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 cumnockhistory [at] The group is willing to share any copies of documents found with the soldier's descendants.

Saturday, 26 April 2014

John Nicol

John Nicol was born in Catrine about 1892.  He died on 19 March 1917 in France.  On Cumnock War Memorial he is remembered as Sergeant John Nicol. His war grave is in the Faubourg d'Amiens cemetery in Arras.

Glengyron Row, Cumnock
Terrance Nicol             34 b Dalry
Jane Nicol             35 b Auchinleck
Mary Nicol             12 b Auchinleck
John Nicol             9 b Catrine
Briget Nicol             4
Jennie Nicol             2
Terrence Nicol             11 Months
rest born Cumnock

On Cumnock Connections tree


This is his record on CWGC

Update 3 Sep 2015
I have heard from the grandson of John Nicol. It seems that John had a son James with Maggie Logan. They weren't married. Andrew Nicoll writes:
When his Dad died in March 1917 Jim's  paternal grandmother, Jane Nicol, took young Jim  off his Mum and brought him up herself in the family home at Glengyron Row with Grandad Terry, until her death in 1919. I attach her death certificate with a few details. Apparently the notion of young Jim not being brought up a Catholic was too much for the Nicol family.
After Jane died according to my Dad he left Grandad Terry, who was a miner, and he was passed from auntie to auntie and various homes around Cumnock/Auchinleck. They were mining families, and another mouth to feed was not  easy to accommodate. He remembered late in his life, after he had married and had a son ( me),  a lady who used to come up and chat to him on his way home from school some days, and pass him the occasional bag of sweets which was a huge treat at the time. The penny eventually dropped who she was, forty years too late. He never, ever looked for his Mum.
He was a bright youngster however, did well at primary school and ended up at St Aloysius in Garnet Hill, Glasgow  travelling up every day on the train.  He did well academically, spent  a few years training to be a Jesuit before giving  up ideas of the priesthood, moving to England in the mid 1930's, working in Fleet Street, serving in 5 Black Watch in WW2 and eventually having a post war career as a Fleet Street journalist and Parliamentary lobby correspondent to retirement in 1979. He lived on to 1998. 

I already had Maggie Logan on the tree. Her father was a coal miner in Townhead St. In 1911 census she was a table maid at the Hotel Royal in the Square. How sad for Maggie to lose contact with her son.

Andrew (and his late father Jim) never had a photo of John until he found this post. 

Thursday, 24 April 2014

More on Sister Agnes Kerr Earl

Follow up to previous post

I am indebted to Alan Cumming of Scottish Women's Hospitals for the information below.

Alan recently visited Agnes's actual grave in Serbia at much the same time I found her family grave in Cumnock old cemetery.

Alan at Agnes's grave in Nis

The Scottish Women's Hospitals was founded in 1914 by Dr Elsie Inglis and other like-minded women who wanted to serve as doctors and nurses on the front line during WW1. The War Office was very much against the idea of women serving on the front line and declined their offer. Undeterred by the rejection the women returned to Edinburgh and hatched a plan to form all women hospitals; doctors, surgeons, nurses, orderlies, cooks, ambulance drivers and administrators. And by the end of WW1 there had been no shortages of requests for help among Britain's allies. France, Belgium, Serbia, Russia and Greece had all benefited from their work. Tens of thousands of lives had been saved. The impact they had in Serbia was remarkable,  Serbia was not only fighting for its very life but faced huge typhus outbreaks. Often these hospitals were the only ones left in the field of battle.

Alan continues: As part of this year's WW1 centenary I felt that these brave women's stories, largely forgotten in their home land, should be told and we plan to take a presentation into schools, museums and community groups over the next four years. There were many women from Ayrshire and so far I have found one from Cumnock. Here is Agnes's story.

Agnes Kerr Earl was born on the 31st of March 1886 in Townhead, Cumnock. Her father William Earl was a joiner. Agnes's mother Jane Purdie passed away early in her life and she was brought up by her father. At the age of 25 she was living in Loudoun Street, Mauchline with her father.
On December 1916 she joined the Scottish Women's Hospitals as a nurse and set sail from Southampton to Salonika (Thessaloniki), a two week journey in those days and fraught with dangers from submarines, mines and Zeppelins over head. She joined the American unit. The unit's name was a result of the donations that had poured in from over the Atlantic Ocean. The unit was made up of 60 women, not just from Scotland but England, Wales and Australia. Agnes's Chief Medical Officer was the brilliant Dr Agnes Bennett  from Australia. Their main objective was to support the 2nd Serbian Army who were fighting the Bulgarians in the Moglena mountains. The bigger picture was to support a huge force of Serbians, French and British to reclaim Serbia and push back the Germans, Austrians and Bulgarians. From 1916-1918 Agnes would have worked often day and night and all under canvas. The conditions were very hard going. Cases of  malaria, gas gangrene, amputations were all a common sight. At times it was quiet, then hundreds of injured men poured in. There were very hot summers and cold winters and they were on the move as the front line moved back and forth. Agnes worked for periods at Salonika, Lake Ostrovo, Mikra Bay and a number of small field dressing hospitals. By November 1918 the Serbs were on the march home and Agnes moved to Vranje in Serbia working this time under Dr Isobel Emslie. The hospital at Vranje was a large ex army barracks  packed with hundreds of patients with a whole manner of appalling conditions; pneumonia, pleurisy and serious surgical cases. Sadder still was one woman's account of the children "The injuries are terrible. We have had several poor little hands to amputate and often they have terrible abdominal wounds".

Cold weather came to Vranje and with it typhus, Agnes by this time was the sister in charge and had being doing a fantastic job and the death rates were very low. However while dressing a gangrenous limb she got a scratch which turned septic and two days later she was dead. Mary Green remarked "she had done heroic work in the typhus ward, never sparing herself in any way, a handsome girl, tall and strong and with a splendid character".

The Serbs were very sad at the news and rich and poor came bringing flowers. It was noted that vast crowds lined the streets for her funeral. British tommies formed the firing party and sounded the last post. A monument was erected by the  Serbs as she was a favourite with them all.
Today Agnes's remains are buried in Nis in Serbia along with 5 other SWH members. I am happy to say the grave and cemetery are well looked after and she is not forgotten among the Serbian people.
She was awarded The Serbian Cross For Mercy and Silver Medal For Devoted Service In War. 

Grave at Nis

Hugh Morrison

Hugh Robertson Morrison was born in Glasgow in 1887. 
He was the eldest son of James Morrison of Ayr and Isabella Kennedy of Moffat.

Scotsman Thurs 11 Nov 1915
Hugh Morrison, 5th Royal Scots Fusiliers, son of Mr James Morrison, Slater, Townhead Street, Cumnock, is reported by a companion to have been killed at the Dardanelles on 26th October. Private Morrison had completed his training as a Territorial before the war, but on war being declared he again offered himself to his old company. He was refused on account of the condition of his teeth, but being determined to get away with his companions, he had his teeth attended to, and on presenting himself again he was accepted. He left for the front with the first detachment. Private Morrison was in the team of Kilmarnock Springvale Junior Football Club.
And an obituary in the Cumnock Chronicle

Here's the family in 1901
Townhead St, Cumnock
James Morrison             41  slater born Ayr
Isabella Morrison             37 born Moffat
Hugh R Morrison             13 born Glasgow
Isabella Morrison             9 born Ayr
Susan H Morrison             7  born Ayr
Helen H Morrison             5 born Cumnock
Robert K Morrison             3 born Cumnock

Here's the family on the Cumnock Connections tree

Hugh Morrison
Birth Place: Glasgow
Residence: Old Cumnock, Ayrshire
Death Date: 25 Oct 1915
Death Location: Gallipoli
Enlistment Location: Ayr
Rank: Private
Regiment: Royal Scots Fusiliers
Battalion: 1/5th Battalion
Number: 7446
Type of Casualty: Killed in action
Theatre of War: Balkan Theatre


He is on Cumnock War Memorial

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

William Trousdale

Born in Tarbolton in 1884, William was  a Sergeant in the RSF.   He survived the war and received several awards: DCM,  MM, Croix de guerre, Decorative medal militaire

He was the son on William Trousdale and Elizabeth Henderson of Skares.  He married Mary M Thorburn of Skares in 1909. He died in 1949.

Here he is on the Cumnock Connections tree

His brothers James and Robert also served.

Willie and James Trousdale (photo Gary Henderson)
Supplement to the Edinburgh Gazette, December 9, 1918

Monday, 21 April 2014

Charles Baird

Charles Baird was born in Cumnock on 11th March 1873 to David Baird and Elizabeth Monaghan.
He was a hairdresser/barber. He was married and left 3 children.

In 1901 the family was in Muirkirk
Furnace Road

Charles Baird             28 hairdresser
Jane Baird             24
David Baird             6 Mo

His service record survives. 

By the time he enlisted on 31st  May 1915 in Cowdenbeath, Fife, his address was  Ivy Cottage, Kelty. He gave his age as 39 years and 2 months. He was actually 42 and 2 months. Was there an age limit of 40?  
He gave his next of kin as Jeannie Baird Main St Muirkirk Ayrshire Cowdenbeath (!) wife.
They were married in Muirkirk 1900 (possibly June 6) and present address Main St, Muirkirk.
Children were Jeannie, Charles and Euphemia all born Muirkirk, no DOBs or ages given.
He was killed in action on 1st June 1916 in France.

He was 5ft 2 1/2 inches tall weighed 123lbs. Chest 33 inches. Health good. 
His widow was awarded a pension of 23 shillings a week for herself and three children.

He was a private in the 6th Battalion, the Royal Scots Fusiliers.

This is his entry on CWGC

and on Cumnock Connections tree

He is remembered on  Muirkirk War Memorial as well as Cumnock War Memorial

He is related to the Charles Baird on Lugar War memorial

Sunday, 20 April 2014

William Parker

Driver William Parker was born in Cumnock about 1893, the son of Robert Parker and Irving Wishart.

He was a driver in the Royal Field Artillery and died on 21 March 1918 in Belgium. He was 24.

Here is the family in 1901

Elbow Lane, Cumnock
Robert Parker             48 vanman b Kirkmichael
Robert Parker             22 coachman b Cumnock
John R Parker             15
Mary W Parker             18
William Parker             7 b Cumnock
Mary R Wishart             65 mother in law

and in 1891
Laigh Glenmuir Farm, Cumnock
Robert Parker             38 farm manager
Irving Parker             31 ms Wishart
Robert Parker             12
Mary Parker             8
John Parker             5
Elizabeth Parker             2


Cumnock Connections tree

He is remembered on Cumnock War Memorial.

Saturday, 19 April 2014

John Broadfoot

John Broadfoot was born about 1883 to William Broadfoot and Agnes Austin of Sanquhar.

In 1901 the family is at
Kings Burn Cottage, Sanquhar.

William Broadfoot             48 stone dyker
Agness Broadfoot             49
John Broadfoot             17 grocer's assistant
Annie Broadfoot             14
William Broadfoot             2

He had a wife Mary who was living in New Cumnock. He was 33 when he died.

Cumnock Connections tree

He was a private in the Royal Scots and died at Arras on 9th May 1917.

Cumnock Chronicle

Here is his entry on CWCG 

He is remembered on the Cumnock War Memorial and on the Arras Memorial.

John Malcolm

John Malcolm was born in Newcastle but enlisted in Cumnock.
He was a private in the Cameron Highlanders and died at Loos, in France.


John Malcolm
Birth Place: Newcastle, Northumberland
Residence: Wallsend, Northumberland
Death Date: 25 Sep 1915
Death Location: France & Flanders
Enlistment Location: Cumnock, Ayrshire
Rank: Private
Regiment: Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders
Battalion: 5th Battalion
Number: S/11318
Type of Casualty: Killed in action
Theatre of War: Western European Theatre
Comments: Formerly 11318, R.F

Update Sep 2015
A recently published record of his effects states that he is also known as Thomas Malcolm Sheldon and his effects went to his sister Mary C Turner. Still to find what he was doing in Cumnock! - see next update!

Update October 2016
Cumnock Chronicle 1915

Birth thanks to

England, Select Births and Christenings, 1538-1975
Name:  Thomas Malcolm Sheldon
Gender:           Male
Birth Date:        27 Feb 1890
Baptism Date:  2 Apr 1890
Baptism Place: Venerable Bede, Gateshead, Durham, England
Father: Thomas Sheldon

Mother: Elizabeth

Friday, 18 April 2014

Robert Baird MM

Robert Baird was born in Cumnock about 1884 to William Baird and Margaret Hamilton Bryce.

In 1901 he was living at Glaisnock St, an iron founder apprentice.

His service record survives.

He gave his age as 30 years 0 months, an iron moulder, when he enlisted on 3rd October 1914 in response to a public notice. He enlisted in Manchester * on 3 October 1914. He joined the Royal Scots in Edinburgh on 6th October 1914.
He was 5 ft 6, weight 147 lbs,  chest 38 1/2inches, sallow complexion with grey eyes and dark hair.
He married Agnes Ronald Ross Hill 3 Dec 1909 in Partick, Glasgow and her address in 1919 was  5 Cambuslea Drive, Newton Park, Ayr. An earlier address for her was 28 Townfoot St, Cumnock.
Next of kin: His sister was Mrs Jane Hyslop of Post Office Buildings Cumnock (she married William Hislop in 1905) and he had brothers Alexander and John.
He was awarded the  Military Medal on 11 November 1916.
He had been wounded on 17 April 1916 and returned to duty 19 May 1916.
He was in hospital in Liverpool for a couple of weeks in the spring of 1917.
His widow received a pension of 15 shillings a week. No children mentioned.
His private property was a disc, cigarette case, letter, photos, photo wallet, notebook, pocket wallet. His widow also signed for his devotional book.
He was killed in action in Gaza on 12 November 1917.
He was a Lance Corporal in the RSF, 7th Battalion
Census records transcribed by ancestry

Glaisnock St, Cumnock
William Baird             49  carter b Sanquhar
Maggie Baird             38  b Muirkirk
Jeanie Baird             19 dressmaker  b Auchinleck
Alexander Baird             14
James Baird             12
William Baird             10
Thomas Baird             8
Robert Baird             5
John Baird             3
George Baird             1 Mo

Glaisnock St, Cumnock
William Baird             58
Jane Baird             29
Robert Baird             15
William Baird             28
John Baird             12

Just found this on Fallen men of Salford site
Robert Baird , born Ayrshire enlisted Manchester, 15th Battalion Royal Scots , Died 12/11/17 M.M
CWG Gaza War Cemetery
From Manchester, Scottish served in A company 15th Royal Scots, but was attached to 1/7th Royal Scots in Palestine. Born Old Cumnock, Ayrshire. Before enlisting he was employed as an iron moulder at Britannia Foundry Pendleton.

This is his entry on the CWGC

And on the Cumnock Connections tree

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Happy Easter

Heureuses Pâques = Happy Easter in French.

This card is  one of several cards sent to my mother (born 1910) from her father in France during the war.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Cairney Cousins

Corporal Andrew Cairney was born at Lugar in 1880 to Andrew Cairney and Margaret McFarlane.

His brother James who is given as his next of kin married my husband's great aunt Elizabeth Fleming. Andrew was a witness at the marriage.

He served with the RSF and fell at the Battle of Loos on 26th September 1915

2 days later his cousin Dennis died in France and in December Dennis's brother Hugh died at Gallipoli. They all served with the RSF. Hugh is also on the Muirkirk Memorial.

Hugh and Dennis were the sons of Peter Cairney and Margaret Jane Laffery.

They all are remembered on Lugar War Memorial.

Their entries on the CWGC

Andrew Cairney 26 Sep 1915

Dennis Cairney 28 Sep 1915

Hugh Cairney 30 Dec 1915

Cumnock Connections tree

Monday, 14 April 2014

James Meldrum

James Meldrum was born in Dalry, Ayrshire about 1881. He served in the 6th Battalion of the Royal Scots Fusiliers (12281) and was missing, presumed dead,  at the Battle of Loos on 26th September 1915.

He was 37 years old and married to Elizabeth White of 60 Ayr Road. They had seven children Mary, John,  Andrew, James and Lawrence,  Isabella and David.

1901 census
Ayr Rd, Cumnock

James Meldrum             20 mason's labourer b Dalry
Elizabeth Meldrum             18
Mary Meldrum             9 Mo

His wife had to wait 14 months for official confirmation of his death as reported in the Cumnock Chronicle.

In 1924 Elizabeth married her widowed brother-in-law Lawrence. Their address was 60 Ayr Rd. She died in 1928.

James was the son of Andrew and Isabella Meldrum

Peterhughs, Dalry
Andw Meldrum             45 b Scone, Perthshire
Bella Meldrum             44 b Ireland
Bella Meldrum             18
Andw Meldrum             15
Elizabeth Meldrum             13
James Meldrum             10
Laurence Meldrum             8
David Meldrum             5


and on Cumnock Connections tree

Sunday, 13 April 2014

L/Cpl James Begg

Born in Lugar on 8th May 1887, Lance Corporal was the son of James Begg and Mary Robertson.

In 1901 the family was at 45 Front Row Auchinleck

James Begg             48 coal miner
Mary Begg             45
Robert Begg             22
Thomas Begg             20
James Begg             13
Mary Begg             11
Annie Begg             9

He enlisted in Cumnock  in the RSF

He died in Palestine on 1st December 1917. He was 30 and unmarried.
His cousin William Begg also died in the war, but his older brother Adam Begg survived.

photo from Paul Eedle

He played for Lugar Boswell. He is in the striped shirt.


Cumnock Connections tree

He is remembered on Cumnock War Memorial and Lugar War Memorial as well as in  Ramleh War Cemetery in Israel.

Friday, 11 April 2014

John McKim

John McKim or Baillie was born out of wedlock to Mary Baillie and William McKim in Dailly on 9th May 1895.


120 Skares Row, Old Cumnock
Margt Baillie             59
James Baillie             37 son coal miner
Robt Baillie             27 son coal miner
Hugh Baillie             12 grandson
Robt Baillie             9 grandson
John Mck Baillie             5 grandson
Jas Baillie             3 grandson
all born Dailly

in 1911 he was in Kirkconnel with his mother and other Baillies.

He enlisted in Kilmarnock, he was in the Highland Light Infantry and previously Ayrshire Yeomanry.

He died in France on 27th March 1918 and is remembered on the War Memorial inside Cumnock Parish Church


Family tree here

Taken  by Morag Gordon in Cumnock Parish Church