The British and Empire forces launched a major offensive at Arras in April 1917: although moderately successful in trerms of advances, no breakthrough was achieved and losses were heavy. Between July and November, the 3rd Battle of Ypres (Passchendaele) resulted in a further 300,000 British casualties. Meanwhile in Palestine, the Egyptian Expeditionary Force fought the Turkish forces for possession of Palestine.

James Russell

Private 13027

6th/7th Royal Scots Fusiliers

Died Thursday 1st February 1917. Age 21

Molliens-au-Bois Communal Cemetery, Somme, France. 5.

James Russell was accidentally killed while carrying out duties at a bombing school near the front line. He was killed instantaneously when a defective grenade exploded.

Private Russell had enlisted in September 1914 and had been at the front for a year when he was killed. Before the War he had been employed as a surfaceman with the Glasgow and South Western Railway, and lived at 2 Pathfoot.

Thomas Waddell

Second Lieutenant

5th Battalion, Seaforth Highlanders

Died Sunday 8th April 1917. Age 27

Roclincourt Military Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France. II. A.

Thomas Bryson Waddell, of 16 Woodwynd, attended the Higher Grade School and Irvine Royal Academy. He graduated BSc (Hons) from Glasgow University in 1912 and became a Science and Maths teacher at Dornoch Academy. He served with 14th Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders until gaining a commission in the Seaforths in December 1916. He was killed attacking a German trench at the beginning of the Arras battle.

‘A young man whose gifts and graces of head and heart were of a distinctive and exceptional character. He had a modest and simple nature. . . he was loved most by those who knew him best,’ his obituary noted.

Hugh Miller

Private 148490

78th Battalion, Canadian Infantry (Manitoba)

Died Monday 9th April 1917. Age 27

Vimy Memorial  Pas de Calais  France.

Hugh Miller Kilwinning was married to Margaret Miller and lived at 67 Main Street, Kilwinning. He was employed by J. Howie of Groatholm. In 1913 he left Kilwinning for Canada.

Private Miller was said to be a well-built man. He returned to Europe to fight with the Canadian forces at the Battle of Arras. He was killed in the Canadians’ first attack.

Bernard O’Neill

Private 13020

6th/7th Battalion, Royal Scots Fusiliers

Died Monday 9th April 1917. Age 25

Arras Memorial  Pas de Calais  France. Bay 5

Bernard O’Neill was a furnaceman with Baird and Company. He lived with his brother Harry in Double Row, Eglinton Ironworks. Another brother, Ambrose, lived in Florence Street, West Hartlepool.

6th/7th RSF captured several lines of German trenches at Railway Triangle, Arras, on the first day of the battle. Arras Memorial commemorates 35 000 soldiers with no known grave.

Thomas Crawford

Private 2354

46th Battalion, Australian Infantry Force

Died Wednesday 11th April 1917

Villers-Bretonneux Memorial, Somme, France.

Thomas Crawford was the son of William Crawford of Green Gates. He had been an apprentice joiner with William Gray of Woodwynd  before emigrating to Australia in 1912. He settled in the small town of Chiltern, Victoria, but returned to Europe to fight and die for his adopted country at the Battle of Arras.

Private Crawford was initially classified as “wounded and missing,” according to the Australian Red Cross. An eye-witness, Private G F Russell, reported:  “T Crawford was wounded at Bullecourt in the front line, not able to walk but not so seriously wounded as to cause his death. We were forced to retire and the Germans took the trench. He was alive then, I saw him just as I went. We could not carry him and had to leave him there.”

No further trace was found of Thomas Crawford. The Villers-Bretonneux Memorial commemorates the Australian soldiers who fought in Europe during the Great War, and in particular the 10, 000 who, like Private Crawford, have no known grave.

John Stewart

Corporal 14283

16th Battalion, Highland Light Infantry

Died Saturday 14th April 1917. Age 33.

Savy British Cemetery, Aisne, France. I. Y. 15

In April 1917, 16th HLI were advancing to to take areas vacated by the Germans as they withdrew to the newly-prepared Hindenburg Line.

John Baillie Stewart, at the time an acting platoon sergeant, was killed by a sniper. He had been in France for two years, and had survived the battalion’s dreadful losses on the Somme the previous year.  His officer, Lieutenant Fraser, wrote that he “had always done his bit cheerfully and thoroughly; was a good soldier, and by his death the platoon has lost a brave man.”

Before the War he had lived at 9 Byres Road, Kilwinning, and worked for Glasgow Corporation.

Robert Morrison

Private 200977

1st/4th Royal Scots Fusiliers

Died Thursday 19th April 1917. Age 35

Jerusalem Memorial, Israel. Panel 18.

Robert Morrison was the son of Charles Morrison of 11 Wellington Road, Fergushill. He lived with his wife, Sarah, and children at 125 Five Roads.

After evacuation from Gallipoli, 1/4th RSF went to Egypt to guard the Suez Canal. The Egyptian Expeditionary Force thereafter pushed eastwards in an attempt to remove the Turks from Egypt and Palestine. On April 19th 1917 began the Second Battle of Gaza, in which Private Morrison was killed. His best friend, David Watterson, returned to tell the family that he had gone over the top around 30 yards from Robert, and had seen a shell explode in his vicinity: he never saw Robert again. He is one of 3,000 of the EEF who have no known grave.

Henry Orr

Private 200400

1st/4th Royal Scots Fusiliers

Died Thursday 19th April 1917

Jerusalem Memorial, Israel. Panel 18

Private Orr was killed in the Second Battle of Gaza, an unsuccessful attempt to capture the town from the Turks.

Charles Brannigan

Private 41292

13th Battalion, Royal Scots.

Died Monday 23rd April 1917

Arras Memorial  Pas de Calais  France. Bay 1 and 2.

13th RS sustained heavy casualties in a German counter-attack during the Battle of Arras.

The Arras Memorial commemorates 35,000 British, New Zealand and South African soldiers who died in the area and who have no known grave.

David Young

Lance Corporal 43133

16th Battalion, Highland Light Infantry

Died Friday 27th April 1917. Age 23

Honnechy British Cemetery, Nord, France. II. C. 24

Lance Corporal Young, of Bartonholm, was killed in the Battle of Arras. 16th HLI were supporting the French near St Quentin.

George Greenan

Private 13529

6th/7th Battalion, Royal Scots Fusliers

Died Tuesday 1st May 1917

Etaples Military Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France. XVIII. F. 12

6th/7th RSF went into action in the Battle of Arras on 11th April, when it took part in the capture of Monchy-le-Preux. The battalion saw more action on the 16th. It is likely that George Greenan died in hospital at Etaples of wounds received in one of these actions.

George Greenan was a furnacemean with Baird and Co. He lived with his father and sister at Single Row, Eglinton Ironworks.

William Niblock

Private 32240

1st Battalion, Royal Scots Fusiliers

Died Sunday 3rd June 1917. Age 20

Arras Memorial, Pas de Calais, France. Bay 5.

William Niblock was the son of Mr and Mrs William Niblock of 40, Greenside.
It is likely that Private Niblock was killed after the Battle of Arras while manning the line,  probably in the area of Monchy-le-Preux.

Alexander Reid

Private 41595

10th Battalion, Cameronians (Scottish Rifles)

Died Sunday 24th June 1917. Age 23

Brandhoek Military Cemetery, Vlamertinghe, Ieper, Belgium. I. K. 40

Alexander Reid was the husband of Mary Reid and lived at 1 St Winning Square. His parents, William and Jeanie Reid, lived at 25 Bridgend. He worked at the Nobel explosives factory in Ardeer.

After having been involved in the Battle of Arras, 10th SR was moved to the Ypres salient in preparation for the summer offensive. Brandhoek was the site of a Field ambulance at the time of Private Reid’s death.

William Campbell

Private 200330

1st/5th Battalion, Durham Light Infantry

Died Wednesday 27th June 1917. Age 22

St Martin Calvaire British Cemetery, St Martin-sur-Cojeul, Pas de Calais. I.C.19

Although William Blackwood Campbell’s family home was in Stockton, he was born in Kilwinning and is commemorated on the town’s War Memorial.

St Martin-sur-Cojeul was captured by the 30th Division on 9th April, the first day of the Battle of Arras.

George Hunter Kerr

Private 353064

17th Battalion, Highland Light Infantry

Died 27th June 1917. Age 31

Ramscapelle Road Military Cemetery, Nieuwpoort, Belgium. IV. B. 20

George Kerr was married with two children, and before the War was a junior partner in the building firm of W&J Kerr. Private Kerr joined the Royal Scots Fusiliers, but was transferred to a machine-gun section of 17/HLI.

In June 1917 the British 4th Army took over a section of the front on the River Yser near Nieuport. The HLI soon had to repulse a heavy German attack.

Samuel Gilmour

Private 4913

16th Battalion, Highland Light Infantry

Died Monday 2nd July 1917. Age 23

Coxyde Military Cemetery, Koksijde, Belgium. I. C. 18.

16th HLI was also involved in repelling the German offensive on the Yser.

Samuel Gilmour was the son of William and Margaret Gilmour and lived at 41 Double Row,  Eglinton Ironworks. He was killed in action by the explosion of a rifle grenade. He had two brothers who were also serving at the Front (one of whom had been wounded at Gallipoli)  and a third brother who was awaiting orders to leave for the Front.

George Stevenson

Private 31897

18th Battalion, Highland Light Infantry

Died Sunday 19th August 1917

Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France. Pier and Face 15 C

George Stevenson was married with children and lived at 73 Almswall Road, Kilwinning. He was killed in action in the Somme area after having been at the Front for eight months.

Hugh Martin

Private 30129

1st Battalion, Cameronians (Scottish Rifles)

Died Saturday 25th August 1917.

Nieuport Memorial, Nieuwpoort, Belgium.

Hugh Martin lived with his wife and three sons in Fergushill Road.

The German Attack on Nieuport (see records of S. Gilmour and G.H. Kerr) had come to an end by the end of July, but a relatively high casualty rate continued to be suffered in the area for some time to come. The Nieuport Memorial commemorates 500 men who died in the area but who have no known grave.

James Monaghan

Sergeant 18413

27th Company, Machine Gun Corps

Died Wednesday 19th September 1917

Divisional Collecting Post Cemetery Extension, Boezinge, Ieper, Belgium. II.K.14

James Monaghan enlisted within a week of the outbreak of the Great War and had served at the Front for two years and four months when he died of wounds received in the Third Ypres battle. His parents received a letter from his officer which stated that he had been the victim of shellfire. It also noted that he had been “an efficient, cool and courageous soldier.”

Prior to enlisting, Sergeant Monaghan had worked at Ladyha’ Pit. He lived at 1 Parkhill Buildings

Samuel  Barr

Private 41651

5th/6th Battalion, Royal Scots

Died Monday 1st October 1917

Zuydcoote Military Cemetery, Nord, France. I. G. 17.

Samuel C. Barr was the fourth Kilwinning casualty in the Nieuport sector. He had been wounded in the back and right arm, which was amputated in an attempt to save his life. Unfortunately  he died at the Casualty Clearing Station in Zuydcoote. Before the War  he had been employed at Nobel’s explosives factory and lived at 10 Single Row, Eglinton Ironworks.

William Howat

Corporal 655225

77th Army Brigade, Royal Field Artillery

Died Friday 12th October 1917. Age 21

Minty Farm Cemetery, Langemark-Poelkapelle, Belgium I.D.23

William James Howat was the son of Ephraim and Philippa Howat, who later stayed at 51 Byres Road. He had been apprenticed to Mr T F Brown  and was well-known in Kilwinning because of his extraordinary height – 6 feet 3 inches.

Corporal Howat died in the fighting for Passchendaele.

William Marshall

Private 271003

16th Battalion, Royal Scots

Died Monday 22nd October 1917. Age 24

Tyne Cot Memorial, Zonnebeke, Belgium. Panel 11 to 14 and 162

16th RS was involved in attempting to capture German positions north of Poelkapelle, but was held up by barbed wire and forced back by a strong counter-attack. William Marshall, who had enlisted in 1914, went missing, presumed killed. His body was never identified, and he is now one of the 34,888 names of the Missing on the Tyne Cot Memorial.

Frank Mullin

Corporal 311030

Highland Sanitary Section, Royal Army Medical Corps (attached to Imperial Camel Corps)

Died Friday 2nd November 1917

Jerusalem Memorial, Israel. Panel 56

Frank Mullin of Bartonholm began his war as a private in the Scottish Horse, a territorial battalion of the Black Watch. He appears to have served with 1/1 Highland Mounted Field Ambulance in the Gallipoli campaign. Thereafter the unit was evacuated to Egypt, where it was attached to the Imperial Camel Corps as medical support. As the name suggests, the Camel Corps was a desert cavalry unit: it was largely made up of Australians, many of whom  had experience of travelling by camel in the Outback.

John Kelly

Corporal 203229

1st/5th Battalion, Royal Scots Fusiliers

Died Thursday 8th November 1917

Gaza War Cemetery, Israel. XIX. E. 2

John Kelly worked at Nobel’s factory and lived at 27 Single Row, Eglinton Ironworks, until he enlisted early in 1915. He then served at the Gallipoli front for the duration of the campaign  before being invalided home suffering from trench fever and the effects of gas. After eight months at home  he returned to his unit in Palestine  where he was killed at the end of the Third Battle of Gaza. His brother Patrick had also been invalided out of the Army after having been “gassed and burned.”

John McClure

Private 200888

1st/4th Battalion, Royal Scots Fusiliers

Died Thursday 8th November 1917.

Jerusalem Memorial, Israel. Panel 18

John McClure was killed in the Third Battle of Gaza when 1st/4th RSF attacked Turkish positions on Katrah Ridge overlooking the railway line to Jerusalem.

He was married  and his parents lived at 21 Byrehill Row. He had two brothers on active service. His father had also served at the Front in France, before being released from service after the Battle of Loos in 1915.

David Downie

Acting Bombardier 655224

77th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery

Died Saturday 10th November 1917. Age 25.

Wimereux Communal Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France. VI. G. 20A

David Downie of Sunnyside Nursery died at the British hospital centre of Wimereux, presumably of wounds received in the Passchendaele offensive.

David Downie was a member of the same unit and had the previous Army number to that of W. J. Howat (see above, 12/10/17) which would suggest that they enlisted together. His brother, Alexander Downie, died on 12 th October 1917 in the fighting for Passchendaele.

Thomas Allison

Private 1396

14th Battalion, Highland Light Infantry

Died Saturday 24th November 1917

Cambrai Memorial, Louverval, Nord, France. Panel 10.

The Battle of Cambrai began on 20th November. 14th HLI suffered 440 casualties in the Bourlon Wood area on 24th November. Thomas Allison is one of 7048 British and Commonwealth soldiers who were killed in the two-week battle and who have no known grave.

Hugh McCallum

Company Sergeant Major 15/924

12th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles

Died Saturday 1st December 1917. Age 24

Grevillers British Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France. IX. B. 5

Hugh McCallum was a married man, whose parents lived at 1 Blacklands Row. He had been born in Grey Abbey, County Down, so enlisted in an Irish regiment.

He died of wounds, probably received in the Battle of Cambrai, at the Casualty Clearing Station in Grevillers. The CCS chaplain wrote to his mother:  “He made a brave struggle for life, but he was wounded in a vital part. I had several talks with him and I also had prayer. The testimony that he trusted in Christ as his Saviour that he left behind will, I am sure, be a joy to you.”

William McCulloch

Private 17019

2nd Battalion, Royal Scots Fusiliers

Died Saturday 15th December 1917. Age 22

Tyne Cot Memorial, Zonnebeke, Belgium. Panel 60 to 61

William McCulloch died in the line in the Ypres salient. He had recently been admitted to Boulogne Hospital suffering from frostbite. He had been a labourer before war service, and lived at 10 Kyleswell Street, Kilwinning

James Wilson

Second Lieutenant

2nd Battalion, Royal Scots Fusiliers.

Died Saturday 15th December 1917

Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, Ieper, Belgium. Panel 19 and 33

James Gilmour Wilson was the son of Alexander Wilson, of the Eglinton Arms Hotel. He attended Kilwinning Higher Grade School and Irvine Royal Academy before joining the accountancy firm of Carstairs, Charing Cross, Glasgow. He enlisted in the Argylls in September 1915, before transferring to the Black Watch, with whom he served on the Somme. He then came home to train for a commission in 2nd RSF. He had been back in Flanders for three months when he was killed in action by a sniper.

2/Lt Wilson had played for Kilwinning Rangers, and in 1914 joined Queen’s Park FC, for whom  he showed great promise at left back.

Robert McEwan

Private 200745

1st/4th Battalion, Royal Scots Fusiliers

Died 21st December 1917. Age 21

Jerusalem Memorial, Israel. Panel 18

Robert McEwan is one of 3,000 members of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force who have no known graves.

Before enlisting he had been a seedsman employed by Gemmell’s, and lived at Double Row, Eglinton Ironworks.

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