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William McMillan Black

SRoH.         Captain William McMillan Black.
Son of the late Rev. W. M. Black, minister of Anwoth.
Enlisted 1901, 3rd Royal Scots Fusiliers (Militia).
Commissioned 1902, 2nd Royal Scots Fusiliers, stationed in South Africa.     Transferred to Indian Army in 1903, and received his captaincy in 1911.
Served on Western Front with 58th Vaughan’s Rifles (Frontier Force) as Adjutant of the Regiment.     Killed in action 31st October 1914.

Anwoth & Girthon War Memorial, Gatehouse : Wm. McM. Black Capt./Adjt. Indian Army.

Anwoth Church Memorial:  Capt. Wm McM  Black       Vaughan’s Rifles I.A.

Edinburgh Academy Roll of Honour : a plaque outside the gymnasium built to commerorate former pupils :    Black W.M.

Mentioned in Despatches 17th Feb.1915 for ‘gallant and distinguished service in the field.’

Entered in De Ruvigny’s Roll of Honour Vol 2

Anwoth Old Kirkyard: ‘...and of his family by his second wife, William Macmillan Black, their eldest son, Capt. & Adjut. 58 Vaughan’s Rifles F.F. Indian Army, born 12 Sept 1883, fell in action near Festubert 31 Oct. 1914, buried at Bethune, France ........’
Father : Rev. William Macmillan Black (Minister of Anwoth for almost 26 years)
Mother : Amy Greenshields of Singapore

CWGC: Captain William McMillan Black of 58th Vaughan Rifles.
Died 31st Oct. 1914 at Festubert (aged 31).  Buried Bethune Town Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France. (Grave - I.A.7).
Parents :  Rev. William McMillan Black & Amy Black née Greenshields.

Military Records : following entry ex Indian Army Quarterly List of January 1st 1912.
Black, William McMillan : Birth Date, 12th Sep 1883.     First Comm. 7th May 1902.     Rank: Captain 7th Nov.1911.     Company: British Officers of the Indian Army : 58 Rifles.

1891 Anwoth census, at Anwoth Manse, William M. Black (7, born Anwoth) with father William McMillan Black (Minister of Anwoth) and mother Amy Black & 3 siblings.

1901 Edinburgh Census, at a Boarding House for Edinburgh Academy, Wm McM. Black aged 17 born Anwoth. : Birth 12th Sept. 1883 at Anwoth Manse to William Black & Amy Greenshields.
Note from a family website: William’s father died in Montreal, Canada in 1901 while visiting a relative.

Edinbugh Academy School Register : Attended the school between 1897 and 1901. While serving with the army in India he was based at Quetta, Baluchistan.

Edinbugh Academy School Chronicle : Whilst at school 'he was a very keen member of his school-house, and did good service in the XV and Gym. VIII'
His interest in the military was stimulated by the Boer War and he 'concentrated his whole attention on an army career and worked most zealously, gaining a commission from the Militia in the R.S. Fusiliers'
'He was calm and fearless and found in the army a true vocation.'
'With his dark hair and white set face he always gave one the impression of having a deep reserve of quiet force and courage'
'Willie Black died, as he had lived, sans peur et sans reproche.'
The Chronicle also reports a letter from a brother-officer to William's mother telling her how her son had died: His company had been ordered to re-take a trench in the early hours of the morning. William had crawled forward to reconnoitre the ground. He was spotted and shot by the Germans as he was returning to report his findings. He died instantly, having been shot through the heart.
He was described as 'marvellously cool and plucky.....and (he) met his death in a very dangerous but necessary piece of work.'
By coincidence the next report in The Chronicle is the death of W.G. Hewitt - also a Gatehouse soldier.
1915 Index of Wills & Administrations, England and Wales National Probate Calendar: William McMillan Black of Ferozepore in India, Captain in His Majesty's Indian Army, died 31 October 1914 in France on active service. Administration (with will) London 21 April to Amy Black, widow. Effects £469 9s 5d.    [N.B. Amy Black must have been William’s mother, not his wife – we have no information about a marriage].

William's brother Norman Scott Black was also a soldier.

Gatehouse link : Born and lived in Anwoth.

Newspaper cutting of William McMillan Black.     William Black in uniform.     The Edinburgh Academy Gymnasium built to commemorate former pupils who died in World War I.     Detail from The Edinburgh Academy memorial.

James Boyd

SRoH.      No reference in Stewartry Roll of Honour.       But he was listed in the RoH First Instalment published by Kirkcudbrightshire Advertiser on 25th December 1914.     James Boyd 5th King’s Own Scottish Borderers.

Thomas Broadfoot

SRoH.      No reference in Stewartry Roll of Honour.       Thomas Broadfoot was identified from a search for the word ‘Gatehouse’ in military records on

Military Records : Private 8960 Scots Guards       Enlisted May 1914 in Glasgow.
Born Gatehouse.   Age 19 years 104 days.
Occupation:  Miner (coal) Height: 5’9’’ Weight 135lbs declared fit to serve.
Fresh complexion, blue eyes, fair hair. Several scars on his body. Presbyterian.
Discharged 28/05/1914 after serving at home for 20 days. No reason given.
Father: John Broadfoot 1B William Street, Shettleston.
He had an older brother William and 2 younger brothers James & David.

1901 Sanquhar census : at 19 Queensberry Square, Thomas Broadfoot (born c.1894 Renton, Kirkcudbrightshire – probably Rainton Farm in Girthon – with father John (coal hewer), mother Jane (from Borgue), 2 sisters and a younger brother James, plus a step brother William Crosbie (born 1893).

Note: Renton should maybe read Rainton, a farm in Girthon Parish.

Scotlands People :
1894 marriage John Broadfoot & Jane Crosbie at Girthon - Thomas' parents.
1895 birth Thomas Broadfoot

Gatehouse link : Military attestation papers say he was born in Gatehouse.

William Bryan

SRoH.      No reference in Stewartry Roll of Honour.       William Bryan was identified from a search for the word ‘Gatehouse’ in military records on

Military Records : Service No. 3181647.
Acting L/Corporal 5th King’s Own Scottish Borderers.
Born 09/11/1892.      Nationality ‘Scotch’ & both parents were ‘Scotch’.
Served previously in 5th KOSB’s as a Private – No. 1137 (enlisted 12/12/1912).    Transferred to 5th Highland Light Infantry (Reserves) in 1917 – No 350259 as Acting L/Corporal.
With B.E.F. in 1917.   In 83 General Hospital, Boulogne & later Redhill War Hospital with severe nephritis in 1918.      Invalided out on 22/10/1918.     Re-enlisted as a Private with 5th Battalion KOSB’s in 1922 and discharged 26/02/1923
Described as 5’5½’’ tall with grey eyes and brown hair.    Presbyterian religion.
Wife: Martha McGarva (Scotch).      Married 05/06/1914 at Kirkmabreck.
Child: William James Bryan born 02/12/1919 at Gatehouse, baptised 18/01/1920
Occupation in 1912 given as mason’s labourer, in 1918 as forester.

1891 Anwoth Census : Maggie J Bryan (25 yr old dressmaker, b.Anwoth) with parents William Bryan (50 yr old joiner, b.Girthon) and Agnes (55 yr old b.Kelton).

1901 Anwoth census, Fleet Street : William Bryan (born Gatehouse c.1891) with mother Maggie Janet (34 yr old dressmaker, b.Gatehouse) and grand-parents William (61 yr old joiner, b. Gatehouse) and Agnes (65 yr old, b.Castle Douglas).

1911 Girthon census, Catherine Street : William Bryan (19, general labourer, born Anwoth) with mother Margaret J. and grandfather William Bryan (joiner).

N.B. Photo of William Bryan is from a 1908 Gatehouse Grasshoppers football team.

Gatehouse link : Born and lived in Gatehouse.

William Bryan playing for Gatehouse Grasshoppers in 1908.

Alexander Bryson

SRoH : Bryson, Alexander, 2nd Lieutenant, Rotchell Park, Maxwelltown. Enlisted December 1914 Canadian Scottish. Transferred to 7/8th K.O.S.B.. Served on Western Front. Promoted from the ranks. Died of wounds received near Ypres.

Dumfries War Memorial inscription: (Under K.O.S.B.) 2nd Lt. A. Bryson

Dumfries Academy Memorial inscription: (Under K.O.S.B.)  Bryson, Alex. 2/Lt

Buried : Lijjsentheok Military Cemetery, Belgium. Plot XIII.A.13
A cross was erected with inscription  'greater love hath no man than this''

CWGC: Bryson, Alexander 2nd Lt., 7th/8th Bn. Kings Own Scottish Borderers. (Died) 25th June 1917. Age 29. Son of Alexander and Georgina Bryson of Castramont, Rotchell park, Dumfries.

Canadian Great War Project :
2nd Lieut. Alex Bryson died June 25 1917.
Reg. No. 420373. 7/8th Battalion Kings Own Scottish Borderers.
Born Gate House of Fleet, Scotland. Date of birth - July 7 1887.
Next of kin - Alexander Bryson, father, Rotchell Park, Dumfries.
Single. Trade - chartered accountant.
Enlisted at Winnipeg, Manitoba Jan 5, 1915.
Age 27   Height 5'5''   Church of England   Served in Europe
Died of wounds June 25 1917 aged 30.
Buried Lijjsentheok Military Cemetery, Belgium. Plot XIII.A.13

Left Canadian Army when he received an Imperial Commission March 12 1917.
Son of Alexander Bryson & Georgina Bryson, Castramont, Rotchell Park, Dumfries.

1891 Dumfries Census, at 65 Irish Street: Alexander Bryson (age 3, born Gatehouse) with parents Alexander (wine & spirit dealer) and Georgina and 4 siblings.  The family must have moved to Dumfires about 1890 as their youngest child William J. was born there.

1901 Troqueer census at Castramont: Alexander Bryson (age 13, born Gatehouse) was with his parents Alexander (wine merchant) and Georgina and 4 siblings.

1911 Carlisle Census: Alexander Bryson (age 23, born Kirkcudbrightshire, Gatehouse of Fleet) was a boarder with the Woolonghan family. He was single and a chartered accountant.

Dumfries & Galloway Standard 27th June 1917: Dumfries Officer wounded. Lieutenant A. Bryson K.O.S.B., 2nd son of Alexander Bryson, Castramont, Maxwelltown, ex Dean of Guild of Dumfries, has been dangerously wounded on the western battle front, and was admitted on Saturday to the 10th clearing station. He received a shell wound in the throat, and the shell also caused  (a) compound fracture of the left thigh. The gallant officer, who is in his thirtieth year, is by profession a chartered accountant. He was for some time with the eminent London firm of Sir W. P. Peat & Co., then he went to Canada, in the employment of an allied firm, and received the appointment of internal auditor for the city of Prince Albert. He joined the Canadian Cameronians at Christmas 1914. After being in France for a year with the colonial troops, he received a commission in the Borderers, and joined one of their battalions on the western front several months ago.

Dumfries & Galloway Standard 30th June 1917: Lieutenant Bryson Dies of Wounds. Mr Alexander Bryson, Castramont, Maxwelltown, received a second telegram on Thursday, informing him that his second son, Lieutenant A. Bryson, K.O.S.B., died on Monday at the 10th Clearing Station, to which he had been admitted the day before, suffering from dangerous shell wounds to the throat and thigh.

Birth certificate: parish of Girthon, Alexander Bryson, 1887, July seventh at Angel Hotel, Gatehouse. Father Alexander Bryson, inn keeper. Mother Georgina Bryson m.s. Armstrong. They married September 21st 1878 at Carlisle.

The Bryson family owned the Angel Hotel in Gatehouse between 1874 and 1895.

Gatehouse link: Born in Gatehouse but left when young.

Alexander Bryson on Dumfries War Memorial

Key to Sources

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