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.

Monday, 25 August 2014

James Caig Davidson

I spotted a pension record for James Caig Davidson, a joiner of Tower St, in the employ of D. A. White of Cumnock.

He was born in Kirkcudbright and  enlisted in E Company Volunteers of RSF in 1900 aged 17 yrs 3 months. He  re-enlisted every year up  from 1908 to 1912 by which time he was a Corporal. I can find no record of him serving in WW1 but he may well have.

He was the son of James Davidson a Cumnock born joiner and Mary Jane Caig.

He married Christina McNab in 1911 in Glasgow; he 29 master joiner of 1 Glaisnock St, Cumnock  she 30 of Powdermill Rd,  Furnace.

He died in Ayrshire in 1958.

Cumnock Connections tree

He is the brother of John Davidson

National Archives gives his  date of birth

John Davidson

I found the service record below while looking for something else.

John Davidson of 15 Waterside Place, Cumnock was a  21 yr old joiner in 23 Feb 1916
He was with the Army Service Corps and sailed in June 1916 from Southhampton to le Havre in France  on the SS Alexandria.

I got his marriage certificate to establish his parents.
He married Mary S Richmond, a widow, whose maiden name was Young.
Cumnock Connections tree

He is the brother of James Caig Davidson and the cousin of Richard Davidson.

John Davidson's Service Record

Gender: Male
Birth Date: abt 1895
Age at Enlistment: 21
Marriage Date: 23 Nov 1915
Marriage Place: Blythswood
Residence Place: 15 Waterside Place Old?? Ayrshire
Document Year: 1916
Regimental Number: 172650
Number of Images: 9
Form Title: Attestation
Other Records: Search for 'John Davidson' in other WWI collections
Family Members:
Name Relation to Soldier
John Davidson Self (Head)
Mary S Richmond Spouse

Saturday, 23 August 2014

George McCririck

This man is on Dundonald War Memorial.

Despite the record below, he was born on 11 July 1895 in Ayr.  He was the son of Cumnock farmer James McCririck of Muirdyke Farm and Agnes McDade.

George McCririck
Birth Place: Old Cumnock, Ayrshire
Residence: Troon, Ayrshire
Death Date: 27 Dec 1917
Death Place: Palestine
Enlistment Place: Ayr
Rank: Private
Regiment: Royal Scots Fusiliers
Battalion: 12th Battalion
Regimental Number: 295220
Type of Casualty: Killed in action
Theatre of War: Egyptian Theatre

In the 1901 census
Muirdyke Farm, Cumnock
Jas Mc Crerick     37 farmer b Cumnock
Agnes Mc Crerick     34
George Mc Crerick     6  b Ayr
Charles Mc Crerick     4
Jas Mc Crerick     2
Jane Mc Crerick     71
Mary Thomson     13
Jas McLean     3

Cumnock Connections tree


His war grave is in Jerusalem War Cemetery.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Andrew Easton

I cannot pinpoint this man who is on Cumnock War Memorial. Can anyone recognise the name? He was in the same Battalion as my father-in-law.

Name: Andrew Easton
Birth Place: Motherwell, Lanarkshire
Residence: Wishaw, Lanarkshire
Death Date: 22 Aug 1915
Death Place: Gallipoli
Enlistment Place: Ayr
Rank: Private
Regiment: Royal Scots Fusiliers
Battalion: 1st 5th Battalion
Regimental Number: 7474
Type of Casualty: Killed in action
Theatre of War: Balkan Theatre


He left his effects to Bella Easton of Furnace Row, Wishaw. She is single, a sister?

She got £6 3/3 (here she is Mrs Bella Easton, could be wrong)

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

James Hawthorn Tennant

James a 27 year old pithead man of 41 Tower St Old Cumnock re-enlisted in 1916 having previously served 4 years in the Territorials. His service record survived.

He was born in Dalmellington to  John Tennant and Hester Hawthorn.

He was married to Janet Young at Woodend in Cumnock in 1911 and had children  John Murray Tennant 7 May 1913 and Margaret Young Tennant 5 May 1915 in Cumnock.

He served in France.

He suffered a gunshot wound to the right thigh in 1917 and was in hospital 47 days.

He was a gunner in the RFA

Cumnock Connections tree

Monday, 18 August 2014

Thomas Campbell of Cronberry

There is a Thomas Campbell of the RSF on Cumnock War Memorial, but this man is on Muirkirk's War Memorial.

This Thomas Campbell was born in Cumnock at Kilnholm Place on 27 October 1878 to Thomas Campbell and Janet Baillie.

He is the Thomas N Campbell on Muirkirk War Memorial. "Nicol" was his nickname.

The family moved to Cronberry not long after he was born. He married married Margaret Slimmon Spence of Muirkirk  in Cronberry in 1903.

He was a miner but latterly a railway worker in Muirkirk. He played football for Cronberry Eglinton.

His brother George (nickname Cree) emigrated to the USA but sent money for the Christmas parcels for local soldiers back to Cumnock.

Thomas died in France on 30th July 1916. At first he was reported as a prisoner of war and was not declared dead until April 1917.  He left a widow with 4 children. His daughter Marion was born after his death.

Many thanks to Tony Campbell for information and permission to use his images.
Memorial Plaque or "Dead man's penny"

Letter from the King


Cumnock Connections tree 

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Lt Col John Douglas Boswell

John Douglas Boswell was born on 16th February 1867 at Garrallan House, the second son of Patrick Charles Douglas Boswell a JP and landed proprietor.

He was educated at Loretto, gained a BA at  Brasenose College, Oxford and BL at Glasgow University. He was a lawyer.

He played rugby for Scotland 1889-1894

He served in the Boer War and in France in WW1 and in 1917 was awarded the Serbian Order of the White Eagle.

Cumnock Chronicle March 1917

He was married and had at least 2 children: Jean Campbell Douglas Boswell and  John Patrick Douglas Boswell (born 1910 in  Edinburgh).

He died in Edinburgh on 8th January 1948.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Thomas McGinn DCM, RAMC

On 27 Sep 1917 it was reported in the Cumnock Chronicle that Corporal Thomas McGinn was presented with a gold watch at Skares in recognition of his DCM.

He was the son of John McGinn of 137 Skares. (Chronicle 17 Nov 1916) He had 2 brothers also in the RAMC James and Robert.

And in 1918 Tom McGinn was mentioned again in the Chronicle  as being home on leave and looking well.

This is his citation for the DCM 25 Nov 1916

1921-22 Post Office Directory. Could this be him living in Leith after the war?


He died in Edinburgh in 1976 age 85.

Cumnock Connections tree

George Bradford and Bois le Carré

Jenny Humphrey née Bradford went to visit her great uncle's grave in Bois le Carré in France earlier this month.
She left a memento on behalf of Cumnock.
George Bradford's grave.
Jenny and 2 of her grandchildren.
Many thanks to Jenny and her family for sharing these moments.

James Templeton Smith

James Smith was born in Beith on 10 May 1885 to chair maker John Boyd Smith originally from irvine and his wife Agnes Jane Templeton of Mauchline.

In the 1901 census
Muirpark Buildings, Beith
John Boyd Smith 51 chairmaker
Agnes Jane Smith 46
William Smith 25
Margaret Smith 20 wood carry
James Smith 15 cabinet maker's apprentice
John Smith 11 

At the age of 22 years and 11 months he enlisted in the 4th Battalion,  RSF in Beith in April 1908. He had previously served with the IVB RSF (volunteer brigade?) since Feb 1907.

His father is John B Smith of Crummock Street Beith.

He was discharged in Kilmarnock on 2nd April 1909 at the termination of his one year engagement.

He would have been in WW1 as well but I cannot locate any more info on him. There are too many James Smiths!

He is connected via the Templetons to CHG member Janet Smith who provided the photo.

Cumnock Connections tree

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Nurse Margaret Bissett

From the Cumnock Chronicle

The Royal Red Cross was conferred on Nurse Margaret Bissett of Cumnock, Nurse Jeanie Dunlop of Catrine and Sister A H Paton of Auchinleck on 2 Mar 1917.

Margaret Bissett was born about 1892 in Cronberry to colliery blacksmith Robert Bissett of Closeburn and his wife Annie Aitken of Auchinleck. Her brothers Robert and James served in the army.

She was a staff nurse at the Scottish National Red Cross Hospital at Bellahouston, Glasgow.

She was with the Scottish Women's Hospital at Ajaccio in Corsica from May til November 1917 and was awarded the British War Medal.

She was presented with her award by the King at Buckingham Palace on Saturday 6th April 1918.

After the war she married Arthur Hayward of London a sub-editor in 1920. Her address at that time was 12 Urbana Terrace, Baird Street, Cumnock. She was a nurse.

Cumnock Connections tree

The other recipients of the medal were Jeanie or Jane Dunlop of Catrine who was a sister in the 4th Scottish General Hospital at Stobhill and Agnes Hendrie Paton of Auchinleck who was a sister at Queen Mary's Hospital in Whalley Lancashire. They both were presented with their medal on Saturday 24th March 1917 by the King at Buckingham Palace.  (Thanks to Jenny Bradford for looking them up)

Agnes Hendrie Paton known as Nancy married architect Thomas Phillips Figgis in 1930. She died in 1989 at the age of 101 at Doonfoot in Ayr.

Red Cross
Scottish Women's Hospitals

Monday, 11 August 2014

William Begg, MM

Sergeant William Begg was born on the 24th March 1890 in Hollowsholm, Cumnock 

The Cumnock Chronicle provides some information:

He was awarded the Military Medal on 13 July 1917 and was presented with a gold wristwatch (at Lugar) on 5th Oct 1917. He was in the Seaforths.

He died of wounds received on 10th December on 23 Dec 1917. He had a leg amputated.

He was 27 and the oldest son of George Begg and Jeanie Connor who married in 1890.

In the 1891 census though Jeanie is recorded in her maiden name of Conner, as in William.

Hollowsholm Farm Cumnock
William Begg     71 farmer b Dalmellington
Mary Begg     71
Adam Begg     35
George Begg     29 son pithead man b Lugar
Jane Conner     24 servant dairy maid b Cronberry
William Conner     1 b Cumnock

By 1901 census George is the head of the house
Hollowholm Farm Cumnock
George Begg     40 farmer
Jane Begg     34
Wm Begg     11
Thomas Begg     9
Adam Begg     6
Daniel Begg     5
Susannah Begg     1
Margaret Baillie     63
John Baillie     43

Son of George and Jeanie Begg, of 428, New Row, Lugar, Cumnock, Ayrshire.
Rank: Serjeant
Regiment: Seaforth Highlanders
Age: 27
Date of death: 23-12-1917
Awards: Military Medal


 Cumnock Connections

His service record does not survive but that of his brother Daniel does. He enlisted in 1914 but was discharged a few weeks later as unfit, "unable to march".  Father George was at Craigstonholm.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Major Montagu I M Campbell, MC

Montagu Irving Mitchell Campbell was born at Glaisnock House on 13 Nov 1879, the son of Captain Robert Mitchell Campbell of Auchmannoch. (He was named after his mother's brother Montagu Stevenson in case you're wondering).

from Cumnock Chronicle

It was a well to do military family with property, Auchmannoch Estate in Sorn. He was educated at Eton and a professional soldIer. However war is no respecter of persons.  Montagu died in France on the 4th September 1916.  He was married with a baby daughter.

He does not appear on Cumnock War Memorial. He is on the Folkestone Roll of Honour. He went to school at Sutherland House school in Folkestone (1891 census).

Cumnock Connections tree


Tuesday, 5 August 2014

How to add Cumnock soldiers to Every Man Remembered

Thank you for volunteering to transfer our research to the British Legion's Every Man Remembered site.

Kay will allocate you a few soldiers' names from . You select some of the information from this blog and add it to the Story Section finishing with "Researched and remembered by Cumnock History Group"

Here's an example A Dickens


Go to

Register to use the site with an email address and password (remember these!)

 Choose "Commemorate someone I know"

Note - nothing goes on the site until you hit publish, so have a practice first.

Search for the soldier in the data base. The regimental number may be the best way of locating him if it is a common name.  It should match the information on the CWGC site which will be in my original post.

Once you have located the soldier, hit Commemorate now. You will be asked to register or log in. The log in is right at the bottom of the options.

Choose a short Commemoration. eg Lest we forget  There are pre-written options as well. Hit CONFIRM.

There is an option to add up to 5 photos. If we have a photo of the soldier by all means add it. You would need to download the photo to your computer or take a screen grab of it first. SKIP THIS STep if no photo.

Then go to Stories. Select some of the most relevant information from the Cumnock site. You can cut and paste. Add Ayrshire so people will know where Cumnock is!

Finish with "Researched and remembered by Cumnock History Group"

Check carefully and edit if necessary before you Publish.

You will be asked to donate. You can close this box.

Add a poppy for him to Cumnock. Give a reason - he was born here or he lived here or his family came from here.

Let us and the world know by sharing  on  facebook /twitter. On facebook you can choose to save to a group eg Cumnock Family History.

Job done!

Having said all that I  am finding the site quite tricky to use.  Try a different browser. I believe Google Chrome might be the best!

Monday, 4 August 2014

100 years ago

A personal message today from my grandfather to my mother. She was born in 1910. My grandfather survived the war. He was a driver in the Army Service Corps and was a chauffeur by profession.

Friday, 1 August 2014

James Mcgee Begg

James Mcgee Begg was born in 1882 in Cumnock to George Begg and Margaret Tannahill.

He was assistant to the City Engineer in Edmonton Alberta Canada  when war broke out and he sailed home on the Mauritania on 20 Sep. from NewYork to Liverpool to enlist in the British Army. He claimed his fare back later from the army.

Enlisted 29 Oct 1914 in Glasgow  in 1st Highland Field Company (royal engineers)
His next of kin Mrs George Begg Greenbank Cumnock. He was  32 years 8 months, 5 ft 9in, with a 36" chest.
He was promoted to Staff Sergeant and served the duration of the war.

He married Jean Meikle Baird in Muirkirk in 1918. Her address after marriage was Kaimshill, Muirkirk. They don't appear to have had any children.

Cumnock Connections tree

After the war he went back to Edmonton. He retired to Prestwick and died there in 1967.