On this Remembrance Sunday I took a walk around the Old Wardlaw Graveyard to look at our war Graves. These are under the care of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. They visit all 1300 recorded grave sites in Scotland and make sure the graves are being kept tidy and check if the lettering requires repainting. They visited Wardlaw in September this year and will be back in 4 years’ time.
Their website lists 2 soldiers from WWI buried in the Old Wardlaw Graveyard (recorded on their website as Kirkhill Old Churchyard). Private A. Michael, died 7th November 1918, and Private John Fraser Owens, died 3rd April 1919. Both would have died locally while in military service.
Both gravestones are recorded in ‘Memorial Inscriptions, Parish of Kirkhill’ published by the Kilmorack Heritage Association in 2003. This has an indexed list of all the inscriptions that could be read during the survey and a map of the Old and New Wardlaw Graveyards. It also lists those inside Wardlaw Mausoleum and in Kirkton Graveyard at Bunchrew. It is often used to assist visitors to locate their family graves. A copy is held by the keyholder and in local libraries. There are similar volumes covering the Kilmorack, Kiltarlity and Urray parishes.
Andrew Campbell Michael is recorded on the red circular family gravestone near the gate to the new graveyard. South side – In proud and loving remembrance of Thomas James Trooper 1st Candn. Mtd. Rifles reported missing now believed killed in action at Sanctuary Wood Belgium in the third battle of Ypres June 2nd 1916 aged 25 years also of Duncan Major 43rd Batt. 79th Camn Highlrs of Winnipeg Canada also reported missing now believed killed in action near Courcellette France while leading his men during the battle of The Somme 8th October 1916 aged 31 years and of Andrew Campbell Driver Army Service Corps. Imperial Forces died at Beauly 3rd April 1919 aged 25 years 4th eldest and 5th sons respectively of Donald & Abigail MICHAEL Beauly.
John Fraser Owens’ gravestone is against the west boundary wall, near the Forbes walled enclosure. 148225 Private J F Owens Machine Gun Corps (INF) 7th November 1918.
The Kirkhill War Memorial is in the grounds of Wardlaw Church in the middle of the village. It used to stand opposite the junction of the Kirkhill road in Inchmore and was moved to Kirkhill in 1975 to permit the widening of the road. It commemorates the dead of the parish in both world wars. The story of the memorial is recorded in ‘The Fallen of Kirkhill’ in ‘The Kirk in Kirkhill’ published in 1990, which also lists the names on the memorial. Information on the individual soldiers can be found in ‘The Parish of Kirkhill – Military Service in Two World Wars’ published by the Kilmorack Heritage Association in 2009.