Family Research – English, Scottish and Irish Genealogy

15/3/2008

HONOURED AFTER A CENTURY

A TRANENT-BORN soldier who died in battle is to be honoured with a place on the town’s war memorial – more than 90 years after his death.

The life and death of Robert Liddle Kilgour was uncovered by Edinburgh man Robert (Bob) Lawson, after a trip to the In Flanders Field war museum in Ypres, Belgium last November.

He told the Courier: “In my work with various youth bands and the Boys’ Brigade in Edinburgh I have visited Flanders museum a number of times over the years.

“I am always approached by volunteers who ask me to compile profiles of Scottish soldiers who died in the First World War and ask if I know any of their surviving relatives.

“By chance, I happened to know Robert Kilgour’s nephew, who provided me with a photograph of his uncle.

“I was able to compile an extensive profile on him using information from The National Archives.”

Scots Guardsman, Private Kilgour, was killed in action aged 24 on July 31, 1917, during the Third Battle of Ypres at Boesinghe, commonly known as Passchendaele.

Nearly 600,000 men were killed during the battle, known to historians as one of the bloodiest of the four-year conflict.
He is buried in the Artillery Wood Cemetery, north of Ypres.

Born in Station Cottage – which still stands today in Elphinstone Road – in February, 1892, Kilgour left Tranent as a teenager to work as a tinsmith in Edinburgh.

He enlisted in the Third Reserve Battalion of the Scots Guards in 1915 and nine months later he was transferred to France as a member of the First Battalion.

His nephew, Robert Kilgour MBE – named after the uncle he never knew – is 84-years-old and lives in Edinburgh.

“My father (George) only talked about my uncle Bobby occasionally so I don’t know much about him,” said the former Pipe Major. “It is a good idea and I am very grateful to Robert (Lawson) for his efforts in carrying this forward.”

After completing his research, Mr Lawson contacted Fa’side councillors Donald Grant and Kenny McLeod about the possibility of inserting Robert Kilgour’s name on the Winton Place war memorial in Tranent.

Mr Grant made enquiries and says he is confident that the insertion of Kilgour’s name will take place in the next few months.

He added: “The amount of work and research carried out by Mr Lawson is unbelievable but quite right. It’s just a shame that this soldier has been omitted in the past and it is fitting that he should be given a place on the memorial. Council officials from within the property department are making arrangements and it is currently one of their priorities.”

“It is hoped that once Kilgour’s name is engraved, a ceremony can be held to honour the fallen soldier”, added Mr Grant.

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