Galloway’s Great War

Glendarroch, a Great War Convalescent Home near Kirkcowan
Glendarroch, a Great War Convalescent Home near Kirkcowan

As the Great War continued abroad, the Glendarroch Convalescent Home for injured soldiers near Kirkcowan was marking its first year in existence.

The Galloway Gazette, January 29th 1916


It was on January 22, 1915, that the first inmates arrived at what Sir Herbert Maxwell had styled “that admirably organised and conducted institution”. A year later we review the history of Glendarroch.

In the autumn of 1914, Major Fleming Hamilton of Craichlaw placed at the disposal of the Red Cross his shooting lodge at Glendarrroch as a convalescent home, and asked the Newton Stewart Voluntary Aid Detachment to run it.

The Major would supply coal and light. A VAD appeal in The Galloway Gazette for funds met with hearty response and the home was soon equipped with 20 beds and a staff of six. The Dunragit Creamery Company gave a handsome supply of butter weekly and regular gifts of rabbits were promised. Laundry arrangements for the household linen were organised and kind friends in Kirkcowan offered to wash the patients’ clothes.

Since the opening, a steady stream of patients came from the General Hospital at Stobhill and from the HLI Military Hospital in Hamilton, the depot where Major Fleming Hamilton was stationed. The total number of convalescents received at the home during the year was 276.

The convalescents were allowed to play bowls, to golf and to boat in the beautiful grounds and that gave them great pleasure.

The Galloway Gazette had helped most liberally by publishing weekly the list of donations and by keeping the Home in readers’ thoughts.

One of the contributors, Sergeant Craig, 2nd Argylls, send £4 as an appreciation of the kindness shown “in our district to my less fortunate comrades”.

Not long after this kindly deed he fell fighting for his King and Country.


At a meeting of the Queen Mary’s Needlework Guild in Creetown, the secretary, Mrs Carson, Mayburn, read a number of interesting letters from soldiers who had received parcels from the guild, expressing their sincere thanks for the goods.

They also received a letter from Sister Mary Gordon from Dairyfield, who was working at St John’s Ambulance Brigade Hospital in France. In the letter she gave a vivid account of the work the nurses did.

Nurse Gordon said: “The gratitude shown by the sufferers and the splendid courage they show amply repays the nurses for the trials they have to bear. It almost reduces one to tears, to see the pluck and endurance of these fine fellows, and how they bear up under their dressings although they are sometimes mangled from head to foot.

“I am more than proud of my own countrymen in that respect; they do bear pain well.”

Nurse Gordon told the work party that she had not yet seen any of the Creetown boys.


Private Edgar, Scottish Horse, the younger son of Mr Edgar, the veterinary surgeon in Whithorn, wrote home with his news:

“We are in the firing line again, but we are expecting to be relived tonight and have a rest for a week or two. I can tell you we are ready for it this time.

The climate here does not suit the boys well. One got wounded with hot water and is in hospital, having only joined us a week ago.

“A former Whithorn solider, now serving with an Australian regiment came up to me one afternoon when I was sleeping and pulled me by the leg. I did not know him until he spoke as he is so much changed. The last time I saw him he was a sailor! But he gave up the sailoring and went to Australia.

“We have any amount of clothing of all kinds, so I would not advise you to send me any clothes - something in the sweetie or cigarette line would be better. So far I am A1 and sticking it well.”

Private Edgar’s older brother was also serving in France as a vet.