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, 8 October 2016

John Shankland

Reported in the Cumnock Chronicle of 7 June 1918 the death of John Shankland of Tokanui, Southland, New Zealand while on service in France on 29th March 1918. He was the son of John Shankland and the grandson of John Shankland of Bowes Farm, Cumnock.

His father John was born in 1860 and emigrated to New Zealand by 1891 where he married Jane Agnes Parlane on 20th August.   John was a farmer  at Tokanui. Their son John was born in 1892.

John was a rifleman with the New Zealand Rifle Brigade and died at the Somme on 29 March 1918. He was 25.He is buried at Euston Road Cemetery in Colincamps

His father died suddenly a few months later on 17th June 1918 aged 58 and is buried at Quarry Hills Cemetery.


Cumnock Connections tree

Monday, 21 March 2016

John Burns

John Burns was born in Cronberry about 1899,  the son of Peter Burns and Susan Kilday.

Here he is on the tree

The family lived at 260 Cronberry, second row. His father was a coal miner.
His parents were in Cambuslang by 1911

Ancestry tell us:-

NameJohn Burns
Birth PlaceCronberry, Ayr
ResidenceCambuslang, Lanark
Death Date13 Oct 1918
Death PlaceFrance and Flanders
Enlistment PlaceHamilton
RegimentMachine Gun Corps
Regimental Number132947
Type of CasualtyKilled in action
Theatre of WarWestern European Theatre

CWGC has this on him.

Service No:
Date of Death:
Machine Gun Corps (Infantry)
24th Bn. 
Grave Reference:
V. A. 5.
Additional Information:
Son of Mr. P. Burns, of 32, Buchanan Square, Cambuslang, Lanark.

Sunday, 20 March 2016

John Pollock

John Pollock was born about 1895 in Sanquhar. His parents Thomas Pollock and Mary Kirkhope had the Queensberry Hotel there at the time but by 1901 they were in Cumnock at the Burns Inn/ Bucks Head.

His story is brought to us by the Dumfries & Galloway Standard. Thanks to Rhonda for finding it.

Dumfries and Galloway Standard 18 April 1917

Later report some good news
2 June1917

And then some good and not so good news
5 Sep 1917
Snippet from the Cumnock Chronicle 11 January 1918
Lieutenant John Pollock, a prisoner for 9 months in Germany, is expected home today (11 January). He left a leg in Germany.

And he took part in a concert at Cumnock picture house in June 1918 for Red Cross Week.

He lived to be 85!  He died in Bishopbriggs in 1980.

Saturday, 19 March 2016

Robert Miller

Robert Miller was born on the 23rd July 1879 in Cumnock the son of David Miller a coal miner and Agnes Kyle.

He is mentioned in the Cumnock Chronicle Roll of Honour in 1916 as with the Canadians, so he was easy to find.

His Canadian papers can be see here

He enlisted on the 5th September 1914 at Valcartier. He was single 34 years old,  a labourer and his next of kin was his mother Agnes living in Ayr.

1881 census
2 Barrhill rd Cumnock
David Miller 33
Agness Miller 33
Ellen Miller 12
Maggie Miller 10
William Miller 8
Isabella Miller 6
Agness Miller 5
Jane Miller 3
Robert Miller 8 Mo

1891 census
Ayr rd,  Cumnock
David Miller 43 coal miner b Kirkconnel
Agnes Miller 44 b Strathaven
William Miller 18
Agnes Miller 15
Jane Miller 13
Robert Miller 11
David Miller 9
James Miller 7

In the 1901 census  he is a spirit salesman in Rutherglen, Glasgow.

He appears to have survived the war.

on the tree

Friday, 18 March 2016

John Pyle

John Pyle appears in the Cumnock Chronicle list of men serving in WW1. He is an engineer on board HMS Anne, a seaplane carrier.

John was born on 7 February 1891 in Dumfries the son of a tailor William Lockerbie Pyle and Carolina Boggie Wilson.

The family was in Cumnock by 1899 when sister Robina was born.

In the 1901 census they are in Townhead Street and father William is a tailor's cutter.
William Pyle 32
Caroline Pyle 31
John Pyle 10
Caroline Pyle 8
Robina Pyle 1

In the 1911 census they are in 4 Waterside Place and John is an engineer, mechanical
There are two nieces living with them Mary 8 and Elizabeth Pyle 2 born in Dumfries.

John died in Cumnock in 1975.

PC written to his sister Ruby (Robina)

John in Cumnock Connections tree

Friday, 11 March 2016

Kelly brothers of Skares

David Kelly, the son of Richard Kelly and Martha McFarlane enlisted in the Royal Garrison Artillery at Ayr on 10 Apr 1918. His service record survives and provides much information.

He was a coal miner aged 19 years and 241 days and his next of kin was his mother Mrs Richard Kelly, 140 Skares.

He was 5ft 5 1/2 in and chest 35 1/2 in.

He was invalided out on 18th June 1918 at Newhaven because of shortness of breath and inability to walk far.

It also states "he is sufficiently robust to earn a normal day's wage in the employment he is going to take up".

His older brothers James and William both died within weeks of each other in the 1918 flu epidemic.

David married neighbour Sadie Thorburn in 1925.  In the 1930 valuation roll he is a collier at 128 Skares Row. They lived latterly in Mauchline.

Brother Charles Kelly was in the HLI and also discharged as unfit on the 29th August 1918. He was a spirit salesman, of good character, sober, honest and diligent.

Cumnock Connections tree

Monday, 7 March 2016

Henry Carruthers

Henry Charles Carruthers was a 34 year old grocer living with his wife Janet or Jessie McSorland and 3 children at 368 Cronberry when he enlisted in 1917.

He was in the RGA and was a gunner, stationed at Falmouth and Plymouth.

On demobilisation his address was 29 Glengyron Row and he was still at that address in 1930 (valuation roll). By then he was a labourer.

He was born in Dalbeattie about 1882. His parents were Hugh Carruthers a ploughman and Henrietta Jane Russell.

Here he is on Cumnock Connections tree

Monday, 29 February 2016

Fred McCririck

He was born Alfred McCririck in  but later records have him as Frederick. His parents were William McCririck and Jane Younie.

According to his service papers :-

  • He volunteered for the Territorial Army and was enlisted  in the 5th  RSF at Ayr in 14 April 1908
  • He was 5 ft 9
  • He was an engineer with Baird & Co.
  • His father was Frederick McCririck of Glaisnock St, although  the census gives his father as William McCririck
  • He was promoted to Sergeant.

1891 census
Donaldsons Brae, Cumnock
William McCririck             50
Jane McCririck             45
Thomas McCririck             14
Alfred McCririck             7

1901 census
Greenbraeheads, Cumnock
William McCririck             60 blacksmith
Jane McCririck             54
Fred McCririck             17 engineers apprentice

He married Annie Morrison McKenzie in Muirkirk in 1913.  He later worked as an engine fitter in Glasgow.

He is the brother of Thomas McCririck

Cumnock Connections tree

Thomas McCririck

Thomas McCririck survived the war but died young nevertheless in 1920.

He was born on 18th March  1877 at Garallan Smithy of a long line of blacksmiths working there. His parents were William McCririck and Jane Younie.  He was a bright lad though and went to Glasgow University.

In the 1911 census he was working as a doctor in Wandsworth Hospital, London. He married Isabella Morrison in 1912 in Glasgow.  Things were going well for him until the advent of war.

Glasgow University records provide a lot of information:-
Thomas McCririck graduated from the University of Glasgow with an MA 1900, a BSc 1903, MBChB 1906, MD 1911, and DPH RCPS Eng 1911.
Thomas was born 18 March 1877 in Old Cumnock and he was a very high achieving student at the University, gaining a number of prizes and having a particular gift for Botany and Zoology.
In 1901 he gained the Herbarium Prize and a Second Class certificate for Botany with ‘Special Commendation of Excellence of Specimens’. The entry records that: “Mr McCririck’s Herbarium contained 471 specimens correctly named.”
The next year he was the Medallist in Practical Botany and also won the William Hunter Medal and Special Prize for Practical Zoology. In 1903 Thomas gained a Second Class certificate for Anatomy and was 2nd equal in the class for Embryology. He gained a First Class certificate for Embryological Lab the next year. In 1905 McCririck gained a Commendation Certificate for Clinical Surgery and received a First Class certificate in Senior Clinical Surgery in 1906.
Thomas McCririck then gained an MD 1911 with a thesis titled: The streptococco-opsonic index in scarlatina, erysipelas and puerperal fever.
During WW1 Thomas McCririck served in the Royal Army Medical Corps as Temp Lieutenant in 1915 and Temp Captain in 1916 and 1918. McCririck was awarded the British Medal, the Victory Medal and the IS Star for his services during the War. 
Thomas McCririck died in 1920, believed drowned and perhaps as a result of living with shell shock.

The implication is he drowned himself.  

Hull Daily Mail 10 June 1920

This is his probate.

Thomas on our family tree

With thanks to Rhonda Queen for research.