Galloway’s Great War - Janaury 1916

The Galloway Gazette continues its serialisation of reports and letters from the First World War, beginning with a significant event for Galloway soldiers serving with the 1/5th KOSB in Gallipoli.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 19th October 2015, 6:13 am
Private Drynan
Private Drynan

The Galloway Gazette

January 15th, 1916


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The most eventful chapter so far in the history of the 5th Kings Own Scottish Borderers has closed with the evacuation of Gallipoli. It is seven months since those breathless days when the tidings of the arrival of our territorials at the Dardanelles came filtering through, and the people of Galloway were thrown into a state of anxiety with the news of casualties sustained almost as soon as the battalion had left the transport. From that time the reports from the Dardanelles, where the local men fought so valiantly and held on so grimly, had gripped the region.

Since the severe fighting in mid-July, the Borderers’ work was confined to trench warfare with the occasional dashing little exploit by patrols in the darkness. The never ceasing bombardment and the appearance, within a few weeks, of dysentery, had claimed many victims. The thousand strong battalion which left Stirling in May had become sadly depleted. Very few of the officers were left. Death, wounds and sickness exalted a heavy toll.

A large proportion of the men had already returned home wounded or suffering from disease and well over 100 of the rank and file lay buried in the Peninsula.


Mrs Ada Vans Agnew, Barnbarroch, Whauphill, has returned from Mudros, on the island of Lemnos, in the Dardanelles. She has been there since August distributing the gifts send out from all over the country for the troops at the front. During that time she gave out 170,000 gifts, besides many hundreds of parcels addressed to individual officers and men. The evacuation of the troops from Gallipoli brought the closure of the Mudros depot, and the Commander in Chief expressed his thanks to Mrs Vans Agnew and his appreciation for the work she has done for the men. During her stay, Mrs Vans Agnew lived in a tent, ate only army rations and endured the gales which blew from November 25 to December 1 and caused thousands of casualties among the troops from drowning and frostbite.


John Drynan, a joiner in Newton Stewart had received word that his brother, Private David Drynan, 1/5th KOSB has died from wounds received in the Dardanelles on January 1. Pte. Drynan was 23 years of age, and previous to enlisting was employed by Mr Maxwell, Barlennan, Kirkcowan. He had only joined the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force the previous October.


Newton Stewart soldier, Sergeant Martin McGeoch, of the 1/3rd Scottish Horse, was recommended for the Distinguished Conduct Medal, after going out on five different occasions, under heavy shell fire, dressing wounds and fetching in wounded men from other units.


The Wigtown Agricultural Society Committee allocated a proportion of the proceeds of their recent gift sale to Kirkmabreck Parish to be used for gifts for the troops from the parish who were serving overseas. As a result over 70 parcels, containing cakes, sardines, chocolate, sweets, cigarettes and raisins were despatched to all the men from the Creetown district who had been on active service at the Front.

Each also contained a card wishing the recipient a safe return home.