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, 22 August 2017

George Begg

It was reported in the Ayr advertiser in 1916 that George Begg of Cumnock had recently returned from South Africa was to take up a post in the Royal Engineers.

He the son of George Begg and Margaret Tannahill of Greenbank and the brother of James McGee Begg.

In December 1917,  reported in the Scotsman, he was admitted as a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers.

He rose to the rank of Captain. 

After the war he appears to have returned to South Africa as there are records of his journeys in 1935 and 1938 accompanied by his wife Rabie!

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

James Hamilton Dick MC and Kenneth Sage Dick

James Hamilton Dick was born in Hamilton in 1895. His brother Kenneth was 3 years his junior.
His father John Dick was a teacher at Cumnock School. Latterly he lived at Linwood, Holmside until his death in 1932. By then he was Academy Rector.

1901 census
Oakland Cottage, Cumnock
John Dick 36 schoolmaster
Agnes Dick 36
John Dick 7
James H Dick 6
Kenneth S Dick 3
Lizzie Laurie 15 dom servant  (BTW sister of John Laurie MM)
All born Hamilton except Lizzie

Some background information on James, though I haven't made a note of where I found this.

Both James and brother Kenneth were promoted to second lieutenants in 1915. And both served with the Scottish Mounted Field Ambulance Brigade
London Gazette, 

This is his citation for the Military Cross

Happily both brothers survived the war and became doctors in England.
In 1925 they were still in  Cumnock according to the Medical Directory.

The family on Cumnock Connections tree

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Margaret Ramage Thorburn Gardner

Margaret Thorburn was born in Skares on the 15th May 1885, the daughter of William Thorburn and Elizabeth Burnside.

She married Robert Gardner of Kirkconnel in 1908. They had 2 children under 12 when she enrolled in the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps on 8 May 1918. She was 32 years old.

I was able to download her application from the National Archives for a small fee.

She was just over 5 ft tall and weighed 111lbs.   Her address was 100 Prestwick Road, Ayr and she gave her father William Thorburn, 128 Skares as her next of kin. She was working as an assistant. waitress. She was given the option to serve abroad or at home and she chose unsurprisingly home.

She had to submit references! She was educated at Garallan school 'til the age of 14. John B Wilson her former teacher gave her a reference. As did Mrs Mary Urquhart of 32 North Park Avenue, Ayr , the wife of a blacksmith with whom Margaret had been employed as a metal machinist. She had also been employed before her marriage by Mr D Thomson Auchinleck Road, Cumnock as a table maid and by Dr Roxburgh of Troon.

After training in Edinburgh, she was posted to Gailes Camp nr Irvine.

There is no further detail of her service.

The family emigrated to the USA and she died in San Francisco in 1954.

Cumnock Connections tree

Sunday, 6 August 2017

John Mckay MM

John McKay was born on the 9th December 1895 in Glengyron Row.
(I have a particular interest in him since his grandmother is Elizabeth McMeekin, making him a half first cousin once removed of my husband)

Supplement to London Gazette 23 Jul 1919,  Establishes that John McKay 240110 was from Cumnock.

Cumnock Chronicle Jan 1919

His service record does not survive but his medal roll card strangely does not mention MM.

But Ancestry assures me he was awarded it!
John McKay
Regimental Number240110
RegimentRoyal Scots Fusiliers
Battalion1/5th Battalion
MedalsMilitary Medal
Other RecordsJohn McKay - RoyalScotsFusiliers 240110

John married Jeanie Agnew Wilson in 1921 and died in Cumnock in 1980

John McKay on Cumnock Connections tree

Saturday, 5 August 2017

John Laurie MM

Born in Cumnock in 1887  John Laurie's Military Medal was announced in the Cumnock Chronicle of 3 May 1918.

He was the son of John Laurie a railway porter at the "old" station in Barrhill Road and Agnes Samson.

Son John also worked for the railway but was a fireman at Berryhill pit when he signed up in the Seaforth Highlanders (S/4001).  He was a Signaller Sergeant.

Cumnock Chronicle 3 May 1918

also in 1918
Found by Bobby Grierson, added Sep 2018

Medal Roll Card
He married Agnes Johnstone in 1919 and died at Gateside Cottage in Auchinleck on 21st August 1962. Was this the same Gateside Cottage his parents lived in in 1918?

Cumnock Connections tree