Galloway’s Great War

Private Robert Barr
Private Robert Barr

The stories making the news in The Galloway Gazette 100 years ago.

The Galloway Gazette, October 28th, 1916

Private Robert Barr, Lurline Cottage, Creetown, KOSB, had been killed in action on September 25th, at the age of 23. A brilliant student at Allan Glen’s School, Glasgow, he had enlisted in the early months of the war but was discharged on medical grounds. He then entered an engineering establishment in Glasgow but had to leave on account of his health breaking down. He was working at Creetown Post Office when he was called before a medical board and was passed for home service, but was ultimately drafted to an active service battalion and had been at the Front for about two months before he was killed.


Private Alex McClelland, Park Lane, died on October 14th in Perth Royal Infirmary. The private had been serving with the Post Office Rifles, having joined up shortly after the outbreak of war. He was sent to France after a few months training but he was badly wounded and invalided home to Perth to recover. He had been progressing favourably, but blood poisoning set in, causing his death. Before the war he was a rural postman based at Whithorn Post Office, where he was held in high esteem for his courteous and obliging manner.


Castle Kennedy soldier, Private Andrew McMeiken was wounded on October 8th by an aerial dart on the left ankle, and had been treated in a Birmingham Hospital for his injury. This latest incident was the fourth time he had been injured.


Private Charles Findlay, Army Service Corps, from Glebe Street, Stranraer, had been discharged from the army after he lost the power of speech. After four months of silence, he recovered the full power of his voice under unusual circumstances. Mr Thomas McHaffie, Sheuchan Arms, was out shooting rabbits and Private Findlay was assisting him with a ferret. In one of the burrows the ferret remained. Private Findlay inserted his hand and the ferret bit him hard on the finger. In an effort to attract the attention of Mr McHaffie, Private Findlay said something gave way in his throat and from that moment he was in full possession of his speech once more.


S C Maxwell, posting-master and hotel-keeper, Galloway Arms, Newton Stewart, appealed to a military tribunal in Dumfries on behalf of his driver James Thomson, Arthur Street, on the grounds of his indispensability, and also that Thomson was the sole support of his widowed mother. The local tribunal had considered that the man was not indispensable to his employer, and that his domestic circumstances were not such as to warrant exemption from war service.

For the military, Captain McDonald told the tribunal: “The mother will probably be as well off as she is now if the son is taken away.”

But Sheriff Anderson said: ”You are taking away her only son”.

Captain McDonald replied: “That in itself is not sufficient to give a man exemption. There must be hardships. I can understand a widow who has other sons serving claiming for the only one remaining.”

Sheriff Anderson disagreed, saying: “No, on the contrary, where there is only one son.”

But the appeal was refused.


There is still no word on the fate of Minnigaff man Private A McWhirter, KOSB, who was reported missing since 25th September.