Poignant tales of WWI sacrifice at exhibition

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The stories of Milngavie and Bearsden soldiers who fought in World War One are central to a new exhibition marking the conflict’s centenary.

Captain Purves Kirsop from Bearsden and Corporal William Boyd, from Milngavie, are amongst a number of servicemen who are honoured in the King and Country exhibition at the Auld Kirk Museum, Kirkintilloch.

Kirsop went straight from school into the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders, but was injured in the Gretna railway disaster of 1915 which kept him out of the war in France while he recuperated.

In 1916 he was sent to the front and was awarded the Military Cross for his bravery and, because of the high mortality rate, promoted to captain in October that year.

He survived the war and returned to Bearsden afterwards where his family had a long association with the area.

After surviving the horrors of World War One, Captain Kirsop was tragically killed in 1940 following the outbreak of World War 2 and his name appears on the Bearsden Cross war memorial .

His brother Conrad also served in The Great War as a captain, but was killed while on active service in October 1917 in Palestine.

The exhibition shows a number of letters written at the front to family back home and an old black and white picture of Captain Kirsop.

Lance Corporal William Boyd was born in 1889 and lived in Milngavie until enlisting into the 5th Battalion of the Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) at the age of 21 in 1910.

He was posted to various camps in Scotland, England and Ireland throughout the war, before being sent to the Somme in January 1917.

After a period of illness spent in Britain, he returned to France in June 1917, where he fought in the third Battle of Ypres.

On March 25 1918, he was captured in Nesle and taken to a German camp, where he remained for eight months as a prisoner of war.

The exhibition has copies of some of the letters he sent back to his mother and father, and brother who was also on active service.

These letters give people a fascinating insight into the time spent there.

After the war Lance Corporal Boyd was commended for keeping up the spirits of his fellow soldiers amidst the horrors of the trenches and in the POW camp.

Peter McCormack, the museum development officer, said: “We have had a great response from people in the area when we asked for information and items.

“I would like to thank them.”

The exhibition runs until Thursday, April 24 and is free to enter.