Galloway’s Great War

Lance-Corporal John Stroyan
Lance-Corporal John Stroyan

The Galloway Gazette continues its weekly look back to the stories that were appearing in the paper at he time of The Great War, 100 years ago.

The Galloway Gazette, April 15th, 1916

Popular fishmonger killed

Lance-Corporal John Stroyan, of the Highland Light Infantry, formerly of Path Cottage, Blackcraig, was killed in action on March 19. He was well known in Newton Stewart having been educated at Minnigaff Pubic School before serving his apprenticeship as a fishmonger with Mr Stewart in Victoria Street. He was for some time a keen member of the choir of Minnigaff Church.

When war broke out he was working as a fishmonger in Melton Mowbrey.

The fifth son of his parents, he saw action at the Battle of Loos where he was wounded. Three other brothers also joined the Forces and one of them was killed in November, 1914.

Captured Earl remembers his soldiers

It was characteristic of the Earl of Stair that despite his captivity in Germany he had not forgotten ‘Tommy’ at home, and had forwarded to his Minister in London a donation to the fund raised by St Columba’s Church for the entertainment of Scottish soldiers on furlough who find themselves stranded in London. Lord Stair, one can well imagine, won’t be sorry when the war is over and done with.

Taken prisoner early in the campaign, Viscount Dalrymple, as he was then, learned of the death of his father and his accession to the title shortly after his incarceration. Despite his lengthy captivity, the Earl remained very cheerful and encouraging messages were received from him periodically.

The Galloway Gazette, April 22nd, 1916

Military Appeals continue at Dumfries

Another lengthy sitting of the Military Service Appeal Court took place at Dumfries Sheriff Court, with Sheriff Campion presiding.

William Brown, ploughman, Killumpha, Port Logan, Stranraer, appealed on the grounds he was in a reserved occupation and also had a conscientious objection to war. It was against his conscience to take part in any military operation, and he considered it against the teachings of Christ to do so. Mr Brown did not appear in person but wrote a letter stating his case, adding he would rather suffer any penalty than serve. The local Tribunal said Mr Brown was not a regular ploughman and belonged to no religious body.

At the appeal hearing, Mr Brown’s solicitor, Mr Kelly, said he was representing the applicant with regard to his indispensability only, as he objected to appear for conscientious objectors, and that was why Mr Brown had written a letter instead of appearing. This was through no disrespect to the court, but as the appellant lived 100 miles away he could not possibly have been present. The farm was in the most southerly part of Scotland and it was a very stiff one to work.

Captain McDonald for the military suggested that Mr Brown’s employer recruited a ploughman from Ireland as the Military Service Act did not apply there. The Captain added that Irishmen had come over “in loads” to other parts of the country, so why not to Wigtownshire? Mr Kelly, representing Mr Brown, pointed out that the area had no connection with Ireland now as the steamer ferry had been taken off at the start of the war.

Mr Brown’s appeal was refused.