Attention! This cup has finally come home!
It’s not often that something finds its’ way home after 105 years – but this cup has just made the long journey back to Kilmarnock Academy from Canada.
This fine trophy was won by the school’s Cadet Corps at the Scottish Command Naval & Military Tournament in 1905, as first prize (tent pitching).
The Cadet Corps at the school had been established some four years earlier by Captain (later Lieutenant-Colonel) David Yuille, TD, JP, a member of the Territorial Army (1st Volunteer Battalion, Royal Scots Fusiliers), former pupil, and at that time a primary teacher at the Academy. It is believed that this Corps was amongst the first to be established at a state-aided school in Scotland. The uniform consisted of “…a Norfolk-type jacket with shoulder-straps but no facings, knickerbockers of a neutral tint, stockings to match, and a het similar to that worn by Australian troops.” The War Office also issued waist-belts, greatcoats and “…Martini rifles or carbides rendered innocuous with short bayonets”.
By the time of the 1905 Tournament, the company consisted of approximately 70 boys, and the School Cadet Corps was to run through two world wars before finally disbanding in the 1950’s. Many former pupils whose names appear on the school’s war memorial had previously received initial training through the Corps.
David Yuille became Master of Method at the Academy - in charge of training pupil teachers – and was soon promoted to the post of Head Teacher (Elementary School). In the 1914-18 war, where he held the rank of Major and Quarter-Master with the 4th Royal Scots Fusiliers, he served throughout the Gallipoli campaign, as well as in Palestine and France, where he was twice mentioned in dispatches. This was despite his relatively advanced age, being 43 at the outbreak of war.
Mr Yuille was appointed Headmaster of Bentinck School in 1925, a post he was to hold until retirement in 1933. He continued his links with the school Cadet Corps, however, and was appointed Colonel of the Ayrshire Cadets Association, and in the early years of the 2nd World War was promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel, Welfare Officer, all troops in Ayrshire.
Throughout all this time, it is believed that the trophy was kept and cherished by him – and when he died in 1942, it was inherited by his son, also David. David Senior is buried in Symington churchyard. David junior was at the time serving in the Royal Scots Fusiliers – as a former pupil of Kilmarnock Academy he had, of course, begun his military career with the Cadet Corps. Major Yuille saw action in France, India, Madagascar, the Middle East, North Africa, Cyprus, Malta, Sicily and Italy, and upon demob trained as a chartered surveyor.
David junior emigrated to Canada in 1957, and worked for the Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation in Ottawa for most of his career, apart from a spell in the Bahamas. One of his many interests was bowling, and so when his club, the Ottawa Lawn Bowling Club needed a new trophy for best young bowler in 1995, the Cadet Corps Cup was given a new life and a new name.
David Junior died in 2008, and the club decided to “repatriate” the trophy to its’ spiritual home.
So what do the school intend to do with their new possession? Said Head Teacher Carole Ford: “Well, we don’t do much tent-pitching around here any more – and we don’t have our own bowling club. Between them, however, the two Yuilles had major interests in photography, bee-keeping, early church history, genealogy, music, golf, gardening and DIY, so we do have a few options! David senior was a past President of the Kilmarnock Burns Club, and its’ secretary and treasurer for many years. His gravestone is inscribed with the Burns quote ‘A gentleman in word and deed’ - so we might award the trophy on Burns Night for best recital.”
(Pictured, Carole Ford, Head Teacher of Kilmarnock Academy, and Stephen King, School Librarian & Archivist.)
- David Yuille senior’s obituary, with picture, appeared in the Kilmarnock Standard on 4th July 1942.
- His decoration “TD” probably stands for “Territorial Decoration” – a service medal awarded between1908 and1930. He was also a JP, and was elected a Fellow of the Educational Institute of Scotland.
- David junior died on April 5th, 2008 – I have a copy of his obituary from a local Canadian paper, and a photo of him presenting the cup in 2001-02. According to this, he still has a sister living in Perth and a niece in St Andrews. His wife was still alive in 2008, and he had two daughters, a son, four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, all in Canada. We have regular mentions of him in the Gold Berry, but no school photo’s as yet (still looking!)
The inscription on the cup reads:
NAVAL AND MILITARY TOURNAMENT
SCHOOL CADET CORPS COMPETITION
PRESENTED BY COLONEL GROVE, C.B.
CHIEF STAFF OFFICER
CADET CORPS 1/V B.R.S.F.
19 January 2010