The transcription of the Glasgow Roll of Honour 1914-1918 by the Scottish Military Research Group has made a valuable historical resource available online for the first time. This will enable genealogists, military historians, social historians and local Glasgow historians to study a snapshot of Scotland's biggest city from nearly 100 years ago.
Two of our members have worked on it for several years and the transcription was only recently completed. The late Kevin O’Neill and David McNay transcribed and double checked 17,695 entries which listed the name, rank, regiment and address of the men of Glasgow who died in the war. (There are no women listed but there are actually some men who survived the war listed!). There are original copies in the Mitchell Library and City Chambers in Glasgow, but this is the first time the Roll has been made available to the general public to own. It is now available to be downloaded for free.
Although this Roll cannot be seen as a completely true reflection of Glasgow’s sacrifice in the war because of the way it was collated, it does give a very good indication of the distribution of Glaswegians through the armed forces. For example it shows that approximately 21% of the men on the Roll were serving in the Highland Light Infantry (3,726 men). Not surprising for the City’s local regiment. A further 2,234 were in the Cameronians (Scottish Rifles).
The number of men who joined the Service battalions of the Highland Regiments is highlighted too with large numbers serving in the Cameron Highlanders (1,032); Seaforth Highlanders (795); Black Watch (442); Gordon Highlanders (724) and the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders (993)
Those men who had chosen to emigrate or work abroad before 1914 are listed too with 401 men serving in the Canadian Forces, 181 in the Australians, 44 in the New Zealand Forces and 25 with the South African Forces. There are even two Newfoundland Regiment men. Newfoundland was still a British Colony in the First World War, it wasn't part of Canada until 1949, and Alexander MacDougall of 105 Elder Park Street, Govan and William Maddock of 119 New City Road both served in the blue-putteed regiment attached to the British 29th Division.
At the other end of the scale are smaller units such as the Egyptian Camel Corps with two entries and the Nyasaland Force in which one Glasgow man, Private Leonard Dumelow of 16 Dudley Drive, Hyndland died.
Not surprisingly there are a large number of sailors listed. 812 men are listed under Royal Navy, Royal Naval Reserve and Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve. Many men are listed under the land-based Royal Naval Division and eight as serving on HMS' Indefatigable' which was sunk at the Battle of Jutland in 1916.
The Royal Naval Air Service, Royal Flying Corps and Royal Air Force are also represented with a combination of 178 entries in total.
Some well known names can be found within the Roll. One officer who can be found listed under 419 St Vincent Street is a surprise entry. Professional footballer and the British Army’s first black officer Walter Tull is believed to have visited Glasgow in 1917 to speak to Rangers about signing for them once the war was over. It’s not his football club but rather a family connection which sees him listed. His brother Edward Tull-Hunter lived at the St Vincent Street address.
Visitors to the new Riverside Museum in Glasgow will no doubt have seen the display on the Glasgow Tramways Battalion which features Company Sergeant Major George Cockburn. The Roll lists his address as 53 Barloch Street, Possilpark.
Although the Roll does not list any gallantry awards, some winners of the Victoria Cross can be found on the list. One in particular is Lieutenant Colonel William Anderson VC of the Highland Light Infantry. He is listed along with his three brothers Alexander, Charles and Edward who also died. All are listed under their father's address at 18 Woodside Terrace
It is the Scottish Military Research Group's intention that this Roll of Honour should be made available to view for free. It can be downloaded in pdf format where the names are listed alphabetically. It can also be printed for those who prefer a hardcopy book. Both the download and printed book can be found at the following website:
(With thanks to David McNay)