Monthly Archives: February 2014

Of Those Who Served

Most of us who have travelled in northern France and Belgium will have seen the many thousands of white crosses and the well tended graves for those who fought and died in the 1914-18 war. But not all who served died. A few – too few – survived.

1914-18 War – Of Those Who Served.


Sergeant 34834 Tom Garmory, Distinguished Conduct Medal, Freeman of the Borough of Kirkcudbright and awarded the Gold Medal by the Council of Troon. Served with 17th Service (Chamber of Commerce) Highland Light Infantry & 8th York & Lancaster Regiment.

Born 1893 at Kirkcudbright, the third son of Mr and Mrs Adam Garmory, nee Mary McGuffog, 61 Millburn Street, Kirkcudbright. Tom was taken to his first day at Church School, Kirkcudbright, 16th August 1897 by his father Adam, a local Roadman. On completion of his schooldays Tom served his apprenticeship as a grocer with Mr Ebeneezer Dalziel, 28-30 Castle Street and worked in Troon for a spell before answering the call to arms for the 1914-18 War.

Tom enlisted on 2nd June 1915 as Private 2985 with the 17th Highland Light Infantry (D Company). He landed in France in November 1915 and was wounded in action on 1st July 1916, the opening day of the Battle of the Somme. After recovering from his wounds he transferred to the 8th York & Lancaster Regiment and was promoted to Sergeant No 34834. Tom went on to serve on the Eastern and Western Fronts (Somme, Ypres and Italian Offensive).

In 1918 Tom was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for Conspicuous Gallantry in the North Italian Offensive.

“For a long period during operations Tom was responsible for guiding ration parties to their destination each night, and in spite of very heavy hostile shelling, he succeeded in getting all rations and stores through. On many occasions he went out alone to find lost parties, and always showed a complete disregard of personal danger”.

Article in the Dumfries and Galloway Standard of Wednesday 3rd January 1920 reads –

At Kirkcudbright Town Council Meeting – Sgt. Thomas Garmory, 3rd son of Adam Garmory was Honoured as Burgess of the Royal Burgh in honour of his record of distinguished and valorous conduct for which he received the DCM)” .

“3rd son of Adam Galmory, (Roadman) of Milburn St. Kirkcudbright…. 26yrs old ….Apprenticed with E. Dalziel (Grocer) of Castle St. Enlisted in Highland Light Infantry, Glasgow Chamber of Commerce Battalion. Went to France in November 1915″.

“He has shown himself to be a magnificent type of the young manhood of our country”.

Sergeant Garmory thanked and responded, “Similar action was done by hundreds every day during the war”.


“31st December 1924, Thomas Garmory  Millburn Street, was granted the Freedom of the Borough of Kirkcudbright and a Gold Medal from the Council of Troon”.

In 1923 at the age of 30 Tom married 22 years old Helen McConville Slavin of 5 Coalhill Avenue, Motherwell. They had daughters Helen Train Garmory in 1924, Mary McGuffog Garmory in 1925, Vera McGuffog Garmory in 1931 and son Thomas in 1934 followed by another daughter May Garmory in 1935/36. During this time Tom had joined Kilmarnock Co-operative Society and worked his way up to a position as Manager while living at Dalziel near Motherwell.

Tom Garmory, born Kirkcudbright June 23rd 1893 – died Dalziel nr. Motherwell March 14th 1940 aged 47…… His wife Helen died in 1986 at the age of 85.

Thanks are due to the Sons of Galloway for general wartime information – to family members Tom H Garmory, artist of Keeston, Pembrokeshire, Dr Kay Chadwick, Lecturer in French Language at Liverpool University and to Jeannette Millar, nee Garmory, Castle St. Kirkcudbright for help with my research.


crossanw41670Private 41670 William Crossan, Royal Scots Fusiliers
– wounded in July 1918

Born 11th Apr 1899, Kirkcudbright, son of Michael Crossan and Jessie McKinlay. William married Margaret Wilson in 1924.

William was called up for service in 1917 and served on the Western Front with the Royal Scots Fusiliers. He received a shrapnel wound to his leg in July 1918. He recalled that he hadn’t realised he had been hit till he looked down and saw blood pouring over his puttee. He sought permission to report to a Field Dressing Station but felt faint and ended up crawling through a field strewn with bodies. He said that he couldn’t tell if the bodies were British or German. Eventually Tom passed out and when he regained consciousness he was in a South African dug-out and they were giving him a cup of tea. Some pieces of shrapnel were to remain in his leg for the rest of his life.


bessie Thomson!Nurse Elizabeth (Bessie) Thomson, Kirkmabreck Voluntary Aid Detachment
– killed 30th September 1917, St. Omer, France

Daughter of Mr and Mrs Robert Thomson, St. John Street, Creetown. Member of Kirkmabreck Voluntary Aid Detachment.

Bessie volunteered for hospital service shortly after the outbreak of war and served at Old Mill Hospital, Aberdeen, before transferring to the 58th (Scottish) General Hospital at St. Omer, France. She was Mentioned in Despatches for her work. Bessie was killed by an enemy aircraft bombing raid on 30th September 1917. She is buried in Longuenesse (St. Omer) Souvenir Cemetery, plot VI.B.2 and commemorated on Creetown War Memorial.

Proudly we laud the deeds of sons so gallant,
Bearing aloft the banner of the free,
Yet must our tongues but weakly falter
When we would seek fit words to speak of thee.

Bravely as e’er went warrior to Valhalla,
Nobly the cross you bore upon your breast,
Faithfull “The Lady of the Lamp” you followed,
Supreme in sacrifice with martyred Joan you rest.

Sweet be thy sleep, dear Sister of Mercy,
Calm thy repose where so lowly you lie,
Bright is the halo around thee forever,
Thou art of the dead who never can die

Lines were dedicated to Bessie Thomson by John Barra, Creetown.


Driver 655664 John Gordon, Royal Field Artillery
– died 18th November 1918, Alexandria, Egypt, age 24

John Thomson Gordon was born in 1894 at Kirkcudbright, son of James Rae and Janet B. Gordon. John was employed in the Sheriff-Clerk’s office with his brother-in-law, Mr H Livingston, sheriff-clerk depute.

John enlisted as Driver 4262 with the Kirkcudbrightshire Battery of the Royal Field Artillery just prior to its mobilisation on 5th August 1914. He proceeded with this unit, part of the 2nd Lowland Brigade, 52nd Division, to Egypt, landing at Port Said on 20th June 1915. He took part in the operations in Egypt and Palestine, and was latterly attached to Headquarters Staff, 7th Indian Division.

Mrs Gordon received a telegram on 14th November 1918 stating that her son was dangerously ill from malaria, this being followed on the 20th by news of his death from pneumonia. John is buried in Alexandria (Hadra) War Memorial Cemetery, Grave C. 261 and is commemorated on Kirkcudbright War Memorial. His three brothers served and returned, James (KOSB) and Alexander (RFA) on the Western Front and George (Royal Engineers) in Egypt.


gibsonmMargaret Gibson, Voluntary Aid Detachment
– Mentioned in Despatches

Born May 1884, daughter of John Gibson and Marion Borland, Priestlands Farm, Troqueer.

Margaret was a member of the Voluntary Aid Detachment and saw service in France from 30 May 1916 to 23 Jan 1919. Few details of her service have survived but it is known that she served in a hospital in Rouen. Margaret was Mentioned in Despatches by Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig, dated 8 Nov 1918 ‘for gallant and distinguished services in the Field’.

While serving with the VAD in France, Margaret worked with Helen Tudhope. This led to her meeting Helen’s brother, William, the Director of Agriculture on the Gold Coast (now Ghana). Margaret married William Steel Dykes Tudhope on 7 Nov 1919, at Priestlands, Dumfries.

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Posted by on February 21, 2014 in out and about


Tenere does Gatehouse of Fleet

Sunshine at last! Time to get back in the saddle after a long lay-off —

To the Hills 008

Things are already going better than they did when I made my ‘comeback’ ride on her last summer —

To the Hills 009

That time I only got to the end of the road where I decided it was a ‘bum’ deal and took her home again —

To the Hills 005

The medics have had a few more months to graft – splice and titivate —

To the Hills 003

and I reckon after eighteen months of pain and pill-popping I’m almost sorted —

To the Hills 007

The Tall Ten has definitely put a song in my heart today —

To the Hills 012

instead of being a royal pain in the butt —

To the Hills 016

Meanwhile – out on the range the hill farmers have turned back the clock in pursuit of lean beef and it doesn’t come much leaner than the resurgent local Belted Galloway. They are blessed with a double-thick hairy coat instead of a layer of fat next to the skin to keep them comfy in our damp sou-west Scottish climate —

To the Hills 016

I enjoy my Galloway beef – when I can afford it – but neither a prince nor a pauper may eat the swan —

To the Hills 018

Only the queen is allowed to sink her gnashers into the royal burrd —

To the Hills 024

And what of the Bluebird hiding in the background? More like the Hummingbird as the miles increase and the once lumpy big single becomes much smoother. With four years and 18500mls on the clock she is beginning to feel run in —

To the Hills 014

Can’t believe how good it is to be back in the saddle because today’s trip was as much about road-testing me as it was about the bike —.

To the Hills 002

and after endless months of wondering if I would want to ride her again —

To the Hills 004

it’s just like old times back on my ‘Wandering Star’ 🙂

Tenere Tit-bits

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Posted by on February 16, 2014 in Uncategorized



Kawasaki ER6 Racer for the 2014 TT

I have put one Kawasaki Post on my blog prior to this one and it get’s so many hits I feel obliged to give you ‘Green Meanie’ chaps another.

It said it in the Belfast Newsletter so it must be true – Ryan Farquhar and Keith Amor have teamed up and are both to make a comeback at the 2014 Isle of Man TT riding Kawasaki ER6 Supertwin machines. I even managed to pirate a pic of the likely lads with one of the very smart little twins as built by Ryan seen here on the left —

Ryan Farquhar and Keith Amor

Tis a thing of beauty and I understand that Manx Gas and Brian McGrath of SGS International have provided the sponsorship to get the boys back on the Isle of Man roads. No doubt there will be a shakedown run out at the North West 200 prior to the TT if the team can find the necessary backing for it too.

Former Honda TT Legends rider Keith stepped away from racing in 2011 due to a shoulder injury so a low key run out on the Supertwin should be a nice way to re-live old times without having the pressure of riding for a top team on large capacity machinery.

Keith in his heyday on Honda TT Legends machinery —


Ryan retired in 2012 after the death of his uncle in the Manx Grand Prix that year while riding a Farqhar Supertwin Kawasaki so it hasn’t been an easy decision for Ryan to make a return to the roads.

Ryan ‘giving it some air’ at the Mid Antrim 150 on the day he scored a perfect hat-rick of wins —


But – like many before him Ryan has found that building race bikes as he has done for the past year is a seven day week job and the margins don’t always equate to a good living whereas the returns for one race entry while his name is still up there in lights can pay the bills for a month or two.

Let’s wish them both well and a safe return to the Manx roads.


Kawasaki ER6 Racer for the 2014 TT

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Posted by on February 12, 2014 in Uncategorized