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.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

George Haig

I found this In Memoriam while searching "Cumnock" in newpapers online.

George Haig was a shoeing smith or farrier with Lanarkshire Yeomanry. His family were from Lanarkshire but were in Lugar at the time of the war. George had been in the Balkans for three weeks when he died on 9th November 1915. He was 21.

from Hamilton Advertiser, Nov  1916

The hospital ship Delta was used for men injured in Gallipoli.

George was born on 4th January 1894 in Abington, Lanarkshire to John Haig and Margaret Dempster  who were both from Carluke.  Margaret's sister Kate is the Mrs Adam in the In Memoriam notice above. She married George Adam in 1893.

1901 census
Clydeview, Crawfordjohn
John Haig 39 baker
Margaret Haig 40
James Haig 10
George Haig 7
Wm Haig 5
James Hoatson 27 boarder postman

1901 census
18 Agnes St, Maryhill
George Adams 38 drapery warehouseman
Kate Adams 36
both born Carluke

 valuation roll

George is remembered on Carluke War Memorial and the Helles Memorial.


Cumnock Connections tree

Friday, 21 November 2014

Lugar War Memorial

The War Memorial in Lugar is most unusual in that it lists all those who served as well as those who perished.

photo by Morag Gordon

photo by Morag Gordon

Monday, 17 November 2014

Hugh Findlay

Hugh Gibson Findlay was the son of James Findlay and Maggie Gibson

S /9335 of the Gordon Highlanders

1901 census
Douglastone Cottage, Cumnock
James Findlay 45 railway inspector
Margaret Findlay 46
David Findlay 21
William Findlay 13
James Findlay 11
Hugh Findlay 8
George Findlay 5

Cumnock Connections tree

He was 23 when he died in France. He was posted missing, presumed killed on 18 June 1915

Added 24 Sep 2018


His service record survives

He was a joiner aged 22 of Douglastone Cottage on the16th February 1915 at Cumnock. His next of kin was his father James. He was 5ft 7.
His father signed for his 1914-5 star on the 11th August 1919. His father listed his living relatives on 24th May 1919. His mother, brothers David, William, James & George and sisters Agnes and Catherine. All were living at Douglaston Cottage except David of 15 Alexandra St Clydebank and  Catherine of Station Cottage Dunure.

Douglaston Cottage, now demolished. Photo by Helen Holland

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

William Montgomery

A Cumnock born man died early in the war according to this report from the Dundee Evening Telegraph of January 1915.

His service record survives
He joined the army at Glasgow on the 24th October 1895 aged 19. He was a labourer born in Old Cumnock.
The address on his service record was  87 Beechwood Cottages, Uphall Station, Linlithgowshire but I think this is a later address of his widow when she remarried.
He had a wife Annie Ross of Uphall Station and a daughter Margaret Angus Montgomery born 6th May 1914.
He had a brother Fergus of Hartlepool, a brother Robert in Saskatchewan Canada and a sister Maggie also in Saskatchewan. No parents recorded, so deceased.

Having a brother with the uncommon first name of Fergus helped me locate the family in the censuses.

His parents were William Montgomery,flesher (butcher) and Mary McBain and he was  born in Lugar on 6 Oct 1878.

In the 1881 census the family is at  462  New Row, Auchinleck and William is 2 years old so he wasn't as old as 19 when he enlisted in 1895,  he was only 16.

His widow's address was later given as 5 O'Connell St, Hawick. She was Annie Jessie Angus Graham and she was remarried to Bryce Ross in 1917.

Southern Reporter 10 December 1914

He was killed in action on 12 November 1914 and is remembered on the Ploegsteert Memorial in Belgium. He is not on Cumnock or Lugar War Memorials. He's on Hawick  War Memorial.


Cumnock Connections tree

Monday, 10 November 2014

William Stewart RSF

Not at all sure about this man on Cumnock War Memorial, but he is the only William Stewart of the RSF in Ayrshire who died that I can find.

There was a William Stewart of Skares mentioned as home on convalescent leave but that was in 1918. He survived the war and married. He died in Whitehall pit in 1945.

Name: William Stewart
Birth Place: Dalmellington, Ayr
Residence: Dalmellington, Ayr
Death Date: 26 Oct 1917
Death Place: France and Flanders
Enlistment Place: Dalmellington, Ayr
Rank: Private
Regiment: King's Own Scottish Borders
Battalion: 2nd Battalion
Regimental Number: 41366
Type of Casualty: Killed in action
Theatre of War: Western European Theatre
Comments: Formerly 205209, R.S    (NOTE: but see the Medal Roll Card below)


Could be the son of Robert Stewart and Mary Hillhouse b 1880 Dalmellington.

Saturday, 8 November 2014

In Flanders Fields by John McCrae

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
 In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
 In Flanders fields.

The author of this moving poem is  John McCrae a great great grandson of Cumnock-born Marmaduke McCrae

John McCrae was a doctor. Here are his WW1 army papers.  He died of pneumonia in France on 21st January 1918 aged 45.