Tribute to those who paid ultimate price

Author Margaret Thorburn is pictured with Major Ronnie Proctor (left) and Glamis Church session clerk Ian Duncan with her research on the Glamis War Memorial.'
Author Margaret Thorburn is pictured with Major Ronnie Proctor (left) and Glamis Church session clerk Ian Duncan with her research on the Glamis War Memorial.'

A FASCINATING record of soldiers from the Glamis area, including the Queen Mother’s brother Fergus Bowes-Lyon, who lost their lives in the first world war has been presented to the Angus Folk Museum and the Black Watch Museum in Perth.

Former Glamis woman Margaret Thorburn, whose father William Thorburn was manager of the Royal Bank of Scotland in the village, made a special visit to Glamis to present her research to Major Ronnie Proctor of the Black Watch Museum and Mr Ian Duncan, session clerk at Glamis Church.

Margaret has researched the stories behind the soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country and who will be among the thousands remembered this weekend on Remembrance Sunday.

Margaret, who now lives in Edinburgh, found the names on the Glamis War Memorial which is situated near the entrance to Glamis Castle.

The first name is that of Captain the Honourable Fergus Lyon, although there wasn’t enough room on the memorial so he is listed as Captain The Hon. Fergus Lyon. He was the brother of the late Queen Mother, Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, wife of George VI who was brought up at nearby Glamis Castle.

Margaret turned her attention to the Glamis War Memorial after completing a number of projects in the capital. She has a genuine interest in genealogy after first researching her own family history, starting with an uncle who moved out to Australia in the late 1920s.

Through her research she and an aunt went out to visit the uncle in Brisbane.

She told the Dispatch and Herald: “We hadn’t heard from him for 30 years and we eventually got in touch with him in Perth, Western Australia. I started delving in to my family tree and when I retired I joined the Scottish Genealogy Society. I got landed as volunteer and am now team leader for the Wednesday group which meets in Victoria Terrace in Edinburgh.”

As archivist at the Dean Parish Church, where Margaret is a member, she got involved in researching the stories behind the soldiers listed on the church’s war memorial after a request from a Fife woman who believed three of her uncles were listed on the memorial.

Margaret continued: “Six months later we got an e-mail from Australia asking the same question and I thought it was interesting. I started delving in to the family tree and discovered the family in Australia had lost touch with family in Scotland.

“A year past October two sisters from Australia came over and had a reunion with Scottish relatives in our church.”

Margaret then went on to research the names on yet another memorial in the church, that of the John Watson School and once she completed that she turned her attention to Glamis.

“I thought I used to live Glamis, so why not give Glamis a go?” There were about 50 names on the Glamis War Memorial. I started researching them in March when I took photographs of the memorial.”

Margaret’s research involved looking up the Wargraves website and searching through the census of 1901.

She spent time sifting through records at Register House in Edinburgh and the Genealogy Library.

She found the research almost addictive commenting: “The more you find out, the more you want to find out.

“Because I lived in Glamis I could relate to a lot of the names, especially the farm names in the Glamis and Charleston areas. I didn’t delve in to their army records but was more interested in who they were, their age and their parents.

“There was no family connection for me with the war memorial but I felt that, having done all the research, I wanted it to go some place people could view it and thought the Angus Folk Museum at Glamis was more appropriate.”

Commenting on Margaret’s work Major Ronnie Proctor, Angus councillor for the Glamis area, said: “We are really grateful for all the work Margaret has done. She has done a lot of research and got in touch with me when she got stuck on a couple of Black Watch people so I gave her a bit of a hand pointing her in the right direction.

“She has presented a full copy of her work to the Glamis Church which will be on display in the Angus Folk Museum in Glamis, as well as details of the Black Watch soldiers for the Black Watch Museum.

“As well as photographs her research includes photographs of the war memorial, all the names and the background to each of the names of soldiers who were killed in World War One.”

“It’s absolutely brilliant. A colleague of mine, Fraser Brown and I go round local schools trying to bring the names on war memorials to life for pupils. The sort of research Margaret has done is very much part of what we do. This makes it much more interesting to the kids.”