A fascinating article from the Lennox Herald, which just goes to show there's information still out there, waiting to be discovered.
I know myself that there are still hidden treasures out there. I remember the feeling when I was looking through a bundle of documents at the Lloyds Banking Group Archives (or the HBOS Archives as it was at the time) and found the complete list of all the men from the British Linen Bank who had served in the First World War. A complete record with details of every man, and the staff at the Archives had never known it was there...
Unique pieces of wartime history were discovered in old boxes at Vale of Leven Academy after almost a century.
The treasure trove contained records of former pupils who died in World War I, which were handwritten by Duncan McIntyre, who was headmaster at the time.
The treasured logs, which are still in great condition, list the names of 56 young men and four staff members who died fighting for their country.
Head teacher Catriona Robertson stumbled across them last year as she unpacked boxes shortly after moving into the new school building.
As the area prepares to commemorate our war heroes this Sunday, Vale of Leven Academy staff feel it would be a fitting tribute to display these historical artefacts for all to see.
Deputy head teacher, Nick Quail, said: “It’s an important piece of local history and, rather than these records sitting in a box for another 100 years, it would be nice if they could be displayed somewhere locally.”
The wartime headmaster had clearly researched thoroughly when compiling the names of those who had died and their names now feature on a special wartime plaque which sits at the school entrance.
As well as alphabetically listing the names of all former pupils and staff, Mr McIntyre also noted which regiment soldiers served in and, in some cases, how, where and when they died. They would have been written shortly after the war, which came to an end in November 1918, however there are no exact dates on the old documents.
The first entry in the fascinating book reads: “James Angus, 14th A & S.H - died 2nd May, 1917 (France).”
Others listed include private Francis McKinlay, of the 5th/6th Royal Scots, who was killed in Belgium on July 15, 1917, as well as captain John F Steven who died of shellshock in June 1918.
Mr Quail told the Lennox Herald: “We’ve got pupils with many of the same surnames at the school so there are probably some relations.
“The school leaving age back then was 15, so many of these people who died would only have been the same age as some of our fifth and sixth year pupils now.”
Other documents kept in the boxes included a list of people in the community who contributed towards the cost of the school’s war memorial, which was an expensive £150 at the time.
Some of those listed include William J Kippen, William Anderson, of Tullichewan; Major Adair Campbell, and Belle Westland.
A newspaper clipping from the Lennox Herald in June 1919 reporting on the unveiling of the war memorial by Sir Iain and Lady Colquhoun of Luss was also included.
It reads: “Sir Iain Colquhoun said they were met that day to commemorate the deaths of these brave lads who had answered their country’s call.
“They had gone gladly to fight their country’s battles, never to return. It was a terrible thing to think so many young men cut down in the prime of their lives and their relatives had his deepest sympathy.”
Vale of Leven Academy’s 2010/11 school captains, Ross McCorrisken and Rebekah Watson, along with vice captains Kaitlyn Ward and Scott Stewart, are volunteering to help with Remembrance Day events in the area. Several other pupils are also lending their support as part of their citizenship awards.