September 2017 marks the centenary of the death of the Rev Andrew Stewart MC who was the minister in the Isle of Whithorn from January 1914 until September 1917.
Born in 1887 in Carluke where his father ran a joinery business, Andrew studied at Glasgow University. He was ordained to the Isle of Whithorn United Free church on the 8th January 1914 shortly before the outbreak of WW1. As an ordained minister, Andrew Stewart was in a ‘reserved occupation‘ and could have been excused war service. Instead he answered the call of King and Empire, eschewing even the opportunity to become an army padre and obtained a commission as a Second Lieutenant in the 10th Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers.
He was posted to France in July 1917 and was killed in action on September 20th while taking part in the Battle of Menin Road, age 30 years. He was posthumously awarded the Military Cross for conspicuous gallantry in leading his men. He is buried in Larchwood Cemetery, Zillebeke, Belgium. A Memorial Tablet and the Baptismal Font were placed in the Isle Church in his memory. At this time of national commemoration of the many who died at Passchendaele this story of one individual local man is worth remembering. The Minutes of the Kirk Session which records their minister’s decision to go to war and his subsequent death are still held at the Isle Church. The centenary is being marked with a concert in the Isle Church by the renowned harpist Wendy Stewart from Moniave who is Andrew Stewart’s great niece. Alongside this there will be appropriate poems and readings. This will take place on Sunday 17th September in the Isle Church at 7pm. Entry is free but an opportunity to donate to Poppy Scotland will be available.