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.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

James Young, RN

The only sailor on Cumnock War Memorial is Petty Officer James Young, RN. This is hardly surprising as Cumnock has no naval tradition. His name is fourth from the top since the men are ordered first by rank, then alphabetically.

I had some bother finding him in records since he wasn't from Cumnock originally and James Young is a common name, but a piece in the Cumnock Chronicle set me on the right track. First I found an announcement giving his date of death 30 June 1918 at Pembroke Dock in Wales and that he was the husband of Mary D McLaren. Then there was quite a lengthy obituary.

He had been 24 years in the Navy. He had survived four years of war but was struck down with an illness lasting two weeks. His wife and two children had been sent for and were with him.

"Although a native of Glasgow, James Young has been for many years regarded as a Cumnockian. He was the son of the late Mr. John Young, engine driver who died here suddenly about 17 years ago on a visit to another son, Mr. John Young of Tower Street. Since that time James looked upon his brother John's home as his own and thus it was that he spent practically all his leave in Cumnock, and that when he married he took up house in the Waterside."

I looked for his marriage certificate. He had only married widow Mary Ann Henderson (maiden surname McLaren) in the January of 1918. She was residing at 12 Waterside Place and his address was H.M.S. Porcupine, occupation Chief Petty Officer, R.N.  He was "40" and she was "32". Actually he was 43 - his birthdate on naval record was 20 Oct 1875 and she was born about 1882 in Dundee so she was 36!

Armed with this information, I can now find him on the Commonwealth Graves Commission. He is down as Chief Stoker and is buried in Pembroke Dock (Llanion) Cemetery.,%20J

Cumnock Connections tree

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