WW2 - Former Pupils' Obituaries

Short Biographical Notices of the Old Boys and Girls that
fell in World War 2.




ROBERT SIMPSON ADAIR, of Gatehead, was a pupil at Kilmarnock Academy from 1927 to 1939. He took the Leaving Certificate in 1938, and gained his Rugby Cap in the following year, when he was also a joint editor of The Gold Berry . He was a keen member of Kilmarnock Amateur Swimming Club. His ambition had been to follow a career in the Civil Service. Joining the R.A.F. as a volunteer in 1940, he became Sergeant Wireless-Operator. He was posted missing after a raid over Kiel on 24th June 1941 .


ROBERT JOHN ALEXANDER came to the Academy from Stewarton. In his four years as a pupil his quiet capabilities impressed both class-mates and teachers. He had intended to enter business as a hosiery manufacturer. He met his death in an air sortie over Japanese positions in Burma ; during the operation he piloted the leading aircraft and courageously pressed the attack until shot down. This was on the 17 th November 1944 .


ROBERT ARMOUR was a quiet, studious boy of solid ability, and a good cadet. Trained as an artificer in the Royal Artillery, he was posted to 74 Field Regiment R.A., a unit of the hard-fought 50th Division, with which he soldiered in Africa . With his regiment he landed in Sicily on the 10th of July 1943 , and was killed by shellfire on the 24th of July near Catania . He was twenty-four .


WILLIAM ARMOUR came to us from Grange School in 1931. A keen runner and a useful member of the Cadet Corps, he subsequently became a clerk with Ayrshire Electricity Board. He was a Sergeant Air Gunner with the RAF. when he was posted missing from a flight over the barren hills of the Red Sea , He was then twenty years old .


ALLAN BEATTIE passed his last two years of schooling at the Academy. He was a quiet boy who did well in his studies and was liked by everyone. He left school in 1933, to become eventually a clerk with the Saxone Shoe Company. He was killed on the 10th of July 1944 while serving with the 6th Bn. The Royal Scots Fusiliers in North-West Europe .


JOHN DOUGLAS BELL of Prestwick attended the Academy from 1908 to 1913. He was a Sergeant in the Cadet Corps. His chosen career was mechanical engineering, and he took the degrees of B Sc. and M.I.MechE. At the beginning of the Second War he joined the Royal Army Ordnance Corps and achieved the rank of Lieut.-Colonel. While arranging the evacuation of his unit from the beaches of Dunkirk , he was killed by an enemy dive-bomber. He was awarded the Military Cross.


ROBERT COCHRAN BOYD, of Barleith, won his Rugby Cap at school, and continued to play for Kilmarnock Rugby Football Club when on leave from the Army. He was a keen member of Kilmarnock Students' Charities Organisation and spent much of his spare time in helping individually to raise funds for the Infirmary. Commissioned in the York and Lancaster Regiment, he was killed while on motor-cycle instruction in 1941 .


CECIL JOHN BRICE died on active service with the R.A.F. in 1942. He had already made a career for himself in banking. He was a keen fisherman and a very good golfer. Latterly he became an adept of bridge, and had the honour of playing for Ayrshire in the Inter-County matches. He was of a kindly disposition and enjoyed a joke with his many friends. He left a wife and three young children .


FRANCIS GEORGE BURGESS attended Kilmarnock Academy from 1937 to 1940; formerly he had been a pupil of Spier's School, Beith. At Kilmarnock he won his Rugby Cap. It was as a Flying Officer (Navigator) of 272 Squadron R.A.F. that he was lost while attacking shipping in the harbour of Sestri Levante ( Gulf of Genoa ). The aircraft was shot down in flames and crashed in the sea. There were no survivors .


THOMAS McWHIRTER CALDERWOOD was training for a business career with Messrs. Howie of Hurlford when he left to join the R.A.F. immediately on the outbreak of War. He was a fine sportsman and, like his brothers, a first-class Rugby player. He did not return from a bombing raid over Osnabruck . The aircraft which he commanded was badly hit and on the homeward trip crashed in flames in Holland . He was twenty-two years old .


JAMES ANDREW CALDWELL had passed a Civil Service examination and had secured an appointment pending his release from service. As captain of a Hampden bomber raiding Düsseldorf he was shot down on the 28th of November 1941 . He was then twenty-one. A studious boy, liked for his quiet humour by many friends, he had been a keen member of the school Cadet Corps.


THOMAS TREVOR CHARLTON came to us from England . In his three years at Kilmarnock Academy he showed himself a fine Rugby player, distinguishing himself with the School XV, with Kilmarnock Rugby Club, and also with Ayr County . He was also a keen swimmer. As captain of a Lancaster bomber on the 29th of August 1944 he had successfully attacked his target at Stettin ; on the way home his aircraft crashed in Denmark .


WILLIAM CRINGAN was three years a pupil at Kilmarnock Academy . On leaving, he went to the Saxone Shoe Company, and studied keenly at night school with a view to entering the company's offices. He met his death as a private soldier of No. VI Commando in Tunisia , on the 26th of February 1943 . At this time the Americans had been forced to withdraw some fifteen miles in face of a vigorous German counter-attack. VI Commando, numbering three hundred, were thrown in to stem the onslaught. Less than a hundred of these gallant men survived .


JAMES HOWAT EDINGTON came to this country as a small boy, from Malaya . He spent twelve years as a pupil at Kilmarnock Academy , and left in 1939 to be indentured as a chartered accountant. He had won his Rugby Cap. Jim was wireless operator of s.s. Narva when she was mined and sank in a very rough sea on the 15th of January 1945 . He was twenty-four .


JOHN GIBSON was Editor of The Gold Berry in 1936-7. A keen swimmer, he won several medals for life-saving. His great hobby was photography. As a student he played a prominent part in the local Charities Day; in 1941 he was capped M.A. at Glasgow University , and immediately joined the R.A.F. The Blenheim bomber in which he served was presumed lost in the Mediterranean , off the Greek coast, in November 1941 .


JAMES GORDON GRAY left school in 1937 to become an apprentice analytical chemist. While at school, and till his death, he was a keen cricketer. Soon after joining the R.A.F. he became Warrant-Officer Pilot, and was killed in 1943 while testing a new Spitfire .


GEORGE TEMPLETON GUTHRIE was four years at Kilmarnock Academy , where he took part in a variety of school activities. Before joining the Royal Navy he had been training for the Civil Service. He was a Sub-Lieutenant R.N.V.R. on H.M. LCT. 427 (a Tank-Landing Craft) which was reported missing after the assault on the continent of Europe , 6th of June 1944. He was twenty-one years old .


HUGH GRAHAM HAMILTON came to us from Clydebank High School , and was a pupil at Kilmarnock till 1940, his chief interest being the study of engineering. He was a Sergeant in the crew of a bomber which failed to return from a raid over Darmstadt on the night of 26th August 1944 . At the time of his death he was aged twenty-one .


JOHN HEARS , of Stewarton, in the few years he spent with us, made many friends. His interests were in the main technical. Joining the RAF. early in the War he became a Flight Mechanic. He met his death in October 1944, while on a flight between two home stations .


JACK STUART HENDERSON had intended, on leaving school, to become a surveyor; but grimmer work awaited him. In the R.A.F. he quickly reached the rank of Flying Officer. He joined 25 Squadron, and as pilot of a night-fighter in operations against German pick-a-back planes he was shot down on the 7th of October 1944 . Jack had been married just a little more than a year. He did not live to see his little daughter, born in 1945 .


ROBERT HERRIES, a popular member of the “Lit,” was an apprentice with the Town Clerk of Kilmarnock when War broke out. Immediately after gaining the degree of B.L. in August 1940, he joined the R.A.F. Soon he became Pilot Officer and was posted so instructional duties at North Battleford , Canada . There, late in 1942, he was killed along with a pupil. His remains lie in the cemetery at North Battleford .


WILLIAM SMITH INGRAM spent four years at Kilmarnock Academy . A quiet and likeable boy, he left us in 1937 and was studying to be a quantity surveyor, He became a pilot in the R.A.F. and at Harrogate in 1944, died, as tragically as any, of a perforated gastric ulcer. He was twenty-three years old .


ALLAN JAMES NOLF JAMIESON was a good swimmer and a keen Cadet. His vocational interest lay in mechanical and electrical engineering. Pending his call-up to the R.A.F. he volunteered for work at Prestwick Airport . Subsequently he became a Sergeant Engineer in the R.A.F.; he was posted missing after the grievous raid on Nuremburg, March 1944, when ninety-four of our aircraft were lost .


DAVID JOYCE , a friendly and unassuming boy from Crookedholm, was a popular member of the Cadet Pipe Band. After joining the Army Air Corps, he trained as a signaller, and was dropped by parachute along with his comrades over France on “D” Day, the 6th of June 1944 . From that operation he did not return .


JOHN MacKENZIE LAW, a Dunlop boy, was six years a pupil of Kilmarnock Academy . Reserved and with a quiet friendliness of manner, he directed his interests early to technical matters. When he left in 1935 is was so become an apprentice with Messrs. Glenfield and Kennedy. He died in 1943 while a prisoner of the Japanese in Burma .


T. LINDSAY LEIGHTON came to us from Grange School and had not long begun his career of salesman when he joined the R.A.F. He quickly won promotion so the rank of Sergeant Pilot. It was on the 25th of April 1945 , a few weeks before his twenty-first birthday, that he lost his life in an aircraft accident in Egypt .


CHARLES LENNIE was a well-known member of Kilmarnock Academicals F.C. After leaving school he was for some time in the office of Annanhill Colliery. Before joining the army early in the War he was with the S.C.W.S. Building Department in Glasgow . He served for a short period as an infantryman, was transferred to the Royal Army Service Corps and posted to Singapore . He was killed there on the 14th of February 1942 , the day before the city fell to the Japanese .


JAMES GORDON RICHMOND LING , of Newmilns, left school to enter the Commercial Bank. He served for some time in the Kilmarnock office, and latterly at Irvine , whence he left to join the RAF. He was shot down with his crew in 1944, while piloting a Lancaster bomber on a raid over Nuremberg . It was his twenty-seventh operation; he was twenty-three years old .


GEORGE LINDSAY NEWALL LORIMER was among the very youngest of our casualties. He left school in 1940 to become an apprentice painter and decorator. He was a private soldier in the Royal Army Ordnance Corps, aged 19, when he met his death in a road accident on the first day of June 1944 .


CAMPBELL BOYLE LOVE came to Kilmarnock Academy from Kilmaurs School . He served his apprenticeship as a carpet weaver and later joined the Royal Army Medical Corps. The ambulance in which he was returning from the front with casualties overturned in a bomb crater and he was killed, on the 11th of September 1944 .


WILLIAM McCALLUM was formerly a pupil of Glencairn School , where he was Dux Boy. He was keen on all kinds of outdoor sport, and became a fine golfer. Apprenticed with the pottery firm of Shanks and Co., he was promoted charge hand in one of the departments. He joined the Fleet Air Arm (R.N.), and in July 1942 was lost while on reconnaissance patrol over the North Sea .


JOHN INGLIS McCRONE had not long left school when, in 1937, he enlisted in the Scots Guards, with which regiment he served till 1940. Transferring so the RAF. in 1941, he subsequently became Warrant Officer (Pilot). He met his death in action over Holland on the 4th of November 1944 .


GEORGE McCULLOCH McGAVIN had previously attended school as Shawlands Academy and Stewarton. He left us in 1936 to become an insurance clerk. A keen footballer and an amateur of running, he joined the R.A.F. (V.R.) early in the War, and became a Sergeant Air Gunner in 103 Squadron. He was killed on the 5th of May 1942 while making an emergency landing from night flying .


ROBERT MACKINTOSH McKAY, after six years at Kilmarnock Academy , served his apprenticeship at law with a Falkirk firm, and attended law classes at Edinburgh University . He joined the Royal Army Service Corps, and while serving as a sergeant with that Corps in East Africa he was murdered in February 1944 by a berserk native soldier. His remains lie at Nairobi .


DONALD GORDON MacKENZIE, after a short time as a pupil with us, became an apprentice engineer. His technical interests and skill proved of great value when he joined the R.A.F. (V.R.). He was Sergeant Engineer of the Lancaster bomber with which he crashed while on training in England , on the 10th of February 1945 .


GRETA GILLIES MacKENZIE attended Kilmarnock Academy from 1911 till 1924. After graduating M.A. she became an officer in the Ministry of Labour. When War came she took up Civil Defence work. She was killed while on duty at an A.R.P. post in Paisley during the enemy raid of 6th May 1941 .


DONALD WEAVER MacLEAN was eleven years with us, a quiet-mannered boy and a keen member of the School Cadet Corps. He trained as a wireless operator at the Caledonian Wireless College , Glasgow . As First Radio Officer of H.M.S. Tricula he went down with the ship in the summer of 1942. He was twenty-four .


JOHN McLEAN came to us from Bentink School in 1933. He was a keen footballer, and his favourite school subject was mathematics. On leaving School, he joined the L.M.S. Railway. War made him a private soldier in The King's Own Scottish Borderers. He died of wounds during the North African campaign of 1943 .


ARCHIE MITCHELL , of Newmilns, was an artist of promise even in his school-days. After taking the Diploma at Glasgow Art School , he became a teacher of his subject as Cumnock. A keen member of Kilmarnock Art Club, he exhibited in the Royal Scottish Academy at an early age. He died of wounds in Burma , a trooper of the 25th Dragoons .


JOHN MITCHELL , of Darvel, spent three years as Kilmarnock Academy before he went so Strathallan. He was a keen sportsman, a member both of Kilmarnock Rugby Football Club, and of Kilmarnock Cricket Club. He was training, under his father's direction, as manager of a textile mill. Within two days of the outbreak of War he had enlisted in the R.A.F. He died in 1944 of tuberculosis, contracted while serving in Iceland .


ROBERT MONTGOMERY enlisted in the R.A.F. (V.R.) in January 1940, and served therein until his death four years later. He was a Sergeant in a Lancaster bomber of 514 Squadron when reported missing from a raid over Germany . His remains were interred in the British Military Cemetery , Berlin .


WILLIAM DAVID MOORE served in both of the Wars against Germany . In the First War he served in France , and met there his former Greek teacher, the late Mr. D. A. Shepherd. He won the Military Medal in 1918. In the Second War he soldiered at Dunkirk , and was among the last to leave the beaches. He was a Captain in the Royal Army Medical Corps when killed in a road accident at Worksop, Nossa .


WILLIAM WILSON MORTON , of Newmilns, after a few years as Kilmarnock Academy , became an engineer. It was in this capacity that he entered the Air Force. He was reported missing from a bombing raid over Germany in December 1942. He was twenty-three years of age, and a Sergeant Engineer .


ANDREW MUIR spent six years with us; he was an enthusiastic cadet and a Sergeant in the Corps, a keen swimmer and Rugby player. He had a distinguished career in the R.A.F., joining the first Squadron to be formed of Pathfinder Force. After the first Thousand Bomber raid on Cologne he was presented to H.M. King George VI and awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. When he lost his life over Germany in 1944 he had completed fifty-six air operations .


MARGARET SHEILA GRACE MUNRO had begun her apprenticeship in law, but volunteered for the W.A.A.F. when eighteen years of age. At school she had won the Wyllie Prize for History. Soon after enlisting she served in London during the blitz as a radio operator. She was killed in 1942 while proceeding on duty to the Orkneys .


DAVID BLACK MURDOCH served his apprenticeship as a carpet-weaver after leaving school in 1935. After service with the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders in 1945 he joined the Parachute Regiment and was posted so the Second Battalion in North Africa . Late in 1942 he was notified as missing, believed killed, in an operation the details of which were not disclosed .


DONALD JOHN NICHOLSON , a Stewarton boy, left school in 1935 and was employed for some time as an insurance clerk in London . Soon after War was declared he joined the R.A.F. After training in Canada he returned to this country and was posted so South-East Asia . On an operational flight in July 1945 the aircraft of which he was navigator was hit and forced into the sea. The rescue craft failed to find him .


ROBERT ANDERSON PEACOCK , of Dunlop, was a promising schoolboy footballer. At the age of sixteen he had signed with Neilston Juniors and was playing with Kilbirnie Ladeside before he joined the Royal Marines in 1940. He was reported missing, believed killed, while serving with Force “Viper” on the Irrawaddy at Padaung in 1942 .


ROBERT PICKEN left school in 1939. He was an enthusiastic golfer; his prowess won him a cup in that year. After a short period of employment in the Public Assistance Office he entered the Navy. He lost his life on the 26th of December 1943 . On that day H.M.S. Saumarez , in which he was serving as a Petty Officer, took part in the action which led to the sinking of the German battleship Scharnhorst .


CLIFFORD PROPHET came to Kilmarnock Academy from Darvel. He was of a reserved nature, and his kindly disposition was best known by a few intimate friends. He went to Glasgow University in 1933, and graduated with First Class Honours in Classics in 1937. He then went to Jordanhill to train for a teaching career. Very early in the War he joined the R.A.F., and was killed on operations .


JAMES RIDLEY was a pupil of Kilmarnock Academy from 1928 to 1940. He was a good rugby player and a serious philatelist. He achieved the rank of Company Sergeant Major in the School Cadet Corps. After a short time as a laboratory assistant he entered the Army as a subaltern of the 1st Bn., The Royal Scots Fusiliers. He was killed while on patrol in Burma in 1944 .


ROBERT MacDONALD RONALDSON, of Girdle Toll, spent two years with us. On leaving school he joined the Police Force and gained the rank of Sergeant. Joining the R.A.F. early in the War he specialised in navigation. He was killed in a flying accident in 1943. He was then thirty years of age .


JOHN SCOTT , a Darvel boy, played football for the school. He was greatly interested in the Literary and Debating Society, and loved music. Enlisting as an infantryman he was soon commissioned and was posted to the 11th Bn. The Royal Scots Fusiliers. He was killed when a mine exploded during training .


ALAN BLACK SIM , of Stewarton, after two years as Kilmarnock Academy , went to work in his father's business. He later joined the Fleet Air Arm. While he was flying in the summer of 1944 from Machrihanish to Kirkwall to join H.M. Aircraft Carrier Victorious , the plane in which he was crew crashed near Crieff. He was twenty years old .


ROBERT BLACK SIM, elder brother of Alan, who also worked with his father in Stewarton, joined the R.A.F. (V.R.) at the beginning of the War. He became Sergeant Pilot. The aircraft which he commanded failed to return from operations over the North Sea , and he was posted missing, believed killed, on 11th August 1940.


JOHN JAMES SMITH, of Wyllieland, Fenwick, was six years with us and won the medal for Commercial Subjects. His ambition was civil aviation, but he spent two years as home on the farm before joining the R.A.F. Sergeant Pilot of a reconnaissance aircraft, he was reported missing from a photographic sortie over Holland in 1942 .


DON STRACHAN, eleven years a pupil as the Academy, was a violinist in the School Orchestra and entered generally into all school activities. He left in 1937 to become a motor mechanic. As Petty Officer at the Royal Naval Barracks, Devonport, he was killed during an air raid in 1945. He was twenty years old .


JOHN CALDERHEAD BRUCE STRANG, after five years in the Academy, became an Assistant Sanitary Inspector with Ayr County Council. By this time War had been declared. He entered the R.A.F. and trained as an observer. He was Sergeant Observer in a bomber which did not return from operations over Duisburg , the presumed date of his death being 31st of August, 1943 .


ADRIAN ARCHIBALD TAYLOR left school in 1936 to train as a marine engineer. He was therefore destined for the Merchant Navy. In 1941 his ship, s.s Empire Citizen was torpedoed amidships during an Atlantic gale, and no lifeboats were cleared. It is believed that Adrian, who was Fourth Engineer of the ship, never left the engine-room .


ALAN WATSON THOM was with us from 1934 to 1940. At Cambridge University he gained a First Class in the Engineering Tripos, then went to research as the Royal Aircraft Establishment, Farnborough. He was one of the most brilliant young men in the department of High Speed Flight. His death was tragic with the irony of War: after much dangerous work in the testing of the Meteor jet prototype he was killed in a crashed transport plane .


CRAWFORD HOGARTH THOMSON, when he left us, became a registered architect. On the outbreak of War he joined the Royal Navy. On his second Atlantic trip his ship was torpedoed some four hundred miles off Iceland . After fourteen days in an open sailing boat the survivors reached Iceland , where the people treated them with great kindness. Six weeks after the rescue, however, he died of pneumonia .


MAXWELL WALKER joined the Royal Navy in 1933 as Engine-Room Artificer. He gained a first-class certificate and sailed in 1938 to Singapore as crew of H.M. Tug St. Jost . After some time in Hong Kong he was posted to Alexandria where he joined H.M. Submarine Regulus . This vessel was presumed sunk while patrolling in the Straits of Otranto in December 1940 .


THOMAS JACK WALKER, of Prestwick , was a pupil as Kilmarnock Academy from 1930 to 1933. On leaving school he became a motor mechanic. Early in the War he joined the R.A.F. and achieved the rank of Flight Sergeant. He was posted missing from operations over Essen in March 1943 .


THOMAS WALLACE , a pupil from 1931 to 1934, was an apprentice watchmaker when he joined the RA.F. After a spell as instrument repairer with a fighter squadron, he trained as a fighter pilot and late in 1942 was posted to Malta . The German assault on the island was as its height when, on 23rd November 1942 his aircraft was shot down and crashed in the sea .


WILLIAM WALLACE, after four years as the Academy, served as an apprentice draper with a view to entering his father's business. He joined the R.A.F. (V.R.) and as Sergeant Air Gunner was eventually posted to 358 Squadron ( South-East Asia ). As the end of his first tour of operations he was killed while flying in a Liberator on test .


HUGH RAMSAY WARK spent all his schooldays at Kilmarnock Academy , where in his final year he won a Shaw Prize. When he joined the Army he was studying commercial subjects with a view to qualifying as chartered secretary. He was a lieutenant in the Royal Artillery when killed in Burma at the Battle of Arakan, February 1944 .


JAMES WILLIAMSON, of Crossroads, spent five years with us. He was keen on athletics, and won the cricket ball event at the school sports. He joined The Royal Scots Fusiliers and was a Corporal of the 11th Bn. when killed in action in 1944. He was twenty-eight years of age .