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, 30 September 2014

Lawrence Samson

Lawrence Samson was the son of George Torrance Samson ( a JP and provost of Cumnock 1881-1887) and Mary Dalgleish. He was born in Cumnock on 4th March 1880.

He was a gunner in the RFA in the Boer War (from 1899 -1902) aged 19.

He emigrated to Canada on the Sicilian in 1906 and married Susan McMillan in Winnipeg in 1911.

He enlisted with the Canadian Forces  in 1916 when he was a salesman in Senlac.

In 1916 he paid a return visit to Cumnock.
Cumnock Chronicle 1916, added May 2018

In the 1921 census he was a salesman living at 2437 Rock Bay Av, Victoria, British Columbia with his wife and 2 children

1921 census
Victoria, BC
Lawrence Samson 38 b Scotland
Susan Samson 28 b Scotland
Mary Samson 8 b Manitoba
John Samson 7 b Saskatchewan

He died in Victoria on 22nd November 1942.

Cumnock Connections tree

Monday, 29 September 2014

William McBride

William McBride was the son of Gilbert McBride and Helen Rodgers. He was born in 1885 in Ayr and in 1891 census the family was in Glengyron Row, Cumnock.  He was the uncle of George Ethridge McBride who also served in the RSF, but they were more like brothers as they grew up in the same household.

1891 census
18 Glengyron Row Cumnock
Gilbert McBride 34
Helen McBride 34
Jane McBride 13
Lena Ethredge 12
Gilbert McBride 10
William McBride 6
Cathrine McBride 4

1901 census
2 Warwickhill Rows Dreghorn
Gilbert Mcbride 44
Ellen Mcbride 43
Gilbert Mcbride 19
William Mcbride 16 coal miner drawer
Ellen Mcbride 4
George Ethridge 6  grandson

He was a private in the RSF and he fell in the Battle of Loos on 25 Sep 1915.  He was married to Sarah Lindsay in Rankinston in 1905 and they had several children, William, Samuel, Gilbert and Sarah.

His parents were living in Muirkirk by this time and he is remembered on the War Memorial there.

With thanks to George's great grand nephew, George Ethridge McBride who provided the information.

Here he is on GWGC

and on Cumnock Connections tree

Sunday, 28 September 2014

John Bryden

John Bryden was born in 1892 in Cumnock but living at 2 Riverside Terrace Kirkconnel when he enlisted in the Cameron Highlanders in June 1915. He was a miner.

He was the son of James Bryden and Jemima Lochrie. In 1901 they were at 62 Skares Row.

James Bryden     43 coal miner
Jemima Bryden     42
Wm Bryden     16
Jas Bryden     14
Martha Bryden     12
John Bryden     9
Agnes Bryden     7
Marion Bryden     4
Thomas Bryden     2

He was a Corporal in the Cameron Highlanders when he fell in France on 30th May 1918.

A Miss Clapperton of 8 Craigbank, New Cumnock inserted a death notice for him in the Cumnock Chronicle on Friday 14th June 1918. Was she his sweetheart?

Kirkconnel minister Rev Charleson had this to say about him.

He is remembered on the Kirkconnel War Memorial and in the Aubigny Communal Cemetery Extension.


Cumnock Connections tree

Saturday, 27 September 2014

John Miller

from the Cumnock Chronicle 1915
He wasn't killed in the Dardanelles though but in the Battle of Loos.

Name: John Miller
Birth Place: Kilburnie, Ayrshire
Death Date: 13 Oct 1915
Death Place: France and Flanders
Enlistment Place: Perth
Rank: Private
Regiment: Black Watch (Royal Highlanders)
Battalion: 1st Battalion
Regimental Number: 3324
Type of Casualty: Killed in action
Theatre of War: Western European Theatre

CWGC gives a bit more information
Service No:
Date of Death:
Black Watch (Royal Highlanders)
1st Bn.
Panel Reference:
Panel 78 to 83.

Additional Information:
Son of Joseph and Barbara Miller, of 110, Skares Row, Cumnock, Ayrshire.
So John Miller was born about 1889 in Kilbirnie to Joseph and Barbara Miller who were from Poland and Miller is clearly not their original name. I looked in the 1915 valuation roll for 110 Skares Row and it was empty!

Conclusion based on what follows below - he was not born in Kilbirnie but in Poland (Lithuania) and was probably called Jonas Andrizanskis

Then I found this clip about a brother called Alex.

from the Cumnock Chronicle 1916
Found by Bobby in the Chronicle 1917, added Sep 2018

The only possible record that partially matches is the 1911 census where the following family lived in Ayr.

1911 census
52 Green St Newton, Ayr
Joseph Miller 48 born Holland ( could this be a mishearing of Poland?)
Barbara Miller 39 wife married 22 years 4 ch 4 living b Holland
John son 21 single b Holland
Alexander son 18 single b Holland
Cosker son 11 b Kilbirnie
Francis son 4 b Cumnock

The first news clip suggests the family has been in the UK for 25 years so about 1890 so maybe soon after the birth of Alex.

The handwriting is quite clear. Son no 3 is definitely "Cosker". (See update below for more about "Cosker"

I thought if I got the birth cert for Cosker or Francis that would solve it all but I can't find either!

He is John Millar on the War Memorials in Cumnock Parish Church,  in Cumnock new cemetery and in Skares as well as the Loos Memorial in France.

Skares memorial in the church photographed by Morag Gordon

Update 16 Oct 2014
I found a report of the sudden death of Castor Miller in Skares. But I can't find a death certificate either. I guess the certificates have the Polish names on them. Will need to see if the nice registration staff at the Burns Centre can help.

Update 19 November 2014
Indeed the Burns Monument registration staff member  on duty was wonderful ( a lady from Cumnock originally!) and pored through the original books till the death certificate was found.  With this information got the births of both Castor and Frank and the death records of father Joseph and Frank.  Castor's name was Kaztaniszy Andrizanskis. Father was Jousapus Andrizanskis and Frank was Bladisla. Mother was Barbara Balszitiz.  These names seem to be of Lithuanian origin.

The family lived at 110 Skares from between 1911- 1916 until after 1939.  The parents were married in Poland in December 1887.

Cumnock Connections tree

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

William Glover McBride

William Glover McBride was born on the 9th April 1887 in Skares Row, Cumnock.
He enlisted in Dumfries and his place of residence was Kirkconnel.

He was killed in action on the 28th January 1917 and is remembered on Kirkconnel War War Memorial and Thiepval Memorial

The Rev Charleson of Kirkconnel Church spoke of him at a  service in 1917. He was married with a child and they moved away to Edinburgh.

William Glover McBride on CWGC

William married Helen Walker Fairholm in Edinburgh. They had a son Thomas in 1914 and a daughter Cecil  in 1916. Cecil died at 5 months old.

His widow married John Owen Harries on 14th February less than three weeks after the death of William.  In 1923 John, Helen and young Thomas emigrated to Canada.  Thomas enlisted in the RAF in 1940 and was killed in Netherlands. His mother died in Burnaby, British Columbia  in 1979.

William's parents were miner Thomas McBride and Martha Glover who married in 1874 in Dalmellington. The family moved about a lot judging by the censuses and the children's birthplaces.

Village of Joppa, Coylton
Thomas McBride     27 b Kirkmichael
Martha McBride     23
Sarah McBride     6
Isabella McBride     2
Martha McBride     4 Mo
rest b Dalmellington

1891 census
9 Westburn, Cambuslang
Thomas McBride     39 miner b Crosshill Ayrshire
Martha McBride     33 b Dalmellington
Sarah McBride     16 b Dalmellington
Isabella McBride     12 b Dalmellington
Martha McBride     10 b Dalmellington
Eliz McBride     7 b Dailly
William McBride     3 b Cumnock
Maggie McBride     1 b Cambuslang

In 1901 census they are staying with married daughter Isabella in
Thomas Hamilton     23
Isabella Hamilton     22 b Dalmellington
Martha Hamilton     5 Mo
Thomas Mcbride     46 visitor b Kirkmichael Ayrshire
Martha Mcbride     43 b Dalmellington
William Mcbride     14 b Cumnock
Margaret Mcbride     11 b Cambuslang
Thomas Mcbride     7 b Portobello
James Mcbride     4 b Portobello
Lizzie Mcbride     18 visitor servant b Girvan

Cumnock Connections tree

updated 15 Jan 2018

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Charles Baird of Lugar

3 men from Brick Row all died in 1915.

Charles Baird of Brick Row, Lugar was born in 1891 in Lugar to Robert Baird and his wife Sarah McKelvie Baird. His father died within weeks of his son's death. His mother is the cousin of the Charles Baird on Muirkirk War Memorial. Happily the brother James, mentioned serving with the HLI, survived the war. Another brother Robert Baird of the RFA also survived.

Bairds on Cumnock Connections tree

Sadly the other 2 men mentioned in the article Jim Wylie and William Wright  were also to fall later on that year. They are all remembered on Lugar War Memorial

Initials: C
Nationality: United Kingdom
Rank: Private
Regiment/Service: Cameron Highlanders
Unit Text: 1st Bn.
Date of Death: 09/05/1915
Service No: S/14291
Additional information: Son of the late Robert and Sarah Baird.
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
Grave/Memorial Reference: Panel 41 and 42.

Initials: W
Nationality: United Kingdom
Rank: Private
Regiment/Service: Cameron Highlanders
Unit Text: 1st Bn.
Age: 20
Date of Death: 28/09/1915
Service No: S/14294
Additional information: Born at Lugar, Cumnock, Ayrshire. Son of Mr. and Mrs. Robert John Wright, of 10, Avon St., Glasgow.
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
Grave/Memorial Reference: Sp. Mem. 31.

William Wright on Cumnock Connections tree


Initials: J
Nationality: United Kingdom
Rank: Private
Regiment/Service: Cameron Highlanders
Unit Text: 1st Bn.
Age: 22
Date of Death: 11/10/1915
Service No: S/14447
Additional information: Son of John and Janet Wylie, of 473, Brick Row, Lugar, Ayrshire.
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
Grave/Memorial Reference: Panel 119 to 124.

His service record survives. He was a bricklayer on enlistment in November 1914. His father signed for his medals on 23rd Feb 1921
James Wylie on Cumnock Connections tree

Friday, 19 September 2014

John Steele

John Steel had been a member of the congregation of the established church before he left for Australia.

He was born in 1890 in Galston to Robert Steel and Jessie Young. They had moved to Cumnock by the 1901 census. His father was a van man and they lived at Townhead.

John is still in Cumnock in 1911 census but enlisted  in 1915 in  Australia.

He died in Reading and was buried in Cumnock new cemetery. No further information is on the gravestone.


Brothers John Glencross MM and Andrew Glencross MM

I spotted this death announcement in the Cumnock Chronicle about John Glencross

His mother was Mary Hutson and his father Robert Glencross.

He was awarded the Military Medal 14 Sep 1916 for bravery in the field.  He died on the 2nd October 1916.

Cumnock Chronicle

Cumnock Chronicle


His service record survives although in very poor condition. He enlisted in 1909, aged 20. Regimental no. 60199.

He was admitted to hospital with gunshot wounds to the left thigh on 1st October and died the following day, 2nd October 1916.

His record contains a scrap of a letter from Mary his mother which in which she states another son a Second Lieutenant was killed in 1918.

It was Second Lieutenant Andrew Glencross also of the Black Watch killed  on the 18th April 1918


Mary Hutson also lost her brother Andrew Hutson in the war.

Cumnock Connections family tree

I found this report under "Battlefield Stories" in the Dumfries and Galloway Standard & Advertiser, January 27 1915

Updated 15 March 2018 with Chronicle clippings from Bobby Grierson and family mementoes from Iain Ogilvie.

Updated 29 Sep 2018 with photos from Robbie Moffat who visited his great uncles' graves along with his father Alex.

James Glencorse

On the 11 July 1917 the Cumnock Chronicle reported that word had been received that L/Cpl James Glencross of Lugar had been killed in action.

He is on Lugar War Memorial as James Glencorse.

He was born on 3rd August 1896 at 445 Brick Row, Lugar to locomotive stoker John Glencorse and his wife Jessie Robb.

Cumnock Connections tree

James Glencorse
Birth Place: Auchinleck, Ayrshire
Residence: Lugar, Ayrshire
Death Date: 11 Apr 1917
Death Place: France and Flanders
Enlistment Place: Ayr
Rank: Private
Regiment: Highland Light Infantry
Battalion: 10 11th Battalion
Regimental Number: 41636
Type of Casualty: Killed in action
Theatre of War: Western European Theatre

and on CWGC
Service No:
Date of Death:
Highland Light Infantry
10th/11th Bn.
Grave Reference:
B. 8.
Additional Information:
Son of Mr. and Mrs. John Glencorse, of 445, Brick Row, Luthar, Ayrshire.

James Galbraith

James Galbraith was born at Roadside, Cumnock about 1893, the youngest child of eleven of Robert Galbraith and his wife Martha Denham.

He enlisted in the Black Watch (Royal Highlanders). He was killed in action on the 14th October 1916 aged 23 in Mesopotamia (Iraq)

Here's the family in 1901 census
Greenhill Cottage, New Cumnock
Robert Galbraith 54
Martha Galbraith 48
Robert Galbraith 21
Lily Galbraith 15
Bessie Galbraith 9
James Galbraith 7
 Martha Rodger 7
Annie Rodger 5
 Robert Rodger 2
Agnes Denham 82 other rel  b Ireland (mother in law)


He is remembered on New Cumnock War Memorial and Amara War Cemetery, Iraq.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

John Hill

John Hill was a Cumnock resident.

John Hill
Birth Place:
Dreghorn, Ayrshire
Old Cumnock, Ayrshire
Death Date:
14 Aug 1915
Death Place:
Enlistment Place:
Stewarton, Ayrshire
Royal Scots Fusiliers
1st 4th Battalion
Regimental Number:
Type of Casualty:
Theatre of War:
Balkan Theatre

His death notice in the Cumnock Chronicle says he was a stretcher bearer.

CWGC gives some further information:

Age 25
Son of John Hill and Janet (Boyd) of Kilmaurs, Ayrshire
Husband of Jane Pearson Hill of 66 Townhead St, Old Cumnock, Ayrshire

This is  the family.  He was born in Kilmarnock, not Dreghorn

1891 census
9 Kiln Row, Kilmarnock  

John Hill             38 coal miner
Janet Hill             33
James Hill             12
James Hill             9
Agnes Hill             7
Elizabeth Hill             5
John Hill             6 Months b Kilmarnock

1901 census
Main St west side, Kilmaurs
Janet Hill             43 annuitant
James Hill             22
Janet H Burns             19
George Burns             22
Agnes Hill             17
John Hill             10 b Kilmarnock
Sarah Hill             7
Arthur Hill             1

He married Jane Pearson of Waterside Place on 14th May 1915 in Cumnock,  exactly 3 months before he died.

His mother was remarried in 1905 and living in Kilmaurs. 

He is remembered on Kilmaurs War Memorial and in the Alexandria Military & War Memorial Cemetery.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Robert Gemmell

Robert "Bob" Gemmell was the second of the eleven children of John Gemmell and Hannah Steel Morton. He was born about 1891 in Auchinleck. In 1911 the family was at 25 Darnconner and that was his address when he enlisted in Cumnock in the very early days of war on 1st September 1914 at the age of 23 years and 2 months. He was a miner.
photo from Doug Porteous

His service record survives.  He originally enlisted with the Gordon Highlanders but was transferred to the Royal Field Artillery.

He was examined on enlistment by a civilian doctor James McQueen of Cumnock. He was 5 ft 8 1/2 in tall with a chest measurement of 40 ".  Weight 178 lbs. He had hazel eyes and dark brown hair and had no marks eg tattoos or scars.

He sailed from Marseille  to Sulva Bay (Gallipoli) in August 1915. He was promoted to Corporal and then to Sergeant later that year.

In January 1916 he sailed from Mudros to Alexandria (Egypt). In March that year he sailed to Marseille.

In July 1917 he was wounded in action and admitted to hospital "gassed". He was wounded again in 1918.

No offences were recorded against him.

He was discharged to the Territorials in 1919.

He sent the photo postcard above to a cousin in Saskatchewan, Canada who kept it. Her grandson Doug Porteous found it.

In 1922 he married Isabella Wightman in Auchinleck and he died in 1959 in East Lothian.

Cumnock Connections tree

Monday, 15 September 2014

William McLean

I think this soldier on Cumnock War Memorial must have come to Cumnock after the 1901 census as I can't place him. Can anyone help?  Born about 1886, he died at Gallipoli in 1915.

William McLean
Old Cumnock, Ayrshire
Death Date:
13 Jul 1915
Death Place:
Enlistment Place:
Cumnock, Avrshire
Royal Scots Fusiliers
1st 5th Battalion
Regimental Number:
Type of Casualty:
Killed in action
Theatre of War:
Balkan Theatre

Service No:
Date of Death:
Royal Scots Fusiliers

1st/5th Bn.
Panel Reference:
Panel 72 to 75.

Additional Information:
Son of John and Catherine McLeod McLean, of 8, Croft Place, Renfrew.

1915 valuation roll
Tenant Occupier

Update: a sister Mary and a Mrs Catherine Bradley as well as father John are mentioned in his effects

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Robert Hyslop

Robert Hyslop is remembered on Cumnock War Memorial and Thiepval Memorial in France.

from Cumnock Chronicle
The Cumnock lad John Logan who was beside him when he was killed also died.

Name:Robert Hyslop
Birth Place:Cumnock, Ayrshire
Residence:Auchinleck, Ayrshire
Death Date:15 Sep 1916
Death Place:France and Flanders
Enlistment Place:Cumnock
Regiment:Royal Scots Fusiliers
Battalion:6 7th Battalion
Regimental Number:12770
Type of Casualty:Killed in action
Theatre of War:Western European Theatre


With no surviving service record or details of relations or date of birth it is difficult to be sure who he is.

There are at least 3 Robert Hyslops in the time frame.

 1901 census
1 son of cement worker Thomas Hyslop and Jane in Kilnholm Place age 6
2  son of miner Robert and Annie Hyslop of Ayr rd age 17
3  son of Robert and Jane of Ayr Rd a joiner aged 17 (no, he went to USA and was drafted in September 1918 in Hamden, Massachussetts)

Update: The Cumnock Chronicle notes he was the husband of Elizabeth Byrne. I pulled the marriage certificate and he is no. 2, the son of Robert Hyslop and Annie Miller. They were married in 1908 and his address was Waterside Place. He was a coal miner.  They had a son, also Robert, born in 1910.

Cumnock Connections tree

Monday, 8 September 2014

George R E McBride, DCM

George Rodger Ethridge McBride was born in Glengyron Row, Cumnock on 26th September 1893 to 18yr old Elizabeth Ethridge. He was brought up by his grandmother Helen Rodger, and her second husband Gilbert McBride.

Here he is on Cumnock Connections tree

By the 1901 census the family had moved on to Dreghorn
2 Warwickhill Rows

Gilbert Mcbride             44  coal miner hewer born St Quivox
Ellen Mcbride             43
Gilbert Mcbride             19
William Mcbride             16
Ellen Mcbride             4
George Ethridge             6 grandson b Cumnock

George enlisted on 2nd June 1915 in the 2nd Battalion, the Royal Scots Fusiliers by which time he was in Muirkirk.

He was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM). This is his citation.

He has at all times shown great gallantry and devotion to duty. During the advance from Ypres, on 28th September 1918, when all his company officers and senior non-commissioned officers had become casualties, he showed marked courage, initiative and resource.  Although wounded he carried on for four days.

He was transferred to the Reserves on the 19th January 1919 and returned to mining in Muirkirk.

He married Mary Kirkwood in 1921 and they had 5 children, George, May, Robert, Rodger and Andrew.

He bore the scars of war across the bridge of his nose onto his cheek caused by shrapnel from a shell burst. He also had a shoulder wound.  He never spoke of his wartime experience. When pushed, all he said was, "he did his duty".

He died at home in Muirkirk on 10th January 1952 and is buried in Muirkirk Cemetery.

With grateful thanks to George's grandson, George Ethridge McBride who provided the photos and information.

Friday, 5 September 2014

Thomas Armstrong

There is a Memorial Inscription (#150) in Cumnock new cemetery:
Thomas Armstrong killed at Kemmel, Belgium 31 Jan 1916 aged 25 son of Robert Armstrong and Margaret Hunter.

Since he wasn't on Cumnock War Memorial I had to look him up.

Here he is on the CWGC
Service No:
Date of Death:
Canadian Infantry
28th Bn.
Grave Reference:
K. 82.
Additional Information:
Son of Robert and Margaret Hunter Armstrong, of Chapel, Moffat, Dumfriesshire, Scotland.

His Canadian enlistment papers tell us that
He enlisted 24 Oct 1914 at Regina, Saskatchewan
He was a carpenter, born 19 Feb 1890
His next of kin was his mother Margaret at 88 Ayr Road, Cumnock

Canadian casualty report

Cumnock Connections tree

He was the youngest son of Robert Armstrong and Margaret Hunter who married in Penpont in 1866.
Robert was a shepherd, then a dairyman and in 1901 a farmer at Wallacetown Farm Auchinleck

Their son George previously served in the Imperial Yeomanry and died in hospital in Aldershot in 1901 aged 19.

Another son William also served in the Canadian Expeditionary Force. He died in Vancouver in 1948.
Canadian papers

Thomas Armstrong is not on the War Memorials of Auchinleck, Cumnock, Lugar or Moffat so I am especially pleased to honour his memory here.

Here's the family headstone in Cumnock New Cemetery.
Photo by Morag Gordon Aug 2015

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Cochrane Hillhouse Shankland

Cochrane Hillhouse Shankland was the son of James Shankland and Margaret Munn. He was born in 1890 at Crosslar Farm. he was named after the husband of his aunt Janet or Jessie Shankland.

He was still in Scotland in 1911 census but I haven't yet located his transatlantic crossing.

He enlisted with the Candian Forces in Mar 1915 in Vancouver. He was single and and a carpenter. He had fair hair and blue eyes and was 5 ft 9 in tall.  He was a sergeant.

Canadian miltary record here

He married Ethel Lovie in 1926 and died in Vancouver in 1967.

Cumnock Connections