Appeal to trace names of Kirrie soldiers

The Kirrie reservists leaving for the front line.
The Kirrie reservists leaving for the front line.

An appeal has gone out to Dispatch and Herald readers to try to help identify faces in a poignant photograph dating from the First World War.

The picture shows a small contingent of Black Watch reservists from the Kirriemuir area leaving the town to serve on the front line and was discovered recently by local historian David Orr.

Mr Orr is currently researching the story of Kirriemuir man Charles Melvin, a private in the 2nd Battalion Black Watch who was awarded the Victoria Cross in 1917.

With the centenary commemorations of the First World War this year, Mr Orr is hoping that local people might be able to recognise their relatives in the photograph and be able to supply names.

He said: “We are trying to identify these 30 brave lads of the Kirrie Territorial Company who left the town square 100 years ago.

“We know from newspaper reports that prior to their departure a memorial service was held on the High Street where they were addressed by Rev. G.J Chree B.D. of the Parish Church and Rev. J.P. Noble of the North Free Church. The men were led to the railway station under the command of Sergeant Instructor Watson, but we do not have the names of any of the men who left for the front 100 years ago.

“We wonder if perhaps some folks have been researching their family trees they could help identify these men and what became of them? We know that Kirrie’s VC, Chay Melvin, was not amongst them as he had joined the army in 1907. You can clearly see part of the vast numbers of locals lining the streets, who had come to see them off to war headed by a piper.”

Anyone who has information about the photograph or any details about Kirrie’s contribution to the war effort can contact staff at the Gateway to the Glens Museum on 01575 575479 or e-mail