In 2014 the centenary of the outbreak of World War One, Cumnock History Group began researching the names on the 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 cumnockhistory [at] The group is willing to share any copies of documents found with the soldier's descendants.

Friday, 28 February 2014

Gilbert and Hugh Hamilton

Gilbert Hamilton, killed on 18th July 1916 at the Somme, was born at Townhead in Cumnock on 6th Septemeber 1887 to Gilbert Hamilton and his wife Elizabeth Gibson.

In 1891 the family was living in a cottage in Ayr Road.
Gilbert Hamilton             46 coal miner
Elizabeth Hamilton             35
Elizabeth Hamilton             14
John Hamilton             11
Janet Hamilton             9
Margaret Hamilton             6
Peter Hamilton             5
Gilbert Hamilton             3
Hugh Hamilton             1

In 1901 young Gilbert was a farm servant along with his older brother John at Knockterra (near Garrallan).
while his brother Hugh was visiting at Newfield Farm
and his parents were at Humeston Cottage
Gilbert Hamilton             50
Elizabeth Hamilton             45
Margaret Hamilton             16
Peter Hamilton             15
Jane Hamilton             9
Agnes Hamilton             7
David Hamilton             3
Crawford Hamilton             2 daughter

Gilbert married Elizabeth Bryce* in 1914. His address was 46 Garrallan Row, He was a coal miner. Elizabeth was the daughter of John Bryce and Margaret Munsie.
He enlisted  in the Cameron Highlanders and was a private with the 5th Battalion when he was killed at the Somme on the 18th July 1916. He is remembered on the Cumnock War Memorial and on the Thiepval Memorial in  France.  CWGC

*Elizabeth was a cousin of David Bryce also killed at the Somme two weeks earlier

His younger brother Hugh Hamilton is also on Cumnock War Memorial and in the same regiment.

Hugh, Mary and baby Gilbert

Hugh's enlistment papers survive.
His address was Holmhead, occupation coal miner
His wife was Mary Scott to whom he was married at Lugar on 31 Dec 1913
They had a son Gilbert born 31 Jan 1914 at 67 Townhead St. (named after the baby's grandfather) and a daughter Jane Scott Hamilton born in 1918.  It's likely Hugh never got to see his daughter.

He had previously been wounded on 13 Mar 1918 when he was "badly gassed and as a result loss both sight and speech" but was making "a good recovery." (Cumnock Chronicle)

His widow received a pension of 23/5 (I think, it's very faint) for herself and two children. She signed for his war medal and victory medal on 9 Sep 1921 at Holmhead.

He died on 25th October 1918 and is buried in Harlebeke New British Cemetery in Belgium.

Cumnock Connections tree

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Thomas Gilchrist

From the Scotsman, Wed 10 March 1915
At a meeting of Cumnock Town Council, before the commencement of business, Provost Richmond said he felt compelled to make reference to the sad news which came this morning of the death of their townsman Thomas Gilchrist who was killed at the front. For many years Mr Gilchrist took a keen interest in the affairs of the burgh, and they all had experience of his keen heckling, of which he was a past master. Several times they had been gladdened by his cheerful communications from the start of the war. They had proofs of his constant effort to keep his comrade in arms cheerful in their times of depression and danger, and of his own kindness of heart in ministering to the wounded. It was agreed to send an expression of sympathy to Private Gilchrist's wife and children.

He was a private in the Royal Scots Fusiliers and died in France on 27 Feb 1915. He is remembered on the Perth Cemetery, China Wall, in Ypres in Belgium. He is remembered on Cumnock War Memorial.

Thomas was born in Cumnock on 27 Sep 1874 to Irish parents, miner James Gilchrist and Hannah Galloway.  In 1891 the parents were at Townhead Street. In 1901 Thomas 26 was a boarder in Bridgend described as "late soldier". 

He married Mary Dillon in 1905 and they had James in 1908 and Annie in 1910.

Mary married again to Francis Gorman in 1917.

Cumnock Connections tree 


Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Joseph Smith

Born in Cumnock about 1893, the son of Joseph and Mary Smith of Watston Cottage, Orchardton Farm, Cumnock, Joseph Smith was a private in the Royal Scots Fusiliers. He  died on 26 Feb 1916  in Ayr Military Hospital of gunshot wounds to the head after 5 months. He was 22 and a coal miner.

There is a photo of his war grave in Cumnock New Cemetery from the Scottish War Graves Project site.

Here is the family in 1901
Burnfoot Cottage Ochiltree
Joseph Smith     44 coal miner born Ballantrae
Mary Smith     41
James Smith     18
John Smith     15
Grace Smith     13
Douglas Smith     10
Joseph Smith     8 b Cumnock
Jean Smith     6
Robert Smith     4
William Smith     2

Cumnock Connections tree


Tuesday, 25 February 2014

John Flannery

Evening Telegraph Mon 11 Jan 1915
Black Watch Killed
2109 Private J Flannery. Old Cumnock (previously grocer's apprentice), attested at Perth on 21st July 1911 aged 18.

CWGC has John Flannery, died 10 November 1914. 

His record on ancestry has him born in Old Cumnock.

He is remembered at Menin Gate Memorial in Ypres

This one is a bit of a mystery, as no Flannerys were born in Cumnock.  

Let us know if you can shed any light!

Update July 2014 - next of kin Mrs Flannery 34 Glaisnock St Cumnock

Update October 2017
Joe Flannery was a tenant in 1895 at Tanyard Lane, Cumnock, His father? 

Update 28 May 2018
A Joseph James Flanrey was born in Tanyard Lane on 22 July 1894 to Joseph Flanrey and Helen Conway who were married in 1888 in Burnley Lancs. They also had a daughter Mary Helen in1896 who by 1901 was the adopted daughter of Elizabeth McSherrill. When she married in 1934 both parents were deceased but I can't find deaths for them. Looks like John is the Joseph James born 1894

John Stewart, ASC

John Stewart, who survived the war, was born in Roadside, Old Cumnock about 1887, youngest son of James Stewart and Jemima Kirk.

His service record tells us the following:
He was age 28 when he enlisted in the Army Service Corps 5 Feb 1915 at Grove Park, Hamilton, Lanarkshire.
His occupation was given as motor lorry driver.
His address in 1918 was Donaldson Braes, Old Cumnock with wife Isabella Baird Meek (whom he married 18 Mar 1918 in Lanark) as next of kin. He travelled on the  Empress Queen from Southampton to le Havre on  25 Feb 1915. He was a driver in the Army Service corps described as "a first class motor driver" and served in France.
His permanent address on 9 May 1919 was Racecourse Toll, Hamilton

1901 census
Roadside, Cumnock
James Stewart     64 coal miner b New Cumnock
Jemima Stewart     46 born Durrisdeer, Dumfries-shire
Bella Stewart     22 domestic servant b Auchinleck
Annie Stewart     20 domestic servant b Auchinleck
Alex Stewart     18 grocer's assistant
David Stewart     16  coal carter
John Stewart     14  apprentice blacksmith
rest born Cumnock

Cumnock Connections tree

Monday, 24 February 2014

Michael Shirkie (1899-1945)

Michael Shirkie (1899-1945) is the cousin of Michael Shirkie who died in the war - see this post

Private in the 1st Royal Scots Fusiliers, Regiment No 52286
Michael Shirkie

This is the grand uncle of CHG chairman, Bobby Grierson who writes the following

Michael was born on 15 February 1899 in 74 Skares Row, Old Cumnock, to Michael Shirkie and Elizabeth Lees. He was the oldest of 5 children, Polly, Lizzie (Bobby's grandmother), Jeannie and David Shirkie.

He was a coal miner most of his life and worked at the Whitehill Pit in Skares. Not sure when he joined the army as his enlistment records have been lost but he did have a medal card dated 1918 where he was awarded the Victory Medal and entitlement to the Silver War Badge. I also have a letter from Buckingham Palace thanking him for the part he played in the war.

Michael married Jane Guthrie from Cumnock in 1923 but they had no children that I can find. He died on 26 December 1945 in Kilmarnock Infirmary aged 46 and she died a year later.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Sapper George Muirhead, RE

Cumnock Chronicle 11 Oct 1918
Yesterday morning Mrs J. Muirhead, Townhead Street,  received notice of the death of her son, Sapper George Muirhead  who fell in action in France. Sapper Muirhead went out to France with the R.S.F. about three years ago, and later was transferred to the Tunneling Section of the R.E.  Fully a year ago he was badly crushed by a fall while engaged in tunneling.  Of a rather quiet and reserved nature, he was respected by all who knew him, and especially by his fellow workers in Garrallan Colliery. He was 26 years of age. Much sympathy is felt for his widowed mother and the other members of his family. His eldest brother, James, has been with the Colours since early in the war.
He died on the 4th October 1918, so close to the Armistice.

In the 1901 census

Townhead St
James Muirhead 46
Jane Muirhead 52
James Muirhead 21
William Muirhead 14
John Muirhead 12
George Muirhead 10
Fanny Muirhead 8

Cumnock Connections tree

In September 1916 the Cumnock Chronicle reported that he was in Cumnock for a few days' leave before returning to his unit after spending nearly six weeks in hospital, after being buried in a tunnel collapse.

He is buried at Anneux British Cemetery in France.

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Bugler Samuel Shields

Bugler Shields does not appear on Cumnock War Memorial. It was this article in the Cumnock Chronicle, 18 Jul 1918, which drew my attention to him.

Bugler Samuel Shields, R.S.
We reproduce a photo of a Cumnock descendant who has given his life for his country. Bugler Shields is the son of Mr and Mrs Samuel Shields who left this district for Glasgow some twenty years ago. Mr Shields (senior), who is a native of Cumnock, was formerly employed as an engineer with Messrs William Baird & Co., Lugar, and was well known in this district. For many years he had been employed at Blochairn Ironworks and, before enlisting, his son was also employed there. Bugler Shields, who was 19 years of age, was reported missing in 31st July of last year (1917) and is now officially returned as having died on or since that date. Much sympathy is extended to the parents and his extended family in their time of sorrow.
He was born in Elbow Lane on 24 May 1898 to Samuel McColl Shields and Elizabeth Gray Dunsmore.

Here is the family in the censuses (from ancestry site)

Glasgow Barony
Carntyne Road
Samuel Shields             37 crane fitter born Cumnock
Elizabeth Shields             34
Thomas Shields             16
Jeanie Shields             13
Daniel Shields             8
Willie Shields             5
Samuel Shields             3
John Shields             3 Mos
Fleming Robb             38 boarder

11 Elbow Lane, Cumnock
Samuel Shields             27 engineer millwright b Old Cumnock
Elizabeth Shields             24
Thomas Shields             6
Jeanie Shields             3
Magdelene Shields             11 Months

Bugler Shields's service record survives.  He enlisted in the Royal Scots in 1915 aged only 17. His occupation was crane driver. He had brown hair and eyes. He  was stationed in Montrose in 1916. (Men had to be aged 19 to fight abroad.) His date of birth was 24 May 1898.  One week after his 19th birthday he was posted to France (31 May 1917) and 2 months later he was missing, presumed dead.

His parents were Samuel and Elizabeth Shields of 1025 Duke Street, Glasgow. He is remembered on the Menin Gate Memorial in Ypres.

His brother Private William Shields of the RSF was awarded the MM.


Cumnock Connections Tree

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Charles Morackas

Charles Morackas was born about 1884 and married Maggie Campbell in Cumnock in 1907.
His address was 57 Highhouse Row, Auchinleck and her address was Elbow Lane, Cumnock. They were married in St John's RC church in Cumnock on 8th Jun 1907.  He was a coal miner son of Joseph Morackas a farmer deceased and Jeanie Broscaska. (Writing is hard to read.)

In 1911 they were at 3 Bank Lane, Cumnock and had 2 children Jane 3 and Thomas 1. He was born in Germany and of Polish nationality.

Other children are Margaret born about 1911, Charles born about 1915 and Annie born about 1916

He died  on 20th March 1918 at The Strand in Cumnock age 32. Cause of death is illegible.  His widow married a William Curran in 1927 and she died in Cumnock in 1974 aged 91.

I can find no record of him on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission but he does appear on Cumnock War Memorial as having served with the Royal Scots Fusiliers.

Update 30 Jan 2015: I found his military service record. He was discharged from the army because he was suffering from pulmonary TB, not caused by military service but exacerbated by it.  He spent some time in Glenafton Sanatorium.

Cumnock Connections tree

All of the other information is from the Scottish general records office
It seems there are still descendants living in Ayrshire. it would be great to hear from them.

If anyone knows more about the family and what brought Charles to Ayrshire, please get in touch via comments below or by email cumnockhistory [at]

Monday, 17 February 2014

Lieutenant A J B Milne

Second Lieutenant Alexander James Bolton Milne was born  in Lerwick, Shetland  27 July 1887 where his father was a Baptist minister the Rev Alexander Allan Milne. His mother was Janet Bolton.

In 1891 he was living with his parents in the hamlet of South Scousborough in Shetland.

In 1901 he is living with his mother in Cambuslang while his father was ministering in Hawick in the Borders. He was an only child.

He studied at both Glasgow and Aberdeen Universities and had the degrees MA and BD (Bachelor of Divinity) so it seems he was following the path of his father until war intervened.

Here is his entry in the Aberdeen University Roll of Honour

He was a distinguished student as this prize list from the Aberdeen Evening Express 19th March 1915 illustrates.

He served with the Gordon Highlanders. He was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant on the 3rd Dec 1915 according to the London Gazette

Aberdeen Journal - Thursday 30 August 1917
Killed in action on Aug 22 1917, Alexander James Bolton Milne, 2nd Lieutenant, Gordon Highlanders, aged 30, beloved son and only child of Rev AA Milne and Mrs Milne, Crofthope, Old Cumnock, lately of Cambuslang.

He was killed in action on the 22nd August 1917 in France and is buried at the White House Cemetery, St. Jean-Les-Ypres and is remembered on Cumnock War Memorial.

From the Aberdeen University Review 197-1918
Alexander James Bolton Milne (Divinity, 1914- 15), Second Lieutenant, Gordon Highlanders, was killed in action in France on 22 August. He took his Arts course at Glasgow University, and attended the Divinity Hall at Aberdeen for three sessions. While in Aberdeen, he was assistant to Rev. A. M. Snadden, John Knox Parish Church, and was also a student missionary in the East Parish under Rev. George Walker. He joined up when he had completed his divinity course in the spring of 1915. Lieutenant Milne was the only son of Rev. A. A. Milne, Crofthope, Old Cumnock, Ayrshire, and late of Cambuslang Parish Church, and was thirty years of age. 

His parents were living in at Crofthope in 1917 in Cumnock. In the 1915 valuation roll Crofthope House is at 132 Barrhill Road, one of 4 properties next to each other owned by Mrs Annie Hope wife of Thomas Henderson, merchant of Logan. Rev Milne is in another one of her properties at no 126. Did he move or has it been recorded wrongly?

Cumnock Connections tree

Footnote July 2017:  Contact from a researcher on Shetland thanking me for having found the photo of Alexander.

Update 22 Sep 2018

Found in CC by B Grierson Sep 2018

Friday, 14 February 2014

Peter Gracie

Peter Gracie was born about 1895 in Carluke.

Daily Record 04 December 1915

In the 1901 census the family is in Prestonpans, Midlothian

Hugh Gracie 32 Contractor In Stone Work Miner (underground) borns Shotts, Lanarkshire
Janet Gracie 33
 Lizzie Gracie 8
 Peter Gracie 4
Hugh Gracie 1

He was a miner of 8 John Baird Street when he enlisted in the Royal Scots Lothian Regiment in Cumnock aged 19 years and 7 months on 26 May 1915.

He was 5 ft 4 in tall. He embarked for France on 17 Sep 1915 and was killed in action on 20 November 1915.

His father received his bronze star medal on 4 December 1920.

He is remembered on the Menin Gate Memorial in Ypres and on Cumnock War Memorial.

His parents were Hugh and Janet Gracie of 10 Urbana Terrace, Old Cumnock, Ayrshire. According to the news clipping they were living in John Baird St.

Cumnock Connections

Thursday, 13 February 2014

John Henderson

John Henderson 1889 - 6 Jun 1917

John Henderson was a Lance Corporal in the 11th Battalion of the Royal Scots. He was a tailor and son of James Henderson a tailor's cutter and Margaret Samson.

They lived at Holmside in 1901 census and at "Cloverlea"  during the war. John was killed in action at Arras on 6 Jun 1917.

He had 2 brothers in Canada, Robert and William Henderson who emigrated to Canada in 1913. They're living at 454 Edmonton Ave, Winnipeg and a brother and sister at home in Cloverlea, Cumnock; James Samson Henderson and Margaret Rorison Samson Henderson.

The Canadian brothers enlisted in the Canadians. Both had fair hair and blue eyes. William was a chemist and Robert a waiter. Both survived the war.

John Henderson on Cumnock Connections tree


Two Laings

Arthur Laing was born in Glasgow about 1886, the son of  house painter Alexander Laing and Annie Neilson. In 1901 he was living in Tower Street, Cumnock with his mother and siblings. He was a private in the Royal Scots Fusiliers. He died age 30 in France on 22 March 1918. he is buried in Chapelle British Cemetery in Holnon, France. His parents were living at 17 Tower Street. He is remembered on the Cumnock War Memorial.
Royal Scots Fusiliers
Battalion: 2nd Battalion
Regimental Number: 203748


John Fisher Laing was a private in the Royal Scots Lothian Regiment.
 He died of wounds in France on 23rd August 1918 and is buried in St Hilaire Cemetery Extension in France.  He previously served with the Royal Scots Fusiliers. His residence is given as Cumnock.
He is the older brother of Arthur. He was born at 24 Calder St in Govanhill Glasgow on 8 Sep 1885. His parents were married in Cumnock.

His name in on the Cumnock War Memorial.
The Royal Scots (Lothian Regiment)
Battalion: 2nd Battalion
Regimental Number: 36720

photo by Bobby Grierson, added 7/3/2018



Laing family on Cumnock Connections tree

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Capt William C McGeachin - wounded

William Charles McGeachin was born in Cumnock in 1884 and died in Lanark in 1963

from The Scotsman Wed 21 Nov 1917

Captain W C McGeachin Highland Light Infantry, attached Royal Scots (in hospital suffering from gunshot wounds in the back), is the only son of the late William McGeachin and Mrs McGeachin the Square, Cumnock. Captain McGeachin who was accountant in the Lanark branch of the Clydesdale bank, enlisted in August 1914, got a commission in the HLI the following month and was then attached with his company to a battalion of the Royal Scots. He was through the Gallipoli campaign and has been continuously on active service since May 1915. He was promoted Captain in July of this year.

1901 census
Tower St, Cumnock
William Mcgeachin 57 ironmonger
Margaret R Mcgeachin 55
Margaret C Mcgeachin 21
William C Mcgeachin 17 bank clerk b Cumnock
Rankin K Mcgeachin 15 dau
Agnes Russell 22 dom servt

Monday, 10 February 2014

Robert Menhams

Robert Menhams was born in Maryport, Cumberland in 1890.

 In 1911 he was miner living with parents John and Elizabeth in Maryport.

He married Euphemia Wightman of Auchinleck in Ayr in 1915. They were both living in Kirkconnel at the time.

He enlisted in the Royal Field Artillery in Dumfries.   He was a driver  and died in France on 27 October 1918. His address at the time of death was 26 Townfoot St, Cumnock.

His grave in in Sainte Marie Cemetery in Le Havre.  His name in on the Cumnock War Memorial.

updated 2 Apr 2014 with info from Cumnock Chronicle 1 Nov 1918 viewed at Burns Monument Centre, Kilmarnock

Death notice states he died at 40 Stationary Hospital France of pneumonia contracted while on active service. Husband of Elizabeth Wightman.

Article states he had been in France for 2 years and 9 months. He was home on leave a few weeks ago. He worked for a time at Highhouse Colliery and for a few weeks before enlisting he was employed at Kirkconnel. He was 27 and leaves a widow and 2 children.


Cumnock Connections tree

Updated 24 Feb 2018

His widow married again to William Reid in 1922.

His son John Wightman Menhams was awarded the Military Medal in WW2.

Friday, 7 February 2014

Hugh Park

Hugh Park

From the Cumnock Chronicle of 10 May 1918:
Mrs James Stillie of Townhead Street received notice of the death in action of her nephew Hugh Park in France on 11 April. 
His name has been put forward for a DCM. Previously he had been gassed.  He had lived with the Stillies and had been engaged in farm work when he enlisted. 
He was previously a carter for Mr Hugh Dalgliesh and had spent his school days in Muirkirk.
Mrs James Stillie was Grace Park and Hugh was the son of her sister Mary.

Hugh was a private in the Seaforths. He is remembered on the Tyne Cot Memorial in Belgium and on Muirkirk and Cumnock War Memorials. He was awarded the DCM (distinguished conduct medal)


Cumnock Connections tree

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

William Findlay

From the Cumnock Chronicle 6 Sep 1918

Mrs Findlay, Wheat Sheaf Inn has received a letter from the Captain of the regiment to which her son William was attached containing the sad news of his death in action on August 21st. Pte Findlay joined the Yeomanry in the first year of the war, but had only been in France since the beginning of this year and there he was transferred to the R.S.F. At the time of enlisting her was employed with Mrs Riggans, butcher. He took a keen interest in working with young horses, and was to be seen at most district shows showing off their paces in the ring. Pte Findlay was held in respect by all who knew him, and much sympathy is felt for his aged mother and other members of the family. He was 35 years of age.

They had the Wheatsheaf Inn in Bank Lane
1901 census 
Bank Lane
Sarah Findlay 60
George Findlay 29 Publican & Engineer Mechanical
Annie Findlay 31
William Findlay 18 Apprentice Butcher (so born about 1882)
Robert Lyon 9 grandson
Andrew Walker 8 grandson
Sarah Lyons 2 granddaughter
Annie McCartney 16 servant

1891 census
Bank Lane
Sarah H Findlay     50
Annie Findlay     21
George Findlay     20
Margret Findlay     18
David Findlay     16
Hugh Findlay     13
William Findlay     8

1881 census
Bank Lane
George Findlay     38 joiner
Sarah Findlay     40
Elizabeth Findlay     13
Annie Findlay     11
George Findlay     10
Margaret Findlay     8
David Findlay     6
Hugh Findlay     3
Sarah Findlay     5 Mos

His parents were George Findlay, joiner and Sarah Hamilton

He is buried in Douchy-Les-Ayette British Cemetery, France and remembered in Cumnock War Memorial.

Note: Some trees have him married to Margaret Dunsmuir.  Just pulled the certificate and it is a different William Findlay! Thought it odd that the wife didn't get a mention.

Cumnock Connections tree


McMeekin brothers

David McMeekin, 1892-1973 was a miner, the son of John McMeekin and Annie Gibson Murdoch of Glengyron Row.

He is the father-in-law of CHG member and blogger Kay McMeekin.

We know he was in the Royal Scots Fusiliers and served in Palestine; he was fond of talking at length about Palestine. Unfortunately his son did not pay much attention to his tales. His service records did not survive, but he did.

This from June 1915 a worrying time for the family.

A report in the Cumnock Chronicle of 15 Oct 1915 entitled A ROUSING WELCOME details his return from the Dardanelles on leave. He was the first to return and his lifelong friend Hugh Blackwood picked him up from the station in his car and took him to Glengyron Row where there was a big turn out. He had been wounded on July the 5th  in the right foot and left arm. His son confirms he had a bullet in his left arm.

David McMeekin aged about 22

This has turned out not to be his record. This David McMeekin was killed in action.
Update 19 Feb 2019
This is the transcript from his time in hospital. Note the spelling of his surname. And his service number.
First name(s) David
Last name McMeckin
Age 24
Birth year 1891
Service number 6827
Rank Private
Battalion 1/5
Corps Royal Scots Fusiliers
Hospital 149th Field Ambulance
Admission year 1915
Admission date 12 Jul 1915
Transfer year 1915
Transfer date 12 Jul 1915
Transferred to Clearing Hospital 'W' Beach
Country Great Britain
The National Archives
Piece MH 106/207

 6827 Pte McMeckin David Bullet wound right foot and left arm

Armed with his regimental number from the above record I had another look in the Medal Roll Cards and found him as David M. Meekin!!

His younger brother Jimmy 1895-1978 also a miner, enlisted in the Royal Scots Fusiliers and his records survive. He enlisted at Cumnock on the 28th August 1914. He was recruited by recruiter John Sykes. He gave his age as 20 years and 160 days but he was only 19. This was probably a mistake and not an attempt to enlist when too young. You could enlist at age 18 but you weren't sent abroad till you were 19. He was 5 ft 5 and a half inches, blue eyes, fair hair, teeth defective, but nutrition good. Pulse 70 (underlined, is this good?). This noted by Dr McQueen in Cumnock. He was discharged at Aldershot after 25 days, as he was "physically unfit for active service due to chronic rheumatism and valvular heart disease". Nevertheless, he continued to work as a miner and died age 83!

Although none of the family died in the war, the family did not escape unscathed. A third brother Andrew died in 1916 in a rock fall in Garallan colliery. He was only 19. I wrote about his death here.

On his death certificate his father John McMeekin is listed as a miner and a private in the Royal Defence Corps (the Home Guard). In the article above he was a sergeant in the National Reserve. He had previously served in the regular army, being in Ayr Barracks in the 1881 census.

Name: John Mc MEEKIN
Gender: Male
Rank: Pte
Birth Date: 1866
Residence Place: Cumnock
Military Service Region: Scotland, Scotland
Discharge Date: 2 Nov 1917
Service Number: 17465
Regiment: R.D.C.
Title: Pension Record Cards
Description: Pension Record Ledger

Cumnock Connections tree

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Cumnock men who went to Canada

There are three soldiers on Cumnock War Memorial in Ayrshire, Scotland who served with the Canadian Expeditionary Forces.

Mitchell Taylor was born in Cumnock in 1885 and left for a new life in Canada, arriving on the Ionian on 15 March 1912. He returned to Scotland in 1914 but went back to Canada in September on the Scandanavian.
He signed on in Dec 1914 in Winnipeg.  He had previously served 3 years in the Ayrshire Yeomanry. He was 5 ft 6 with a sallow complexion, grey eyes and fair hair. He was a plasterer like his father.
His parents were Mitchell Taylor and his wife Annie Watt of 51 Ayr Road. (think this should say 61 Ayr rd)
He was killed on 8 Oct 1916 aged 32 and is remembered at Vimy Ridge in France.
Mitchell Taylor on Cumnock Connections tree

Robert McLelland Munn, "Bertie"  was born in 1894 in Cumnock. In 1901 he was living with his parents Robert and Beatrice Munn at the Dumfries Arms Hotel. He left Glasgow for Montreal on the Grampian on 3 Aug 1912 as Bertie Munn age 18 occupation "F.L." which I think is farm labourer, since on the Canadian passenger list his intended career is farming in Ontario.  He enlisted at Valcartier, Canada on 24 Sep 1914 when he was 20 but gave his date of birth as 14 May 1891 making himself 3 years older than he actually was.
His occupation was "horseman" and he had previously served 5 years in the Yeomanry. He was 6ft tall with blue eyes and light hair. He was a Gunner with the Canadian Field Artillery and he died on 26 Apr 1915 aged 20. He is buried at Hazebrouck Communal Cemetery in France.
Bertie Munn on Cumnock Connections tree

Richard Davidson
"Dick" was born on 23rd July 1896 in Cumnock to Archibald Boswell Davidson, a tailor, and his wife Margaret Douglas Lorimer. In 1901 they were living at Strand Street, Cumnock. Dick and his mother and sisters went out on the Hesperian in June 1912. His father had gone ahead the year before. In 1916 the family was living at 413 Simcoe St, Winnipeg. Richard enlisted on 24 Sep 1914 at Valcartier. He was an 18 year old clerk. He had fair hair and blue eyes and a scar on the bridge of his nose. He was 5 ft 5 1/2in. He was a private in the Canadian Army Medical Corps. He died on 31 Oct 1917 aged 20. He is buried at Potijze Chateau Grounds Cemetery in Belgium.
Dick Davidson on Cumnock Connections 

While looking through the Cumnock Chronicle on microfilm, I found another Canadian soldier who had lived in Cumnock. He is not on the Cumnock War Memorial. His grandmother Mrs David Fraser was living in Common in 1918.
 He was born David Chalmers Fraser in Kilmarnock on 2 Oct 1894 to James Fraser and his wife Maggie Miller. In 1901 they were living at Ayr Road, Cumnock. The Chronicle has them living at Bank Avenue. They emigrated to Calgary about 1906 and David enlisted at Valcartier in 1914. In the 1916 census of Canada they are in Calgary. (Brother James Miller Fraser enlisted at Calgary in 1915.) David  had previously been 3 years in the Calgary Militia. He was with the Canadian Army Medical Corps. He died on 19 May 1918 in an air raid on the hospital. He is buried in Etaples Military Cemetery near Boulogne in France.

1916 census
James Fraser             47 can't decipher his occupation, but working on his own account.
Margaret Fraser             45
David Fraser             21 soldier
James Fraser             20 soldier
Jane Fraser             19 stenographer
William Fraser             18
Margaret Fraser             16
John Fraser             13
Robert Fraser             11
Hugh Fraser             7
Thomas Fraser             1

David Chalmers Fraser on Cumnock Connections tree
Database of WW1 soldiers in Canada
Commonwealth War Graves Commission

 It would be great to hear from any living relatives. Add a comment or email me at cumnockhistory at

George Bradford

George Bradford, born about 1890 in Cumnock, was the youngest son of coal miner Hugh Bradford (also recorded as Broadford and Broadfoot) and his wife Matilda Marrs.

They were in Townhead Street in the 1901 census recorded as Broadford.

1901 Townhead St
Hugh Broadford     50 b coal miner Cumnock
Matilda Broadford     52 b Ireland
Daniel Broadford     23 tailor
William Broadford     17 app gardener
James Broadford     15 lad on pithead
Thomas Broadford     13 app grocer
George Broadford     10 scholar
Samuel Marrs     47 boarder coal miner b Ireland
rest born Cumnock

George and Maggie Vincent had a young son Hugh Bradford born in 1913.

George died of wounds on 5th March 1916 in France/Flanders. He was a private in the 7th Battalion Royal Scots Fusiliers.

Sadly young Hugh's mother Maggie also died in 1916 along with her newborn twins leaving young Hugh an orphan.

George Bradford is remembered in Bois-Carre Military Cemetery, Haisnes, France and on Cumnock War Memorial.

Cumnock Connections tree


James Carruthers, RN

James Carruthers 30 May 1896 - 15 Sep 1918

James was the son of boot and shoe merchant David Carruthers and wife Agnes who lived in Winnieside Cottage, Cumnock in 1901.

Winnieside Cottage, Cumnock
David Carruthers     45 shoemaker b Auchinleck
Agnes Carruthers     39 b Ireland
Maggie Carruthers     18 b Cumnock
Jane Carruthers     16
Hugh Carruthers     13
Harriet Carruthers     11
Lizzie Carruthers     9
Catherine Carruthers     6
James Carruthers     4
Ellen Carruthers     2
John Carruthers     32 brother shoemaker b Cumnock

He served on HMS Vivid as acting ERA (engine room artificer) 4th class and died from a disease while serving.

His death was recorded in Devon.

He is buried in Kilbowie Cemetery in Clydebank.

His mother was living at 4 Alfred Terrace, Hillhead, Glasgow by then.

He does not appear on Cumnock War Memorial.

Cumnock Connections tree

James Livingstone, an early airman

James Livingstone was born 7 Jan 1900 in Cumnock.
In 1918 he was a sergeant in the RAF in Edgware, England and trained on a biplane.
His address in 1918 was Millbank, Cumnock.

Cumnock Connections tree

He was the son of licensed grocer Robert Livingstone and wife Agnes Wilson living in Lugar Street in the 1891 and 1901 censuses.

 Here's the family in 1901 census
Lugar Street
Robert Livingstone     37 licensed grocer
Agnes Livingstone     36
Marion Livingstone     4 dau
Jane C Livingstone     2 dau
Wilhelmina Thom     22 servant
Marion Dunsmore     14 nurse
James Livingstone     1 son

See photos of the shop on the main Cumnock History Group site in 1910 here
and here

Stewart Brothers

Samuel Saunderson Stewart was born on 13 Dec 1883 in Cumnock, the son of John Stewart and his wife Margaret Saunderson of Skares Row and older brother of Richard.

He was a Lance Corporal in the Royal Scots Fusiliers and was 33 when he died in the battle of Loos on the 29 Sep 1915. His wife was Lizzie Lamont of 27 Tower Street, Cumnock and they had 3 children. His name is on the Loos memorial and on the War Memorial in Cumnock Cemetery.

added May 2018

Richard Stewart was born 22 Feb 1885 in Cumnock to John Stewart and his wife Margaret Saunderson of Skares Row. He was a private in  the 5th Battalion the Royal Scots Fusiliers when he was killed at Gallipoli on 6 Oct 1915 just days after Samuel.

In 1911 census he was living with relatives the Walker family in Connelpark, New Cumnock. He is buried at Skew Bridge Cemetery, Turkey. His name is on the War Memorial in Cumnock.

Cumnock Connections tree 

Brother John Stewart was in the Camerons and served in France.

The oldest brother James died of influenza in 1918.

Both parents had already died by this time John in 1913 and Margaret in 1898. John was  living with his widowed stepmother Rosanna and 7 younger siblings in 1911.

3 Davidson brothers

Montgomery Davidson of 78 Skares Row lost three sons. This information came from an in Memoriam Announcement in the Cumnock Chronicle in 1918 by the men's sister Jessie, wife of Matthew Shirkie.

Cumnock Connections tree

The boys were all born in Dailly.

First, oldest son David Davidson, a Lance Corporal in the Royal Scots Fusiliers was killed in the Battle of Loos on 26 Sep 1915. David was married to Martha Keirs in 1901.

Thomas Davidson was a private with the RFA and was killed at Gallipoli on the 30th December 1915. Thomas had married Margaret Reid in 1912.

The youngest son Robert Davidson also a private with the RFA died in France on 27 Sep 1918.
Robert married Agnes McDicken in 1917.

This also from the Cumnock Chronicle of 11 October 1918
The news that Pte Robert Davidson, son of Mr. Montgomerie Davidson, had fallen in action created profound sorrow in our little community. The sad news came from Sergt. W Truesdale. "Shaw", as Pte Davidson  was familiarly called, had been only a fortnight in France when he fell. Mr Davidson has already lost two sons in the war; three others have been wounded and a seventh discharged for health reasons. Pte Davidson was a well respected young man of about 22 years of age. He leaves a widow and young child and to them, as to his other relatives, sincere sympathy is extended,

Word has been received that Pte M Shirkie is a prisoner of war.

Corporal Tom McGinn D.C.M., R.A.M.C. is on leave from France - looking well.

and from the Cumnock Chronicle a few weeks later.

Their mother Janet McMurray had passed away in 1901 so was spared the grief of losing three sons.

Here's the family in 1901 census

Bargany Cottages, Dailly

Montgomery Davidson             46 coal miner b Kirkoswald
Janet Davidson             42
David B Davidson             23
Elizabeth J Davidson             16
John Davidson             15
Jessie Davidson             13 (who married Matthew Shirkie in 1906 - could he be the prisoner of war above?)
Thomas Davidson             11
Montgomery Davidson             9
James Davidson             8
Andrew Davidson             6
William Davidson             4
Robert Davidson             3
Martha Keier             24 (the future wife of David)

Was Tom recommended for the Victoria Cross? He wasn't awarded it.

Daily Record Saturday 4 Sep 1915

They had another scare with son James. He served with the 10th Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. He had been missing but was in a German prison camp. See also the comment below.

Kirkpatrick Family

Some Cumnock families had the heartbreak of losing more than one son.

The family of James Kirkpatrick and Elizabeth Samson Osborne of Sykeside near Cumnock, Ayrshire lost both their  sons.

In 1901 the family was at Hillhead, Lugar

James Kirkpatrick 37 railway surfaceman b Dryfesdale, Dumfriesshire
Elizabeth Kirkpatrick 35
Agnes Kirkpatrick 12
Mary Kirkpatrick 11
Jessie Kirkpatrick 7
William Kirkpatrick 5
John Kirkpatrick  3
Marion Kirkpatrick 1
Andrew Kirkpatrick  30 brother

Son John Kirkpatrick who was with the Northumberland Fusiliers died of wounds in France on 15 Oct 1916.

Cumnock Chronicle 27 October 1916 

Add caption

John is buried in Puchevillers British Cemetery which was located next to a field hospital and many of the burials there are dated from 1916-17. 

photo by Rhona Gray 2018

Son William Kirkpatrick who was with the Seaforth Highlanders was killed in action on the Somme on 25 March 1918.   William did get home on leave in November 1916 (Cumnock Chronicle report)

added 25 Mar 2018, found in Cumnock Chronicle 
William has no known grave and is listed on a panel at Pozières Memorial. The panels here are ordered by Regiment and William is named in the Seaforth Highlanders section (third down from top right)  This Memorial commemorates over 14,000 casualties of the United Kingdom and 300 of the South African Forces who have no known grave and who died on the Somme from 21 March to 7 August 1918.

photo by Rhona Gray, 2108

Pozieres, Rhona Gray 2018

The sons-in-law happily fared better.
Agnes Kirkpatrick married Alexander Caughie who was a driver in 280 Company and served in France. He survived the war and his address on discharge was 33 Greenside, Maybole.

Jessie Kirkpatrick married John Priest of Ayr in 1915. He enlisted in Ayr on 29 sep 1914. He was a ploughman. He served as a saddler in the RHA in France. He had a spell in convalescent hospital in 1916.
His address on discharge in July 1919 was Sykeside, Cumnock.

Cumnock Connections tree