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.

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

James Watt Rodger

James Watt Rodger was born on the 30th June 1881 in Inverkeillor in Fife. He was a gardener. He married Mary Cochrane, from Penpont in Dumfriesshire, in Cumnock in 1905. She was the daughter of local draper William Cochrane. They had one daughter Margaret  (Madge Rodger) in 1907.

They lived in the house on Ayr Road called "Georgeville" which had been John Ballantine's photographic studio. It had a wonderful garden.

His army service record survives and he was an insurance agent and, elsewhere in the documents, a traveller.

He served in both the 2/4 Black Watch, no 7980 and the 14th A & SH. 

John died in 1954.

William Smith MM

William Smith was the son of William Smith and Janet McClymont, born in 1891 in New Cumnock. He was a gardener at Glaisnock House, Cloncaird Castle and Loch Fyne then Sundrum  and then a chauffeur.  He was awarded the MM in 1918.  Soon after, his brother George Smith was killed in the war.

John Campbell Smith

John Campbell Smith was a 32 year old  painter of Newark, New Jersey, USA when he enlisted in the RFA in Shoreditch on 4 Aug 1915. He was 5 ft 8 1/2 in with hazel eyes and auburn hair and a 35 and a 1/2 inch chest.
His next of kin was his mother Janet Smith of Waterside Row, Cumnock. He was born in Cumnock.
He served in France.
He was demobbed on 29 Oct 1919. He was of "very good character".
All this from his pension record.

He was born in Cumnock about 1883 the youngest son of Robert Smith and Janet Miller.

John Campbell Smith on the Cumnock Connections tree

James Dunsmore Bain

 James Dunsmore Bain brother of Joe Bain

James Bain was born in Cumnock in 1889 to Joseph Bain a coal miner and his wife Elizabeth Dunsmore.

His pension record survives. He enlisted very early on, on 27th August 1914, in Cumnock having been recruited by Sergeant John Sykes. He was 24 years and 10 months and a miner. He had previously served in the 5th Battalion, Royal Scots Fusiliers (RSF). However he was discharged after only 32 days, according to King’s Regulations because of a hernia.  He was 5 ft 7 in with brown hair and eyes.

His next of kin was his wife Violet (née) Wilson  whom he had married  in Cumnock on the 26th January 1912. Her address in 1914 was 7 Waterside Row. 

He was the brother of Joe Bain, a weel-kent figure in Cumnock.

James was married again in 1949 after Violet died to Elizabeth Cooper the widow of James Hamilton.

James died in Cumnock in 1976.

Birth Date
abt 1890
Birth Place
Old Cumnock, Ayrshire
Marriage Date
26 Jan 1913
Marriage Place
Old Cumnock
Document Year
Regimental Number
Regiment Name
Royal Scots Fusiliers
Form Title
Short Service Attestation
Number of Images
Other Records
James Bain - Self - Royal Scots Fusiliers 12263

Cumnock Connections tree

David McCowan Hill

The youngest son of former Cumnock Provost William Hill and his wife Jeanie McCowan, he was born at Hartfield Cottage in Ayr Road on 23 February 1889.

He was a Lieutenant in the Cyclist Corps of the KOSB in 1916

He married Mary Robson Spears in 1919 in Old or New Kilpatrick and died there in 1969.

He was awarded the OBE in

Cumnock Connections tree

John Hassan

John was born in Johnstone in 1879 in Johnstone, Renfrewshire to Henry Hassan and Helen Brogan. His father died when he was 6 and in 1891 census aged 11 he was in a Catholic Orphanage for Boys in the east end of Glasgow although his mother was still alive and living in Johnstone with 3 older children.

On the 12th April 1897 he enlisted in the Royal Scots Fusiliers at Kilmarnock, aged 17 years and 5 months.   He was living in Hurlford, Ayrshire and his occupation was bleacher. His (former?) employer was Adam Boyd of Lochwinnoch in Renfrewshire.  He was 5 ft 2 in had black hair and brown eyes.

He deserted in Glasgow in 1900 and rejoined in 1901. His trial was dispensed with but he suffered the same forfeitures  as if he had been convicted.  Then in 1904 he was charged in the civil courts with felony and sentenced to 56 days in prison after which he was discharged from the army.

He married Thomasina Thomson in Cumnock in 1908 and they had 2 children Henry in 1909 and Mary in 1915.

He was a tilework labourer in 1908 and 1911.

They lived in Garallan Row in 1911 at no. 26 and on army papers in 1915 at no. 5
He enlisted in April 1915 in the 6th Battalion of the Royal Scots Fusiliers when he was 35 years old.  He was employed as a fireman (in a mine).

He was posted missing after the Battle of Loos on 26 Sep 1915  but not officially declared dead until October 1916. Thomasina received a pension on 18/6 for herself and the 2 children from Jun 1916. Her address in November 1916 was 5 Townfoot.

He is not on Cumnock War memorial so perhaps Thomasina moved away from Cumnock soon afterwards.  She married Robert Cockburn Carson in 1918 and died in Glasgow in 1946


on CC tree

John Cameron

John Cameron was born in Glaisnock Street, Cumnock on 28th November 1885.

He was a stonemason and worked on the construction of the Crichton West Church.

He married Agnes McCall in 1908

They emigrated to Canada with her brother in 1911.

He enlisted in the CEF in Vancouver on the 4th January 1916 when he was 30 years  and 2 months old. He had sandy hair and blue eyes and was 5 ft 8 in.

He died in Vancouver in 1939.

Cumnock Connections

William Hillhouse Purdie

William Hillhouse Purdie was born in Cumnock in 1888 and named after his maternal grandfather. His parents were James Purdie a saddler and Elizabeth Hillhouse daughter of William Hillhouse a tailor in Ochiltree. Sadly his mother Elizabeth died in 1890 leaving father James with 4 small children.

In the 1891 census his father is living in Townhead street with his mother in law and a niece helping out
1891 census
James Purdie 38 saddler
Jeanie Purdie 8
Adam Purdie 6
Jessie Purdie 4
Wm Purdie 2
Jeanie Blackburn 50
Lizzie J Dunbar 21

In 1896 James marries again to a widow Mrs Isabella Granger who had a fancy goods shop in Glaisnock Street. Her husband Andrew a tobacconist had died age 28 leaving her with 2 daughters Hannah and Jessie.

William enlisted in the local regiment the 1/5th Royal Scots Fusiliers.  He died on the 18th September 1915 of dysentery aboard the HMS Aquitania while serving in Gallipoli.

His father, stepmother and sisters Jeanie and Jessie all received payments in his will.

He is remembered on Patna war memorial and on the Helles Memorial in Turkey.

Cumnock Connections tree


George Welsh Murray

George Murray was born in Cumnock in 1893 to draper David Murray and his wife Grace Welsh.

His service record survives and shows he enlisted  on the  4th September 1914 age 21 in the General Service Corps. He was an engineer. He was recruited by J Dykes and Dr McQueen passed him fit so service.

He was 5ft 7in with grey eyes and brown hair.

He transferred to the RSF and in 1915 it was reported in the Chronicle that he had been slightly wounded on the face and left hand.

He was later transferred to the RSC in November 1917.

He married Mary McMillan on the 14th November 1916 in Glasgow and they had a son David in 1918.

Cumnock Connections Tree

Ronald C Bain

Private Robert Ronald Cochrane Bain (known as Ronald) was the eldest son of Cumnock born George Bain. His mother Jean Sturrock was from Kilmarnock.  He was born in London in 1892.

An announcement of his death and an obituary was printed in the Cumnock Chronicle of 15 Sep 1916.

He had been missing since the battle of Loos 25-26 September 1915 but not declared dead until September the following year.

He had worked for a time for his uncle Marcus Bain at Ballochmyle Quarriers. 

This is his entry on Ruvigny's roll of honour. (Think his birthdate is a year out)

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

William Earl MM

Born in Cumnock on 13 December 1897, William had moved to Glasgow by the 1901 census.

His regimental number was 200351 in the 7th HLI and he previously served with the 5th HLI no. 1820.

He married Agnes Ferguson in Glasgow 1923 and died in 1959.

He is a nephew of Nurse Agnes Kerr Earl.