War Memorial History

World War I Home Front Legacy 1914-1918.

Details of this project was shared at a meeting held in Haddington on Saturday 19th March 2016. The significance of the Drill Hall as a Recruiting Station was already spotted from the investigation of the missing names on the War Memorial in The Memorial Park. While the Royal Scots were the main Regiment using the Drill Hall ( erected in 1874 for use by No. 5 (East Linton) Company of the Haddington Rifle Volunteers formed in 1860), other units were also based there. e.g.1/10th (Cyclist) Battalion Territorial Force
04.08.1914 Stationed at Linlithgow and then moved to East Linton as part of the Coast Defences at North Berwick.
In April 1918 this unit moved to Ireland and were stationed at Claremorris, Curragh & Port Arlington.
A Rifle range may have been established on Phantassie estate off the Braehead Road to Hailes before WW1 but Tom Middlemass remembers his father telling him that trenches were dug on Markle Mains farmland at Pencraig Hill as part of a training exercise.

Anniversary of the First World War. A Preparatory Study on the missing Names from the War Memorial in East Linton.

Planning events to mark the declaration of War in 1914 are now being undertaken in several communities across the U. K. The background to the erection of the War Memorial in East Linton has recently been investigated. We now know;
1. A meeting was held in East Linton on the 5th February 1919 to consider options for a Memorial to those from the Burgh and the Parish who had fallen in the war. While the minute of that meeting has not been located, a report in the minutes of the Burgh Council indicates that various schemes had been suggested including
a. A public park.
b. An Institute.
c. A monument.
d. A fund, the income of which would be annually applied for the benefit of the Burgh and Parish.
2. On the 11th February, the Burgh Council agreed to approach the agents of the Mitchell Innes family of Phantassie estate to sell 5.139 acres of the School Park as a memorial park where a War Memorial could be erected. Meantime other schemes were to be kept open.
3. At a meeting held on 12th March 1919, it was agreed to accept the offer of the owners to sell 5.139 acres of the School Park at a price of £375 and to report to a public meeting on the 25th March.
4. Arrangements for raising the money were agreed at a meeting on 8th April. The former Burgh was divided into eight areas for a door to door collection and circulars send to other areas in the Parish.
5. On the 26th May, it was reported that £307 8/- had been subscribed. £200 was to be allocated for a War Memorial which had to be enclosed with “an unclimbable fence.” Five men agreed to give loans on an interest free basis to allow the purchase to proceed.
It now seems certain that the minutes of the local committee are lost. In her book Remembrance and Community: War Memorials and Local History published in 2013 by the British Association of Local History, Kate Tiller notes that the memorials erected after 1918 are far from uniform and that they were locally funded and locally decided projects by local committees. She adds for a variety of reasons, the names listed may prove to be incomplete or contain mistakes.

Subject to final checking, the names of fifty one men who died as a consequence of World War 1 and who had a local connection with the Parish of Prestonkirk can now be identified. Thirty- eight of the men are listed on the Memorial in the Park. Forty seven are listed on a memorial in Prestonkirk Church. Four of the names listed within the thirty-eight names on the Memorial in the Memorial Park are listed in the Memorial in the Kirk. However, one man is listed on the Park Memorial under his birth name and is listed at Prestonkirk under his adopted family name.

It is possible that some of the men whose names are missing enrolled at the East Lothian Drill Hall which has been described as a “War Station” when it was used by the Highland Cyclist Battalion before it moved to St Andrews in August 1916. However, no definite criteria for their exclusion has been found to date.

There are three Rolls of honour for those who served from the Parish and all these are now displayed in Prestonkirk church. The names listed appear to be incomplete. Two of them were compiled by R S Noble RSA who died in 1917 before the final year of the war. The information they contain is invaluable and photographs of them have been placed on this web site.
The minutes of the Burgh Council advise that a report was sent to the Duke of Atholl. This would appear to link with his role in planning the Scottish National War Memorial at Edinburgh Castle. Comparison between the revised list for East Linton men who died as a consequence of the war with those listed at Edinburgh Castle has still to be undertaken. A further report will be made as the research proceeds. In Kate Tiller’s words,

There is much to research and much to tell, both in recognising the original intentions of those who created the memorials and in preserving and reflecting on them in the present.

David Affleck

East Linton 9th June 2014

Update at 7th August 2014.

Prestonkirk Graveyard.

A list of the fifty one local men who died in the First World War . It follows after this image of the Roll of Honour from the former St. Andrews Free Church of Scotland.

There are six actual graves in the graveyard at Prestonkirk which are maintained by the Commonwealth War Grave Commission and listed on their data base. Only four of these are listed on the Memorial in the Park while a fifth is listed on the Memorial in the Kirk. The sixth grave, that of Lt. Frederick Cash is not listed anywhere locally.

On Sunday 3rd August 2014, “at the going down of the sun”, wreaths were laid at all six of the official Commonwealth War Graves for WWI within Prestonkirk graveyard by representatives of the local community. The event took place at the close of a service to remember the sacrifice of those who died. While the research project has uncovered some of their individual details, the priority to date has been to investigate the accuracy of the information on the two main memorials in the parish. That work will continue. East Linton Horticultural Society with the help of the East Linton Guides have supplied flowering plants for this difficult windy site. The special perennial variety of poppy sown in February 2014 has still to flower but should become established in the coming months.

There are a further four men mentioned on family gravestones who are not listed on any of the two local Memorials; Flight Lt. George Anderson at stone 412, James McKinlay, stone 365, James Woodburn at stone 334, and James Moncrieff on stone 336. George Anderson’s parents are listed on the CWGC as resident at Station House Prestonpans, James McKinlay is not listed on the CWGC data base; the parents of James Woodburn are listed as living in Liverpool while John Moncrieff is listed as serving with the Australian Forces and having died on 27/4/1917, the date recorded on the stone at Prestonkirk graveyard for a James Moncrieff. A William Hood is also listed on a family gravestone at stone 40. Unlike the others, he is listed on the two local Memorials. William’s mother, an Agnes Brotherstone, lived at Prestonmains Farm. Her husband died in 1909 and another son Mark died on 27th Dec 1918 aged 17.

See the image below for a list of the fifty one local men who died in the First World War . It follows after this image of the Roll of Honour from the former St. Andrews Free Church of Scotland.


First World War listed Deaths for East Linton.

Adam Johnson John Hume
Alex C Greig John Logan
Alex Lawrence John C McPhail
Alex Lockhart John E Reid
Alex Pennycook John Storie
Alex K Walker John Wilson
Angus Ramage Kenneth Mills
David Myles Martin Thomson
George Burns Norman Sinclair
George Grierson Peter Fairbairn
George Laing Robert G Leslie *
George White Robert G.E.Stewart *
Gideon Watt Thomas Aitken
James Bathgate Thomas Greig
James Beveridge Thomas John Murdoch
James C Blackhall Thomas Stoddart
James Campbell Walter McDougall
James Docherty William Aitken
James Fraser William Balfour Noble
James Gill William Currie
James C. Sandie William Hood
John Adam Tait William S Logan
James Tait  William Myles
James Walker  William Thomson
John Craig William H White
John Fraser

The following summary from the research has concentrated on the men whose names are missing from the main Memorial in the Park and is based on the findings at 4th June 2014.

1. The list above totals 51 names.Thirteen names marked in red are not listed on the War Memorial in The Park which has 38 names. It now appears that Robert G(ibson) Leslie* is the same person as R G E Stewart.* He was adopted by his uncle and aunt, Mr and Mrs Leslie. Because of this duplication the correct number of deaths for the period 1914-1919 is 50.

2. Those not listed at Prestonkirk are marked in blue. One of the men, William S Logan has still to be located in the records as having a local connection.

3. One of the men included on the list but not mentioned on any memorial is Thomas Buchan Hepburn. His death in 1923 is mentioned in the obituary of his father as “having never recovered from a severe illness contracted on service during the early part of the war.” He is interred in the family crypt at Prestonkirk Churchyard.


East Linton War Memorials. World War I.

Analysis of the missing names.

Name Age Rank/ Regiment Address recorded Date of Death
Angus Robertson Ramage

Born Dunbar See note 1

26 Private. Scots Guards (7637) Biel Crossing  26/10/1914 Menin Gate Panel 11
David Myles

See Note 2

22 Private 9th Royal Scots (370117) Tyninghame 12/4/1918 Ploegsteert Memorial
George Burns              See Note 3 27 Private Queens Own Cameron Highlanders 2nd Battalion S/15496 Knowes 8/5/1915 Menin Gate Panel 38/40
Frederick Alfred Cash 2nd Ltn RNAS Hamilton Ontario 24/07/1918 Prestonkirk
James Bathgate

See Note 4

22 8th Royal Scots (325542) Drylawhill 12/4/1918 Niedrzwe


James Gill See Note 6 28 Army Service Corps East Linton (enrolled) 24/4/1917 Buried at New Elgin
Martin Thomson         see note 12 Private Royal Scots? Listed Cameronians in SGS library Waughton 25/09/1915 Not mentioned in Courier
Norman Sinclair          See Note 10 37` Rhodesian Horse 9/5/1915 Dar es Salem
Peter Fairbairn

See note 5

Royal Scots (352405) 1/8/1917 Menin Gate Panel 11


Robert G Leslie Note 7 27 Royal Scots 5/1/1915 Ploegsteert Memorial
Thomas E A Buchan-Hepburn. See note 14 31 Royal Scots later attached to 1st Garrison Bn. Gordon Highlanders Died 12/4/1923 Buried in the crypt at Prestonkirk
Thomas Stoddart Army Service Corps Nether Hailes Unable to validate
Walter McDougall

See Note 8

20 L /Cpl Royal Scots (353532) Markle 22/5/1918 Mont Huon Military Cemetery


William Balfour Noble 27 Ltn. 8th Royal Scots (See Note 9) East Linton 11/12/1918 Prestonkirk
William Myles

See Note 13

53 8th Royal Scots ( 43457) Tyninghame 2/3/1915 St Sever Cemetery, Rouen


Main sources. Rolls of Honour in Prestonkirk Church and Commonwealth War Graves Commission .

Secondary source. Soldiers died in Great War. CD record in Scottish Genealogy Society Library. ( SGS.) Printed records available by Regiment.

Public Memorials in East Lothian CD record in Scottish Genealogy Library ref. MBM/FKD

Forces War Records Web Page

Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Web page

Haddingtonshire Courier

1. SGS CD gives Dunbar as his place of birth Prestonpans as his residence. Biel Crossing was on the border of Prestonkirk Parish. There is an Angus Ramage listed on the main Dunbar memorial. CWG says Son of Isabella Ramage and the late Andrew Ramage

2. CWG says Son of Janet Myles of Widows Row Tyninghame Prestonkirk and the late Sergt William Myles. SGS CD gives his regiment as the 9th Battalion and that he was formerly of the Highland Light Infantry number 32237. There is an entry in the East Lothian Herald for 29th August 1919 saying that David Myles is now presumed dead.

3. SGS CD gives Whitekirk as the place of birth. A George Burns is listed on the War Memorial at Garvald with the date of death given as 11th May 1915. CWG says Son of Mrs Elizabeth Burns of Townhead, Gifford. Knowes was in the Parish of Prestonkirk.

4. SGS CD says Born Prestonkirk. Residence Cockburnspath. A James Bathgate is listed on the War Memorial at Oldhamstocks.

CWG says Son of Adam and Marion Bathgate of Fernilia, Cockburnspath.

5. Private in D Coy 9th Battalion, Royal Scot. Received MM. Parents listed as Paul and Catherine Fairbairn of Cromwell Cottage, Dunbar. SGS CD says listed at Dunbar War Memorial. A report of his death is contained in the Haddingtonshire Courier for 17th August 1917. It adds that he was manager of the East Linton business of Messrs. Tait brothers. “ Though born in Dunbar, he lived in East Linton for many years “ and adds that he was a keen bowler and Free Mason.

6. SGS CD gives Royal Army Service Corps. (M/299057 Born Elgin, Died 24/4/1917.) Published Book for soldiers of the Royal Army Service Corps who died in the Great War (Part 78) in SGS library says enrolled Glencorse ( East Linton) Buried at New Elgin Cemetery. Listed in the 1911 census as living with a family as a boarder at 69 Walker Crescent Elgin. (Son of Mr. and Mrs. Alex. Gill.)

7. CWG says 853, 8th Bn., Royal Scots who died on 05 January 1915. An entry in the Courier says he was the first from East Linton to fall. He was the adopted son and nephew of James and Elizabeth Leslie of Browns Place, East Linton . Grandson of Mrs Gibson of Iona St . Leith.

(Courier notice of 22/1/1915) Listed on the Memorial in the Park as Robert G E Stewart? Is this an error?

8. A Walter McDougal is listed for Athelstaneford parish in the 1911 census. He is then aged 13. A 20 year old L Cpl Walter McDougall (353532) is listed as having died of wounds on 22nd May 1918. He is buried at Mont Huon Military Cemetry , Le Treport. The SGS CD lists a Private Walter McDougall ( 353532) of the 2nd Battalion Royal Scots and that he was born at North Berwick. CWG says grandson of Mr and Mrs John Campbell of South Belton Dunbar. Native of East Craig , North Berwick

9. Son of Robert Noble RSA. Gravestone in Prestonkirk says died from illness contracted on active service on 25th December 1918.

10. CWG lists as a Scout in the Northern Rhodesian Police. Buried at Dar Es Salaam War Cemetery. There is a full account in the Haddingtonshire Courier of 23rd July 1915. Was killed by a lioness while on patrol duty in South Africa. Father lived at Knowes Mill, Prestonkirk

11. Possibley Thomas Stoddart of Litte Spott . See Courier for 28/7/1916. Not verified at 28/5/2014

12. Martin Thomson. Private ‘17306’. Forces War records list as Born in Newton Stewart, Wigton. Lived at Haddington , Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) 9th Bn. France Loos Memorial Panel 57 to 59. There is no ref to a Martin Thomson in the Royal Scots other than in the Roll of Honour displayed in Prestonkirk .

13. SGS CD says Sergeant 8th Battalion Royal Scots, 1293 and died 2/3/1915. Aged 53, Buried at Rouen. Death notice of 12/3/1915 in Haddingtonshire Courier says died of meningitis. (page 02 Col 1) Eldest son of the late Robert and Janet Myles, of Biel, Prestonkirk, East Lothian; husband of Janet Myles, of Tyninghame, Prestonkirk, East Lothian. Son David also died as above.

14. His obituary tells that he was invalided home but subsequently proceeded to India with a reserve battalion of the Gordon Highlanders. It records that “the rigours of the Western Front undermined his constitution.” He died at the age of thirty. Not regarded as a casualty of the war?

Prestonkirk Roll of Honour1914-1916 ( Serving their Country)


Supplementary Roll of Honour 1914-1918



East Linton and World War I

This Memorial stone to Lt Frederick Arthur Cash of the RNAS was erected by his parents ,Robert Cooper Cash and Ellen Cash from Hamilton Ontario in Canada. He died on 24th July 1918 and was their only son. He was a member of the Royal College of Dental Surgeons from 1917-1918. He joined the Royal Naval Air Service in Ottawa in January 1918. After completing his training in June, he began his service in the Firth of Forth where he was attached to the Grand Fleet.

The Canadian Roll of service says that one month later when he was flying alone, his machine was seen from a distance to come down in a spinning dive. He was found dead by his rescuers.

He is listed in U K records as a serving office in the Royal Air Force. There is no entry in the index for the Haddingtonshire Courier for that year. As a result of publicity on the web, it is now known that he was flying a Sopwith Pup of the Grand Fleet School of Aerial Gunnery when it entered a spin at 2000 feet and failed to recover. It crashed at Crow Wood near Markle . He was killed instantly in the crash. He was also remembered on the evening of the 3rd August this year at a service “At the going down of the Sun “ when wreaths were laid at the listed Commonwealth War Graves for Prestonkirk Graveyard.


Report on the grave of Sergeant William Myles. 8th Battalion, Royal Scots.

The cemetery of St Sever in Rouen contains 11,436 graves of officers and soldiers from the Commonwealth who died in the First World War. At its entrance is this magnificent Cedar of Lebanon. Sgt Myles was a forester in 1911. A separate section contains an area devoted to French war graves.

A visit was made to the cemetery on the 25th September 2014 when a single rose was laid in his memory. Photographs are available.