The launch of the Trail

The War Memorial was designed by Alexander N. Paterson, a Helensburgh architect (and President of the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland, 1920–22), and paid for by public subscription. It was unveiled by Miss A. L. Guthrie Smith on 6 April 1924. The back of the Memorial carries a verse specially written by the then minister, Dr Gordon Mitchell:

Far spread the graves that
shrine the glorious dust
of them whose names these
stones receive in trust.
Grant them O Lord thy
Sabbath’s peace divine
and let thy light for ever
on them shine.

Three names, Aitken, Barclay and Wilson, were taken from the War Memorial and used to provide names for the three new roads in the Buchanan Views estate, completed in 2019.

There has been much recent research undertaken on the names of those listed on the Memorial. The All Killearn Archive has provided brief biographies of all those named on the War Memorial. A series of articles in the Killearn Courier tell more of village and the First World War (opens pdf, 27MB). Further articles on both wars can be found here.

First World War

Walter Aitken was born on 18 August 1897, the son of Walter and Elizabeth Aitken, Townfoot, Killearn. His father was a shoemaker. Elizabeth later married Thomas Smith following the death of Walter senior.

Walter was employed as a postman in Killearn before he enlisted in the 9th Battalion, Scottish Rifles. He served in France for over 14 months and died of wounds on 23 September 1917, after being less seriously wounded in April. He is buried in Lussenthoek Military Cemetery.

George Battison was born in 1895, the son of George Battison Senior, a stone mason, and his wife Annie. He enlisted as a Private on 16 December 1915. At that time, he was described as a ‘General County Builder – Stonemason’, working for his father.

He joined the Royal Engineers acting as a bricklayer and was later attached to the 7th Battalion, the York and Lancashire Regiment. He went to France on 14 September 1917. Though wounded on 16 October 1917, he remained on duty. He was killed on 23 October 1917 and is buried in Talana Farm Cemetery near Ypres.

Robert Carr was born on 6 or 7 February 1882 and is shown in the 1901 census as a 19-year-old grocer’s van man. He was the son of David and Annie Carr who lived at Blacklands.

He enlisted in the Cameron Highlanders on 13 October 1914 but was discharged due to knee problems. At that time, he was described as a general labourer. He re-enlisted in the Gordon Highlanders on 21 April 1915, possibly after an operation. He was then living at Home Farm, Thornhill, Dumfries with his uncle James Aitken. His parents were by now dead but his brother David was living at 42 Dundas Street, Glasgow and he had three surviving sisters.

He was posted to active service on 14 July 1915 and killed in action on 25 September 1915. He has no known grave but is commemorated on the Loos Memorial and also on the family grave.

Alexander Dobbie was born in 1886, the son of David Dobbie, a road surfaceman, and Janet Dobbie of Stockiemuir Road, Killearn. In the 1901 census he was listed as an apprentice gardener. At the time of enlisting, he was working at Pollok House in Glasgow. He originally served in the Cameron Highlanders, but transferred to the Gordon Highlanders.

He was killed on 13 October 1918 and is buried in the Vadencourt British Cemetery.

The memorial tankard awarded to his family as a mark of his service is displayed in the village history cabinets in the Village Hall.

William George Edmonstone was born in Edinburgh on 20 October 1896, the son of Sir Archibald Edmonstone and Ida Agnes Edmonstone of Duntreath. He was educated at Eton and entered the Special Reserve of Officers for the Coldstream Guards in April 1915.

He was killed in action by an exploding shell during the Battle of the Somme on 15 September 1916 at the age of 19, and is buried in Guards Cemetery, Lesboeufs, France.

Lance Corporal Walter Fairlie was the only son of David Fairlie, butcher (who died in 1904), and his wife Margaret of Blairessan, Killearn. He was born around 1895 and educated at Killearn Public School, Glasgow High School (where he was a member of the Cadet Corps) and Skerry’s College, Glasgow. He taught at Sunday School classes. Walter was employed as a clerk by the Liverpool, London & Globe Assurance Co. in Glasgow.

He enlisted as a Private into the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders on 26 May 1917 and was drafted to France on 10 August. Appointed a Lance Corporal on 26 September 1917, he died of wounds, at the age of 22, on 20 October 1917 after a shell made a direct hit on his dugout. He is buried in the Level Crossing Cemetery at Fampoux and also commemorated on the family grave in Killearn Old Churchyard.

Peter Gordon was born in 1881 in Rothiemurchus, Inverness-shire, the son of Nathanial and Mary Gordon. His father was a joiner and was working as an estate joiner in Killearn in the 1901 census. Peter was an apprentice gardener in Killearn at that time. The family lived in Blacklands Terrace, Killearn (later demolished to build the Council Houses between Well Green and the current  Co-op store) and were involved in the building of Auchenibert.

Peter was a Private in the 2nd Battalion, the Scots Guards. He died of wounds on 25 October 1918 and is buried in the Mount Houn Military Cemetery at Le Treport. As he lay injured in hospital in France his father was telegraphed to go to see him but he could not make travel arrangements in time.

Signaller William Jenkinson, was born on 21 September 1893 in Leith, the son of Christina Jenkinson of Kirkhouse, Killearn and Alexander Maitland Jenkinson. William was employed as a telegraph operator and booking clerk by the North British Railway Company for seven years before he enlisted.

William enlisted on his 21st birthday, 21 September 1914, and served with the 1st Battalion, Grenadier Guards. Mobilized to France in March 1915, he was granted leave twice during his period of active service. He survived a minor bullet wound during service, but was then killed in action on 30 July 1917 at the age of 23. He is buried in Dunhallow ADS Cemetery in Ypres, Belgium and commemorated on the family grave in Killearn Old Churchyard.

John Johnstone was a Sergeant in the Black Watch. He was born in 1897 in Fintry. In the 1901 census his surname was given as Walker and he was living with his mother Mary, aged 32, and his stepfather James Johnstone, a labourer aged 61, at Clockburn, Balglass.

John was reported missing in action and declared dead on 21 March 1918. He has no known grave but is commemorated on the Arras memorial.

Henry McCuaig Lamont was the son of a sailor and was born at Port Ellen, Islay, on 16 April 1888. He was educated at Kinning Park Public School in Glasgow and joined the Royal Scots on 30 October 1905 at the age of 18. Serving for seven years, he then passed into the Reserve and worked for the GPO as a post-messenger in Killearn. He rejoined his regiment at the outbreak of war and was posted to France.

Killed in action at the Battle of La Cataeu on 26 August 1914, he was the first person named on our memorial to be killed. He has no known grave but is remembered on the La Ferte-Sous-Jouarre Memorial.

Hugh Lennie was born in Killearn on 21 September 1878, the son of Mrs Janet McKellar Lennie of Drumore Cottage. In 1916 he had been living in Portland, Oregon, USA, working as a labourer. On 28 December that year he volunteered for service with the 191st Overseas Battalion, the Canadian Over-Seas Expeditionary Force in Calgary.

He served as a Private in the Canadian Infantry (Alberta Regiment). He was killed in action on 10 August 1918 and has no known grave but is commemorated on the Vimy Memorial.

Thomas Mackie served in the Highland Light Infantry. He has not been definitively identified but is believed to have served in the 18th Battalion. He was born in Ayr around 1897 and resident in Newarthill, Lanarkshire at the time of his death. His link to Killearn is unknown.

He died of wounds in France on 15 May 1916 and is buried in the St. Sever Cemetery, Rouen.

Andrew Marshall was born in Killearn in 1893, the eldest son of William Marshall, a carter, and Annie Marshall of Easterton, Dumgoyne. He was educated in Strathblane and at 14 entered the employment of John McGowan, Killearn Mill, to learn the trade of a sawyer. Subsequently, he was employed at Ballikinrain sawmills clearing timber on the estate. He enlisted in August 1915 serving as a Private with the Highland Light Infantry.

He was killed on 2 December 1917 after serving in France for a little over five months. Andrew Marshall has no known grave and is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Cemetery Memorial Tablet.

David Marshall was born in Croftamie around 1891. He was the son of David Marshall, a road surfaceman, and Agnes Marshall (later Campbell, on her remarriage to a gardener). He was employed as a gardener, sang in the church choir and played the violin. His sister Elizabeth served as a Matron in a military hospital in France.

He enlisted on 18 November 1914 into the King’s Own Scottish Borderers and was transferred to the Machine Gun Corps on 18 May 1916 at the age of 25. He arrived in France on 24 July 1916 and was appointed Lance Corporal in March 1917. He was killed in action on 23 August 1917 and is buried in Tyne Cot Cemetery.

Hugh McCallum was born around 1895, the son of Hugh and Catherine McCallum and brother of Peter McCallum. He enlisted on 24 November 1915 and was appointed to the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. Before enlisting he had been working as a labourer for Glasgow Corporation Water Department.

He travelled to France on 23 June 1916 and was attached to the 2nd Battalion, the Gordon Highlanders after qualifying as a Lewis Gunner. He was appointed acting Corporal on 18 October 1917 and was killed in action on 26 October 1917. He is buried in Hooge Crater Cemetery and is remembered on the family grave in Gartmore.

Peter McCallum was born in Balfron on 1 June 1893, the son of Hugh and Catherine McCallum and brother of Hugh McCallum. He was educated at Auchentroig School and moved to Canada. From there, he volunteered for service with the Canadian Over-Seas Expeditionary Force in Winnipeg, Canada on 21 December 1914 at the age of 21 years.

He was wounded in the hand in France in June 1915. After recovering, he returned to France and was attached to the 17th Rifle Battalion. He was seriously wounded again in April 1917 at Vimy Ridge. On this occasion he suffered shrapnel wounds to his left shoulder and lung, and his father visited him in hospital in England. He was discharged in Winnipeg on 11 April 1918 as medically unfit for further service.

Coming back to Killearn in January 1919, he worked until June as a water gauger for Glasgow Corporation (Water Department). He died on 21 August 1919, in Drumtian Cottage, of a heart condition. He is buried in the family grave in Gartmore where the inscription states he died of wounds received in action. The stone also commemorates his brother, Hugh.

Archibald Sanderson McLaren joined up on 30 May 1917 at the age of 21 years. He was a gardener living at Donald Cottage, Dumgoyne and was the son of James, a quarryman. His next of kin at that time was listed as Mrs Catherine McLellan, his aunt, of Dualt Cottage, Dumgoyne Station.

Archibald was a Private in the Gordon Highlanders. He was posted to France on 21 August 1917. He was reported missing on 21 March 1918 and later confirmed killed on 25 March 1918. In total he served for 296 days. He is buried in the Beaulencourt British Cemetery, Ligny-Thilloy. He is also remembered on the family grave in Killearn Old Cemetery.

John McLean was the son of Joseph McLean of Dalnair Kennels, Drymen Station, and his first wife, Janet. He was brought up in Govan by his father’s sister and brother-in-law, as his mother died shortly after he was born in 1894. He was the half-brother of William McLean. Before the war he was a ploughman. He enlisted as a Private in the 10th Battalion, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders on 14 August 1914.

He went to France on 11 May 1915 and came home on leave once from 29 November to 7 December 1915. He was killed in action on 10 September 1916 at the age of 22. He is buried in Villers Station Cemetery, Villers-au-Bois. At the time of his death the family home was Greystone Cottage, Ballikinrain.

William McLean was born in 1898 the son of Joseph McLean of Dalnair Kennels, Drymen Station, and his second wife, Catherine. He was the half-brother of John Mclean. He was living at Greystone Cottage, Ballikinrain when he enlisted on 2 October 1915.

Serving as a Private in the 7th Battalion, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, he was deployed to France on 10 May 1916. He died of wounds on 5 December 1916 and is buried in Ovillers  Military Cemetery.

Kenneth Steven Miller was born on 22 March 1894, the son of Dr Robert Gibson Miller whose address was given as 10 Newton Place, Glasgow but who also owned Kilmorie in Killearn. He was educated at Glasgow Academy and Merchiston in Edinburgh, where he was a member of the OTC. He volunteered for service on 2 November 1914 at the age of 20. At that time, he was a medical student.

He initially served as a Private in the 17th Battalion, the Highland Light Infantry. He was commissioned on 15 April 1915 and promoted to Lieutenant  in the 4th Battalion, Cameron Highlanders (Scottish Rifles) on 1 April 1917. After he received a gunshot wound to his right leg in July 1916 he was invalided home. On 22 January 1917, he reported fit for duty again .

He was reported wounded and missing on 1 August 1917. On 13 February 1918, as no further information had been received, his name was put forward for presumption of death. He has no known grave but is commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial and also on the family grave in Killearn Old Churchyard.

William Morrison was born in Blacklands, Killearn on 15 February 1897. He was the son of William Grieve Morrison, a merchant in Killearn, and his wife Jeanie of Teighness, Killearn. Educated at Killearn Public School and the Boy’s High School in Glasgow, he intended to enter a career in business but volunteered for service soon after the outbreak of war.

He joined the Royal Engineers KK Cable Section on 23 September 1914. He served in the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force throughout the Gallipoli Campaign. He then went on to Egypt and Palestine, where he took part in many engagements. He died on 16 October 1918 in the No. 32 Casualty Clearing Station, Beirut, aged 21, from malaria contracted while on active service. He is buried in Beirut and commemorated on the family grave in Killearn Old Cemetery.

Captain Ernest Pellew Orr-Ewing was born at South Lodge, Ayr, on 29 January 1883, the second son of Sir Archibald Orr-Ewing, Bt., of Ballikinrain and his wife Mabel, a daughter of the third Viscount Sidmouth.

He was educated at Eton, and in 1903 received a commission in the Scots Guards. After six years’ service with the regiment, he retired and spent five years in Argentina and British Columbia. On the outbreak of war, he returned to England and was gazetted to his old regiment, the Scots Guards, in February 1915.

During the Battle of the Somme, he was killed in action at the head of his Company on 15 September 1916. He is buried in the Guards Cemetery, Lesboeufs, France.

William Paterson was born on 12 December 1888 at Arlehaven on the Duntreath Estate. His father was Alexander Paterson, a gamekeeper, and his mother was Isabella Paterson. By the 1911 census the family was living in Bridge Cottage, Killearn and William was a grocer’s van-man.

William joined the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders and was transferred to the 51st Highland Division in March 1916. He took part in the Battle of the Ancre, part of the Battle of the Somme, in November 1916 and was killed on 16 November. He has no known grave but is commemorated on Thiepval Memorial, France (Memorial for the missing of the Somme).

John Topping Sanderson was the son of the Revd Hugh Sanderson, Minister of the Free Kirk in Killearn. He was described as a student when he enlisted as a Private into the 3rd Battalion , the Highland Light Infantry on 19 October 1914, at the age of 23. On 12 December 1914, he obtained a Commission in 7th Battalion, Border Regiment.

He was killed in action in Belgium on 12 December 1915. He is buried in the Menin Road South Military Cemetery and commemorated on a family grave in Killearn Old Cemetery. A book of his, Selected Prose by Oscar Wilde, is on display in the village history cabinets in the Village Hall.

His brother, Hugh Wilson Sanderson, served with the Australian forces and survived the war. His sister, Barbara Miller Sanderson served as a nurse.

John Scott was born in Fintry in 1892, the son of  Archibald and Margaret Scott of Mill of Glenboig. His father was an estate forester.

He enlisted as a Gunner in the Royal Field Artillery at Falkirk, possibly when he was living at Bonnybridge. He was on active service for two years and four months, and died of influenza at the age of 26 years and 10 months on 14 November 1918. He is buried in Caudry British Cemetery.

Herbert Ernest Sporton was born in Clerkenwell, London, in 1887, the son of Henry Sporton, a wheelwright and coach painter, and Ellen Sporton. He served in the 1st Battalion, the Cameron Highlanders for five years but had purchased his discharge on 16 July 1913 following his marriage to Beatrice Wilkie on 26 March 1913 at Maryhill.

In January 1915 he rejoined the armed forces as a Private in the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. At that time, he was working as a postman and living in Main Street, Killearn. He was appointed Acting Corporal in December 1915, Acting Sergeant in January 1916 and promoted to Sergeant the same month. He was posted to France in February 1917. He was further promoted to Acting Company Sergeant-Major on 24 April 1917 but relinquished the rank on 11 August that year. He was killed on 26 November 1917 at the Battle of Cambrai. He has no known grave but is commemorated on the Cambrai Memorial.

James Valentine was born in Lunan Bay, Forfarshire in 1889, the son of David, a farm grieve, and Catherine. He was employed as Head Gardener to Colonel Blackburn, Killearn House, for about two years. He married Elizabeth McFadyen of Motherwell while living in Killearn.

He served as a Private in the 2nd Battalion, the Royal Scots. He was on active service in France for only about two weeks. He died four days after receiving a head wound in Flanders on 28 October 1916, aged 28. He is buried at Dernacourt Communal Cemetery Extension.

David Wilson was born on 16 September 1897 at Carbeth House, the eldest son of David Wilson of Carbeth and his wife, Susan. He was educated at Harrow.

He joined up as a Private but obtained a commission as 2nd Lieutenant in the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders in April 1916. He served with the 3rd Battalion at Dreghorn, Midlothian, until October 1916 when he joined the 2nd Battalion in France.

He was wounded by a shell burst outside the Headquarters dugout on 27 December and died in the 34th Casualty Clearing Station the following evening, aged only 19. He is buried in the Grove Town Cemetery, Meaulte and commemorated on a family grave in Killearn Old Cemetery.

Second World War

Frederick Barclay served as a Sergeant in the Reconnaissance Corps (RECCE Corps), part of the Royal Army Corps. Little is known about his work due to its clandestine nature. He was 22 when he died, on 16 September 1941, but it is not known how or where he died.

John Broomilow was a Captain in the 2nd Battalion, the Kings Own Scottish Borderers. He was 27 when he died, on 28 January 1944,  but we have no further information at present.

James Lovat Fraser was a Lieutenant in the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve and served in a Motor Torpedo Boat Unit. He joined the Clyde Division of the RNVR in 1938 and saw service in Malta, Gosport and Felixstowe. He died from wounds received in action off the Dutch Coast at the age of 23 on 18 April 1943.

Duncan K McCuaig was a Flight Lieutenant in the RAF Photographic Reconnaissance Unit and received the DFC (Distinguished Flying Cross) for his actions. He was killed on 28 September 1944 when his Spitfire was shot down over Germany and his parachute failed to open. His plane was not discovered until the 1990s and shortly after this, his grave was also identified. He was 24 when he died leaving a two-year-old daughter, Karen.

Eric N McCuaig was a Flight Sergeant in the RAF and elder brother of Duncan. Before the outbreak of war, he had been a promising actor and playwright and had won a scholarship to RADA. His plane was shot down during the Dieppe landings in August 1942. He was picked up alive in the English Channel but died of his wounds on board ship on 19 August and was buried at sea. He was 23 when he died.