Riddle of ‘brothers’ killed in Great War
Can you help with information?
A plaque commemorating the pupils of West Coats primary school is to be returned to the newly refurbished building.
But the man behind the project hopes Reformer readers can help him solve a mystery.
Campbell Thomson, of the Lanarkshire Yeomanry Group, has been researching the 61 names that appear on the plaque and cross checking them with the names on the Cambuslang War Memorial.
In particular, he is seeking information about the Bryce family.
On the plaque is recorded the names of William Bryce and Farquhar Bryce. A check with the Cambuslang War Memorial failed to reveal either man and they are not recorded on the lists of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
Campbell was able to identify Farquhar as the same Farquhar Bryce who lived at Ardoch Gardens in Cambuslang.
Farquhar had enlisted at Hamilton in September 1916 when he was attached to the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. Medically classified as C2, he was passed fit for home duties only but in October 1917 he found himself in the trenches of the Western Front during the desperate winter of 1917/18.
Heavy rain was followed by driving snow while the soldiers were also subjected to poison gas.
In January 1918 Farquhar was admitted to hospital and eventually found himself back in Glasgow at Stobhill Military Hospital where he was diagnosed with TB.
He was discharged in May 1918 but died at home in October that year at the age of just 20.
His death was registered at Cambuslang by his aunt, JB Ireland, of Croft Road, as his widowed mother, Mary, was in no state to carry out the sad duty. He is buried in Westburn Cemetery without even the recognition of a Commonwealth War Grave Commission stone.
There is no service record for William Bryce but the census of 1911 lists a Mary Bryce who stayed on West Coats Road with her sons William and Farquhar.
Campbell, who has two grandchildren at West Coats, wants to know if the William Bryce named on the plaque is Farquhar’s brother.
He said: “During the research, I was repeatedly moved by the stories of those young Cambuslang men.
“Brothers and friends died during this terrible time and in several instances families lost all their sons. The least they deserve is to be remembered.
“It is tragic that Farquhar and William Bryce are not properly remembered. If not for the memorial in Westcoats Primary School, they would be completely forgotten.”
Campbell is hoping that a surviving member of the Bryce family can shed some light on this sad story.
He can be contacted at campbell. thomson@ live. co. uk or on 01698 382330.
Tribute The plaque will be returned to West Coats