 1919. He was of "very good character".
All this from his pension record.

He was born in Cumnock about 1883 the youngest son of Robert Smith and Janet Miller.

John Campbell Smith on the Cumnock Connections tree