Jeweller’s son rewarded for mining work

Second-Lieutenant R Mair
Second-Lieutenant R Mair


The Military Cross was awarded to Second-Lieutenant Robert Mair, of the 1st King George’s Own Sappers and Miners (Indian Army), for service with the Kut Relief Force, under Sir Percy Lake.

(The Siege of Kut Al Amara, from 7 December 1915 to 29 April 1916, also known as the First Battle of Kut, was the besieging of an 8,000 strong British-Indian garrison in the town of Kut, 100 miles south of Baghdad, by the Turkish Ottoman Army. Following the surrender of the garrison on 29 April 1916, the survivors of the siege were marched to imprisonment at Aleppo, during which many died. Historian Christopher Catherwood has called the siege “the worst defeat of the Allies in World War I”).

Twenty-six-year old Lieutenant Mair was the son of Newton Stewart jeweller Thomas Mair. He was educated at the Ewart High School and then studied science at Glasgow University. At the outbreak of the war, the was a junior engineer on the East Indian Railway, but volunteered immediately for service.

The Military Cross was awarded to Lieutenant Mair for conducting under difficulty on several occasions sapping and mining work which materially assisted in the operations in the campaign in Mesopotamia.