War honour for 'forgotten soldier' 111


by Alexander Lawrie

A SCOTTISH soldier killed during WW1 has finally been honoured – more than 90 years after he fell on the battlefield.

Robert Liddle Kilgour died during the Third Battle of Ypres – more commonly known as Passchendale.

And the brave private’s name has been missing from his hometown’s war memorial ever since.

But that omission was rectified yesterday during a ceremony which was attended by some of Pte. Kilgour’s closest living relatives.

A specially cast bronze plaque bearing the Scot’s Guardsman’s name was attached to the sandstone ‘wayside cross’ memorial in Tranent, East Lothian.

The 22ft memorial was erected in the town’s centre in 1923, and features the names of the town’s 90 heroes who gave their life during both world wars.

The emotional ceremony took place on the 91st anniversary of Pte. Kilgour’s death.

Robert Kilgour MBE, 84, Pte. Kilgour’s nephew and a former Pipe Major, said: “Robert Kilgour was my father’s brother and I was not even a baby when he was killed.

“I didn’t know too much about Uncle Bobby, but thanks to Mr Lawson I have found out so much about his short life.

“I’m extremely grateful I can now come to Tranent and look at the war memorial and there’s a special plaque with his name on it.

“The family are delighted with today’s ceremony.”

The story of Pte. Kilgour was unearthed by amateur historian Robert Lawson who, during his research, discovered the soldier’s name was missing from the Tranent memorial.

Mr Lawson, 64, said: “I’m very pleased to see Pte. Kilgour’s name finally recognised. There has been a lot of hard work put into making today so special.

“It was quite a moving occasion because he was truly a Tranent lad and it was lovely to see so many people here to see his name remembered.

“It means a great deal to the family as they still feel bitter he was slain at the command of General Haig.

“It was a truly appalling battle that Robert Kilgour died in, and I’m just pleased he has finally been honoured today in this way.”

Once his research was completed, Mr Lawson contacted East Lothian Council and the area’s local councillors in an effort to rectify the missing entry.

Cllr. Donald Grant said: “Last November I received a letter requesting Pte. Kilgour’s name be put on the town’s memorial. 

“I contacted council officials and arranged for his name to be rightfully placed on the memorial today.

“The council were extremely glad to help in the family’s cause.”

Private Kilgour was one of 32,000 men killed during the Great Push on July 31, 1917.

He is buried in Artillery Wood Cemetery, north of Ypres.

His older brother John was also killed on active service in India, in 1909.

Born in Tranent in 1892, Kilgour left the East Lothian town as a teenager to work as a tinsmith in Edinburgh.

He joined the Third Reserve Battalion of the Scots Guards in 1915, and just under a year later he was transferred to France as a member of the First Battalion.

Pte. Kilgour fell on the battlefield on July 31, 1917, aged just 24.