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.

Friday, 20 January 2017

Robert Shankland V.C.

I have found a Cumnock Connection to a recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest British military honour, Robert Shankland.

Robert was born in Ayr on 10 October 1887 to William Shankland, a railway porter later a guard, from Durrisdeer and Jane McCririck of Cumnock who had worked for the Boswells of Garrallan for at least 10 years before her marriage.

Daily Record 20 December 1917

Robert emigrated to Winnipeg, Canada in 1911 on the Sicilian.

He enlisted in Canada on 18 Dec 1914.

He was awarded both the DCM and the VC. He was awarded the Victoria Cross for Passchendaele on 26 Oct 1917.

With King George V and Queen Mary

He was given the freedom  of the Burgh of Ayr.

Daily Record 02 January 1918

He married Annie Stobo Haining in Prestwick in 1920 and by 1921 they were back in Winnipeg.  He died in 1968 in Vancouver.

His VC was put up for sale in 2009 but happily was purchased for  $240,000  by the Imperial War Museum of Canada.


The Canadian Encyclopaedia

He died in Vancouver in 1968.

Cumnock Connections tree

Monday, 16 January 2017

John Hamilton

I now believe that this John Hamilton is the one referred to on Cumnock War Memorial and that the one I wrote about in 2014 here is on New Cumnock War Memorial.

I spotted the announcement of his death in the Cumnock Chronicle.

At Stobhill Hospital on 11th May 1917 as a result of wounds received in France on 18th Oct 1914 JOHN HAMILTON, RSF, husband of JEANIE MILLER, Roseburn Row.

His pension record survives.

He had been serving in the Territorials for 6 years when he enlisted in 1914.

He had blue eyes and brown hair and was 5 ft 4 in.

He was mobilised in August 1914. He was with the Expeditionary Force in France from 11 Sep to 20 October and at Home from 21 Oct until he was discharged unfit on the 2nd February 1916.
He received a gunshot wound (severe) to the back on 19th October 1914. All of which fits in with the notice.  The bullet seems to have pierced his bladder causing major problems and ultimately most likely his death, see below.

Family members are his wife Jane 7 Garrallan Row
Mother Jane Hamilton 45 High St Ayr
Younger brother Hugh, Drongan, Ayrshire
Children Margaret born Bellshill
twins Harriet & Jane born Old Cumnock

His pension records suggest he was born about 1888 in Calton, Glasgow. And his marriage certificate gives his mother as Jane Scott and father John Hamilton deceased.

His mother seems to be Jane Hamilton who married Cochrane Scott in 1885.  We have as yet been unable to find his birth certificate.

His death record gives cause of death as calculus in bladder (bladder stones), abcess in pelvis, suprapubic cystostomy (catheter) shock. He was 29.

Cumnock Connections tree

He doesn't appear on the Commonwealth Grave Commission's site, presumably as he had been discharged already from the army. Seems harsh.