The Moniaive Territorials 1912-1914

The first week of August 2004 is the 90th anniversary of one of the most momentous weeks in history. In common with the Territorials from towns and villages all over the country the Moniaive Territorials mobilised and marched off to their Drill Hall in August 1914 (see Glencairn Gazette Feb. 2000).

At a Territorial recruiting meeting in Moniaive in December 1912, thirteen names were handed in following an address by Captain Youngson, Adjutant of the 5th Battalion The King’s Own Scottish Borderers. The meeting was also attended by Captain Walker, Major McCall and Captain Monteith.

A few months later the Pipe Band of the 5th Battalion under Pipe Major Ancell and a recruiting detatchment under Lieutenant Dykes and Sergt. Major Johnson visited Moniaive. They arrived on the 3.53pm train from Dumfries on 29 March 1913, where they were met by six recruits from the Moniaive section. They then marched through the streets ‘to the stirring music of the pipes and roll of the drums’ to the village hall. Here they were inspected by Major McCall of Caitloch who spoke of the need for more recruits. He was thanked by Lieut. Dykes. The local section accompanied their visitors to the 7pm train and gave them ‘a hearty send-off’.

The Moniaive section attended the 1913 Territorial summer camp at Doonfoot, near Ayr, where they did well in the sports. In the section drill competition ‘the second prize was awarded to A Company. This section was made up of the Moniaive men, who gained 19.25 points. Much credit is due to the second prize winners, as they are all first year’s recruits… In the four legged race the first prize was carried off by three of the Moniaive men… Pte. Seaton, Lance-Corpl. Neilson, Pte. Henderson, A. Coy… The tug-of-war proved itself to be the most exciting of all the events, both for the spectators and for the teams entered. A Company Moniaive section, after some strenuous pulls, met C Company in the final. Both teams were well matched, and after a very stiff and trying pull A Company had to give in to their opponents.’

In November 1913 the Moniaive section held a dance attended by some sixty couples including Lieut. Dykes and Lieut. Gibson among the representatives from A Company, Dumfries. Dancing began at 8.45pm and after the visitors from Dumfries left at 2am, dancing was resumed until 4am.

A recruiting party under Serg. Major C. Johnson was in Moniaive on 2nd March 1914 when Simon Common enlisted, giving his apparant age as 16. He was 14 years old.

The success of the dance led to another one in March 1914 where ‘the Territorials in dress uniform intermingling with the other dancers presented quite an interesting spectacle’. With two breaks for refreshments served by Mrs Bisset ‘dancing was kept up with great vigour until about four o’clock’.

A few weeks later eleven members of the section paraded for the funeral of one of their number – Henry Muirhead, who worked at Crawfordton where his father was a ploughman. They marched to Crawfordton, in dress uniform, and accompanied the hearse to the churchyard.

In July 1914 the 5th Battalion’s summer camp was again at Doonfoot, Ayr, and by the time the men dispersed to their homes, by train from Alloway on 1st August, rumours of the war were rife.

On 3rd August Belgium asked for assistance and an ultimatum was sent to Germany by Britain. As no reply was received, Britain was at war and mobilised the Territotrial Force on 4th August.

From 5th August local newspaper reporters had a field day describing the movement of soldiers and horses from towns and villages to Dumfries.

‘All the outlying detachments will join the headquarters companies at Dumfries, and it is probable that the mobilisation will not be completed for two or three days, as the county contingents may march to the depot, no expenses being allowed for train fare… Each man, however, is allowed £5 for kit’.

‘The Moniaive detachment will arrive today.’

‘The Moniaive men arrived last night, having marched the distance in a very few hours.’

‘The Moniaive detach-ment arrived on foot on Wednesday evening.’

‘During the past few days officers from the remount department of the War Office have been busily engaged in Dumfriesshire and the Stewartry impressing horses required for the cavalry regiments, yeomanry and artillery.’

‘Several of the local flower shows are being abandoned for the season owing to the war. Auldgirth, Thornhill, Moniaive, Beattock and Eaglesfield are among the number.’

‘When the 5th K.O.S.B. Territorials were asked whether or not they were prepared to go for foreign service, the battalion stood forward to a man.’

© A.B. Hall


Dumfries and Galloway Standard;

Dumfries and Galloway Courier and Herald;

Kirkcudbrightshire Advertiser

Moniaive Section 5th K.O.S.B. 1912-1914

Pte. Simon Common 1524 Killed in action 21 July 1918 France

Pte. J. Dalziel

Pte. William Dalziel 240201 Killed in action 19 April 1917 Gaza

Pte. D. Grierson

Pte. James Henderson 1152 D.C.M. 12 July 1915 Gallipoli

Pte. W. Kirkpatrick


Pte. Fred Lockerbie 240287 Died of wounds 15 Nov 1917 Palestine

Pte. William McFegan 1150 Killed in action 12 July 1915 Gallipoli

Pte. Henry Muirhead Died 1914 Home

Pte. John Neilson 1154 Killed in action 13 July 1915 Gallipoli

L/Cpl. Thomas Neilson 1156 Killed in action 7 July 1915 Gallipoli

Pte. Thomas Seaton 140139 Wounded: D.C.M. 1 May 1918 Auga

Pte. Henry Todd 1408 Killed in action 12 July 1915 Gallipoli

Pte. Samuel Todd Wounded 1917 Palestine

As no army records have come to light, this list may be incomplete