Forgotten war hero gets recognition a century on

Bearsden War Memorial
Bearsden War Memorial

A retired police sergeant has successfully campaigned for a forgotten Bearsden war hero’s name to be included on the Scottish National War Memorial (SNWM).

Amateur historian Patrick Anderson became fascinated with World War One after researching his uncle who served in the Black Watch and died in 1921 of battle wounds sustained in June 1918.

The latest intriguing story he’s uncovered concerns 2nd Lieutenant John Stevenson of the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) who was born in Killermont House in 1882 and brought up in Bearsden.

He tragically died at the age of 28 on February 3, 1918, while taking part in a training exercise with 36 Training Squadron in Montrose.

Patrick explained: “A few months ago a friend of mine, Griselda Fyfe, informed me that a Glenalmond College’s Register of former pupils recorded this World War One casualty

“I found that he was listed on the War Graves Index but not on the Scottish National War Memorial at the Edinburgh Castle.”

Once Patrick tracked down his birth certificate he then discovered a wealth of information, including that his father, John Young, was a coal master, and that he attended Kelvinside Academy and Glenalmond College before becoming a mining engineer.

He added: “I then found that he had not served overseas in the war as he had no war medals issued for the 1914-1918/19 war and it seems his mother may have applied for them as her name is on the Medal roll with an address of Marston, Bearsden.

“I found also the RFC casualty card and he was flying a Sopwith Camel at RFC Montrose airfield.

“When the RFC Court of Enquiry examined the witnesses and the wreckage they were of the opinion that the accident was not due to the fault of the machine but was possibly due to the pilot having lost consciousness.

“The machine was seen at 12.25am spinning at 1,500 feet and may have been spinning from a considerable height which may have caused the pilot to lose consciousness.”

Although the death was not during battle it was war-related, meaning that he was eligible to be included on the SNWM.

Patrick made the request and was soon notified of his success.

He said: “I received a communication from Lt Col Roger Binks informing me that John Young had been accepted as a casualty and in due course the rolls for the public viewing will be updated and the SNWM website too would list this Casualty of war of 1914-1918 .

“I am so pleased to have had his help to add another cosualty with documentation from me.”