Bank School Memorial

This memorial sits in what was the heart of the Craigbank mining community. It is reached from the roundabout on the A76 at Castle Primary School and following the B741 Dalmellington road for slightly over a mile. The monument sits in a small garden area beside the old schoolhouse on the right hand side of the road.

On the 26th of October 1922, Mr Cowan, the headmaster, called a meeting to establish if there was interest in erecting a memorial to the lads of Bank School who fell in the war. Mrs Jarvie and Miss McKinnon were duly appointed joint treasurers and secretaries with a remit to raise funds for a memorial.

It was unveiled on Sunday the 21st of May 1923 and the proceedings were reported in the Cumnock Chronicle of May 25th 1923

The inscription reads

In honour of the Bank School lads who fell in the
1914 – 1918

Andrew Armstong
Matthew Brown
Matthew Campbell
Robert Clapperton
William Collins
Maitland Crolley
Thomas Davidson
Thomas S Dick
Nisbet Gray
Andrew Hart
William Hill
William Hunter
John Jarvie
James Kerr
Robert Martin
Robert Martin
John B Melvin
George Millar
Robert Murray
David McClymont
James McCulloch
John Nisbet
Alex Rorrison
Hugh Samson
Robert S Seaton
George Sloan
James Stevenson
Alex Sweden
Richard Telfer
David Trotter
Matthew Watters
David McSephney

This cutting from an as yet unknown newspaper was sent in by Gladys Cuttle from Penpont, Dumfriesshire. It shows that the memorial was carved by Beattie and Co., Sculptors, Carlisle. Gladys came across this when she was visiting the still extant company on behalf of her own research into the Memorials of Nithsdale.


Of all the names listed on the memorial, the following do not appear on the village memorial – Andrew Armstrong, Matthew Campbell, Maitland Crolley, Thomas Davidson, William Hunter, John Jarvie, James Kerr, Matthew Watters and David McSephney. However, the Cumnock Chronicle article of above, gives the regiments which makes the search for the "missing" a bit easier.

Andrew Armstrong was the son of the Rev. James and Antonia Armstrong of New Cumnock. He was a private (S/18788) in the 5th Bn Cameron Highlanders and was killed in action on 21st October 1917. He is remembered at St Julien Dressing Station Cemetery, Langemark – Poelkapelle, W Flanders (CWGC)
The Rev James Armstrong was the Free Church minister of the Bank "Iron" Church at the end of the 19th century before the Rev Mechie came and the permanent Bank Free Church was built.

Matthew Hugh Campbell, Private, 203709, 8th Bn., Seaforth Highlanders, died 17th April 1918, aged 19. He is buried at Wimereux Communal Cemetery XI B 3 and was the only son of RQM Sgt. M Campbell (Royal Scots Fusiliers) and Mrs Campbell of Ayr.

When compared with this entry in the Bank School enrolment book - Matthew Campbell, born 2/11/1898, son of Matthew, Garrowscairn, enrolled 3/9/1906 from Prestwick and left on 1/11/1912 - there are plenty of similarities.

Maitland Crolley - there is only one on the CWGC database. Pte. Crolley, 8559, 2nd Bn. Cameron Highlanders, died 23/04/1915 and is remembered at the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, Panel 38 and 40. According to the above article, Maitland Crolley served with the R.S.F. He was born on 21st April 1891 and enrolled at Bank School on the 18th April 1904 from Old Cumnock and left on 30th June 1904. His guardian was his brother James of Craigbank.

Thomas Davidson - there are 4 in the CWGC database reported as being in the R.S.F.
Pte 17316 2nd RSF, remembered on the Thiepval Memorial
Pte 7246 1/5th RSF, buried at Twelve Tree Copse, Gallipoli
Pte 7130 1/4th RSF, remembered at Helles, Gallipoli
Pte 200776 1/4th RSF buried at Kantara

The Bank School Enrolment Book gives - Thomas Davidson, son of Allan, Connelpark, born 12/11/1894, enrolled 16/8/1904 from Parkhead School, Glasgow and left on 13/11/1908. Of the four Thomas Davidsons above, only one Pte 7130 Thomas Davidson was born in Glasgow.

Initials: T
Nationality: United Kingdom
Rank: Private
Regiment/Service: Royal Scots Fusiliers
Unit Text: 1st/4th Bn.
Date of Death: 12/07/1915
Service No: 7130
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
Grave/Memorial Reference: Panel 72 to 75.

William Hunter - the Soldiers Died in the Great War resource gives William Hunter born in New Cumnock, enlisted Kilmarnock and resident in Galston as Pte 15434, kia, Salonika 08/05/17. Transferring this to the CWGC gives
William Hunter, Private, 15434, 11th Cameronians (Scottish Rifles), died 8th May 1917and remembered on the Doiran Memorial, Greece

John Jarvie was a member of the teaching staff at the school and in all probability, the Mrs Jarvie in the photograph is his widow. The CWGC gives the following information
Jarvie, Second Lieutenant, John, 7th/8th Bn KOSB. Died of wounds received at Arras 17th April 1917. Remembered at St Pol Communal Cemetery Extension.
Age 30, husband of Jessie F Gillespie Jarvie of Ingleston, New Cumnock
He left Bank School to take up a post at Glenzier, Canonbie, Dumfries.

This is from the Kilsyth Chronicle of April 1917 and submitted by Jim Jarvie, Cumbernauld
“Telegraphic information is to hand that 2nd Lieutenant John Jarvie, KOSB, died of wounds at No 12 Stationary Hospital, France on the 17th April. The eldest son of Mr Alex Jarvie, Craigmarloch. Lieutenant Jarvie was school master at Glenzier, Canonbie, when he joined the Royal Scots in March 1915. He rose to the rank of Sargeant and then received a commission 11December last. He entered the Scholastic profession as a pupil teacher in Kilsyth Academy; subsequently he had an appointment in the New Cumnock district.
In the big push he had been seriously wounded in the neck, chest and Knee and the first information was to the effect that he had to undergo a very serious operation. Thirty years of age he leaves a widow and one child. Two brothers are serving in France.”

James Kerr - on the Kirkconnel memorial is 2nd Lt. James Kerr, 1/5th KOSB died 13/11/1917, age unknown and buried at Ramleh, Israel. There is every possibility that this is him as other New Cumnock men, Patrick McAtee and James McMillan, are also remembered on this memorial.

Matthew Watters was born on 28th March 1894, son of Henry, and enrolled at Bank School on on the 5th February 1902 from Dalleagles. He left school on the 30th March 1908. The family moved to Rankinston, another mining village not far from New Cumnock.
"Intimation was received by Mr & Mrs H Watters, 164 Rankinston (ed The Miners Rows), on the 9th inst (August), that their son, L/Cpl Matthew Watters, 7310, "A" Coy. 1/5th Battalion RSF., has been killed in action on the 12th of July in the Dardanelles. Young Mr Watters, who was a miner to trade, joined in August of last year and left with the Battalion in May 1915 for the Dardanelles. He was an exemplary youth taking a keen interest and helpful hand in all christian work, and when the call came for men, he was amongst the first to offer himself. It must be a source of comfort to his parents that his young life was used in trying always to influence for good the ones he came in contact with. He was 21 years of age."

In Memory of
"A" Coy. 1st/5th Bn., Royal Scots Fusiliers
who died on
Monday, 12th July 1915. Age 21.
Additional Information: Son of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Watters, of 33, Cairntable, Patna, Ayrshire.

David McSephney - there is only one on the CWGC database. Lance Corporal McSephney, 34947, 2nd Bn Royal Scots Fusiliers, died 26/03/1918 and is remembered on the Pozieres Memorial, Panel 34 and 35. He was 31 and the son of Richard and Eliz. McSephney of 5, East Shaw St., Kilmarnock. He is also remembered on the Kilmarnock town war memorial.
David was born on 19th February 1887, son of Richard, and enrolled in Bank School on 13th November 1892. He re enrolled on the 20th June 1898 from Dalleagles when his family was now at Craigbank. He left school on 19th February 1901.
George Sanderson, in his book "New Cumnock - Long Ago and Far Away" mentions a Richard McSephney as being a star quoiter (p59). In "Far and Away" (p137) David McSephney is mentioned as staying at High Boig. From the Bank School records, we learn that Alex McSephney, son of Richard left Bank and was transferred to Kilmarnock on 21st March 1913. Obviously, the family moved.

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