Falkirk Football Club - World War One

Falkirk Football Club - World War One

In Memoriam

I so far know of nine former Falkirk players who perished in "The Great War", this is in no way exhaustive and will continue to look.

The War Memorial, Falkirk

James Conlin

b 6th July 1881, Consett, Durham
d 23rd June 1917, Flanders, Belgium

War Memorial at Nieuwpoort, Belgium

Known Football Career – Captain Colt's Rovers, Cambuslang Hibernian, Airdrie St Margarets, Falkirk [1899/00-1900/01], Albion Rovers [1900/01-1904/05], Bradford City [1904/05-1905/06], Manchester City [1906/07-1910/11], Birmingham City [1911/12], Airdrieonians [1912/13], Broxburn Athletic [1913/14]

Falkirk Mail - 7th July 1917


Mrs Conlin, Coatbank St, Coatbridge, has received a letter telling him of the death in action, on 24th June, of her husband Pte. James Conlin, H.L.I. Pte. Conlin was a well known sportsman and for some time played with Falkirk Club. It was with Albion Rovers, however, that he attained fame and thereafter played with Bradford City. He was capped twice for England in one season in the Association and League Internationals against Scotland. He was also at one time in the Manchester and Birmingham elevens. On his return to Scotland he played with Airdrie for one season.

Robert Graham

b c1884
d 31st May 1916, HMS Invincible, North Sea [Battle of Jutland]

War Memorial at Portsmouth, England

Known Career – Camelon Juveniles, Laurieston Juniors, Falkirk Juniors, Falkirk [1904/05-1905/06], Leicester Fosse

The Falkirk Herald - 10th June 1916


Camelon Man on Board

Chief Petty Officer Robert Graham

Information has come to hand to the effect that Chief Petty Officer Robert Graham, H.M.S. Invincible, is not included in the list of survivors. His parents, Mr and Mrs Robert Graham, who reside at 4 Arbuthnot Street, Camelon, Falkirk, received the sad news from the deceased's widow, who was officially informed of his death by the Naval Representative of Leicester, where deceased resided.
Chief Petty Officer Graham, who had been about seven years in the Navy, served first on the Roxburgh, and while on another ship at Portsmouth he attended a Torpedo School to study electricity. He was since then, for over four years, attached to the Invincible, and was then promoted to Chief Petty Officer in the Torpedo Department. In January 1915, he was on board the Invincible when it was engaged with the German Navy off the Falklands Islands, and afterwards he sent home a vivid description of that naval engagement. This sometime later, was published in the Falkirk Herald.
It may be mentioned that not later than three weeks ago Chief Petty Officer Graham was home on furlough and in Camelon for a short time. Prior to enlistment, he was employed as an engineer with Messrs Sharp & Sons, engineers, Camelon, where he served his apprenticeship. Deceaced was an enthusiastic footballer, and in the early days of professionalism played for Falkirk Football Club. He had had a place in both first and second elevens. He was 32 years of age, and a widow and child survive him. Two of his brothers are serving with the Scots Guards. Alexander has been in the regiment for seven years, and at the battle of Loos was wounded. His brother Allan has been for over four years in the Scots Guards, and he also was in the famous charge at Loos, where a bullet entered his neck and made its way to his stomach, where it still lodges.

The Newcastle Daily Journal - 13th June 1916

A Scottish Junior International Killed

Footballers have played their part nobly in the great international battle, and to the long list of players who have made the supreme sacrifice has to be added the name of Robert Graham, one of "Jocky" Simpson's first partners at Falkirk. Graham, who was 32 years of age, was an electrical artificer on board H.M.S. Invincible, and went down with his ship in the great naval battle off Jutland.
A native of Camelon, Graham played for Scotland in the Junior International match in 1902-03, and after assisting Falkirk, where his association with Simpson secured the designation of the "Jock" wing, he went to Leicester Fosse. Three years ago he married a daughter of Mr E. Benn, a member of the Fosse Board of Directors, and he leaves one child. A sailor colleague, who acted as best man, was killed in the same battle.

Alexander Johnston

b c1880
d 17th August 1917, Flanders, Belgium

War Memorial at Ieper, Belgium

Known Football Career – Falkirk Amateurs, Falkirk [1899/00], Camelon [1900/01-1903/04], Falkirk [1904/05-1905/06]

The Falkirk Mail - 15th September 1917


News was received on Sunday by Mrs. A.B. Johnston, 18 Garthall Place, Falkirk, to the effect that her husband, Acting Bombardier Alexander Johnston, R.G.A., had been killed in Flanders on the 17th August.
The Bombardier was well-known in Falkirk and District, having been for fully 20 years in the Falkirk Post Office, and latterly as a postman. He joined the R.G.A. in June 1916, and was transferred to France about two months ago. He was 37 years of age.
At one time Johnston was a prominent member of the old Falkirk football eleven and for some time was also associated with the old Camelon team. He was of a cheerful disposition and very popular with his colleagues and with the general public. He is survived by his widow and a young family.

Andrew McCrae

Sorry, I have found no picture of Andrew McCrae
whilst at Falkirk FC, this is him at Queen's Park in 1913/14

b c1887, St Andrews, Fife
d 17th November 1915, Galipolli, Ottoman Empire

Known Football Career – Denny Athletic, Falkirk [1910/11-1912/13], Queen's Park [1913/14-1914/15]

Edinburgh Evening News - 25th November 1915


Information has been received in Falkirk that Corporal A.B.McCrae, Lovat Scouts, has been killed in action at the Dardanelles. Corporal McCrae was formerly a well-known footballer having played for Queen's Park and Falkirk. Prior to enlisting he was employed by a Falkirk firm of writers.

John Ramsay

b c1897, Grangemouth, Stirlingshire
d 28th April 1917, Arras, France

War Memorial at Arras, France

Known Football Career – Falkirk [1914/15]

The Falkirk Herald - 12th May 1917


Mrs. Ramsay, 124 Dundas Street, is the recipient of a letter from a naval officer, which states that her son, A.B. J.B.Ramsay, R.N. division, 20 years of age, was on 24th April killed while on active service. The letter reads: "He was killed in one of the most difficult actions the R.N.D. have ever been in, and he died like a Scotchman. He was a good lad, liked by men and officers alike, willing and obedient. You must be justly proud of your son." This young sailor was through the Dardanelles campaign, having been a year and nine months on active service, and two years this month with the Navy. He was very well known as a football player for Falkirk, and originally worked in the boatyard.
This is the second son Mrs Ramsay has lost through the war, another son, Alexander, being also fatally wounded while in action with the R.N.D. some time ago. Another son was discharged through his extreme youth, but expects to be called up again, and her husband is serving in France.

James Sharp

b c1894, Denny, Stirlingshire
d 26th April, 1915, Flanders, Belgium

War Memorial at Ypres, Belgium

Known Football Career – Grange Rovers, Falkirk [1913/14]

The Falkirk Herald - 15th May 1915

Private James Sharp

Private James Sharp was also attached to the 7th A & S Highlanders. He was 21 years of age, and the son of Wm. Sharp, miner, East Borland.

Harry Taylor

b c1892, Falkirk, Stirlingshire
d 27th May 1917, Roeux, France

War Memorial at Roeux, France

Known Football Career – Cowie Wanderers, King's Park [1910/11], Falkirk [1911/12], Stenhousemuir [1912/13]

The Falkirk Mail - 16th June 1917


Last Saturday, Mr. and Mrs. Alexander Taylor, Prince's Park, Falkirk, received official intimation that their son, Pte. Harry Taylor, was killed in action on 27th May. Pte. it will be remembered, played for Falkirk, Cowie, King's Park and Stenhousemuir at different periods and was a left winger of average ability. He was a mason to trade, but for 3 to 4 years was employed by the Callendar Coal Company as a brakesman.
Private Taylor enlisted in the Gordons at the commencement of the war, and six months later proceeded to France. he had been wounded twice, but very slightly. He was in his 26th year. Another brother, also in the Gordons, has been confined in hospital in England for the last three or four weeks, suffering from gunshot wounds in the arm.

William Mitchell Whytock

b 17th August 1887, Falkirk, Stirlingshire
d 6th November 1917, Passchendaele, Belgium

War Memorial at Roisel, France

Known Football Career – Falkirk Thistle, Falkirk Amateurs [1904/05-1905/06], Falkirk [1905/06-1906/07], Falkirk Amateurs [1906/07-1907/08]

Reserve Players

James Laing

b c1897
d 23rd April, 1917, Roeux, France

War Memorial at Roeux, France

The Falkirk Herald - 16th September 1917


Official intimation has been received by Mr and Mrs John Laing, 18 Carronhall, Carron, that their youngest son, Pte. James Higgins Laird, A & SH, was killed in action on 23rd April. Pte. Laing, who was in his 20th year, was, prior to his enlistment, employed as an engineer in the "E" Department, Carron. He joined the Territorials in September last, and was drafted to France in January. In football circles he was well-known, he being one of the regular players of the East Stirlingshire Club, which club had his services from Falkirk, who held his League signature.

NB - I am working on a list to come below of the Falkirk players who also served during the war, but this is much more tricky.

Those who served

Excluding the above several Falkirk FC players also served [work in progress]

Hill Aitken

b 26th November 1881, Fochabers, Morayshire
d 5th June 1945, Fochabers, Morayshire

Known Career – Falkirk Excelsior, Falkirk Amateurs [1898/99-1899/00], East Stirlingshire [1899/00], Falkirk [1899/00-1901/02]

Royal Engineers

George Brewster

b 7th October 1891, Kirkton of Logie Buchan,Aberdeenshire
d 18th November 1964, Wigan, Lancashire

Known Career – Muggiemoss, Aberdeen [1912/13-1919/20], Ayr United [1917/18], Falkirk [1918/19], Everton [1919/20-1922/23], Wolverhampton Wanderers [1922/23], Lovell's Athletic [1923/24], Wallasey United, Brooklyn Wanderers (USA) [1924], Inverness Caledonian [1925/26]

Royal Engineers

John Brown

b 15th October 1887, Clackmannan,Clackmannanshire
d 7th December 1943, Dundee, Angus

Known Career – Tulliallan Juveniles, Clackmannan Juniors, Hearts of Beith, Alloa Athletic [1906/07-1907/08], Falkirk [1908/09-1910/11], Celtic [1911/12-1912/13], Chelsea [1912/13-1914/15], Falkirk [1915/16], Raith Rovers, Bohemians, Dunfermline Athletic, Clackmannan [1920/21], Lochgelly United [1921/22-1924/25]

Black Watch
Invalided home in September 1917

The Brown Brothers of Clackmannan and Alloa

James Caldwell

b 9th January 1884, Carronshore, Stirlingshire
d 8th April 1955, Alva, Clackmannanshire

Known Career – Carron Thistle, Dunipace, Falkirk [1905/06], East Stirlingshire [1907/08], Tottenham Hotspur [1908/09], Reading [1911/12], Everton [1912/13], Arsenal [1913/14], Alloa Athletic [1920/21-1922/23], East Stirlingshire [1922/23]
3rd Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders [Feb 1916]

John 'Arthur' Campey

b c1891, Selby, Yorkshire
d c1958, Leeds, Yorkshire

Known Career – Selby Mizpah, Knaresborough, Leeds City, Walsall [1913/14-1915/16], Falkirk [1915/16]

Later club trainer with Bradford Park Avenue then Leeds Utd.

Royal Army Medical Corps

James Croal

b 27th July 1885, Glasgow
d 16th September 1939, Yeovil, Somerset

Known Career – Falkirk Juniors, Grange Rovers, Rangers [1904/05-1910/11], Ayr Parkhouse [1906/07], Alloa Athletic [1907/08], Dunfermline Athletic [1910/11], Falkirk [1910/11-1913/14], Chelsea [1914/15-1921/22], Falkirk [1918/19], Fulham [1921/22-1923/24]
11th King's Royal Rifle Corps

Alexander Donaldson

b 2nd November 1887, Alva, Clackmannanshire

Known Career – Alva Albion Rovers, Falkirk [1907/08-1908/09]

Canadian Overseas Expeditionary Force [July 1915]

Robert Duff

Known Career – East Stirlingshire [1914/15], Falkirk [1915/16]

Royal Army Medical Corps

Peter Gardiner

b c1897, Perth, Perthshire

Known Career – Perth Roselea, Falkirk [1919/20-1920/21], St Johnstone [1921/22-1922/23], Forfar Athletic [1925/26], St Johnstone [1926/27]

Army Pay Corps

Michael Gibbons

b 19th February 1890, Kingseat, Fife
d 22nd August 1952, Dunfermline, Fife

Known Career – Lumphinnans Swifts, Falkirk [1910/11-1918/19], Cowdenbeath [1917/18], East Fife

16th Royal Scots [McCrae's Battalion]

Thomas Glancy

b 14th October 1894, Cowdenbeath, Fife
d 11th February 1949, Cowdenbeath, Fife

Known Career – Cowdenbeath St. Leonards, Inverkeithing United, Falkirk [1914/15, 1918/19-1923/24], Third Lanark [1923 Tour of Argentina & Uruguay], St. Johnstone [1924/25-1925/26], Cowdenbeath [1925/26-1933/34]

Royal Field Artillery

Robert Godfrey

b c1891 Larbert, Stirlingshire

Known Career – Longcroft, Kirkintilloch Rob Roy, Banknock Juniors, Falkirk [1912/13-1914/15], Stenhousemuir [WWI], Falkirk [1918/19], Bathgate [1919/20], East Stirlingshire [1919/20-1920/21], Bathgate [1920/21], Ayr United [1920/21], Alloa Athletic [1920/21], Dumbarton [1921/22], St Bernards [1921/22], Vale of Leven [1922/23], Clackmannan [1922/23], East Stirlingshire [1922/23]

16th Royal Scots [McCrae's Battalion]

Alexander Henderson

Known Career – East Stirlingshire [1909/10-1913/14], Falkirk [1913/14-1919/20], Alloa Athletic [1919/20-1920/21]

16th Royal Scots [McCrae's Battalion]

Andrew Henderson

b c1892

Known Career – Penicuik Juniors, Falkirk [1914/15, 1918/19]

16th Royal Scots [McCrae's Battalion]
Wounded at the Battle of the Somme?? July 1916

Thomas Hope

b c1889, Grangemouth, Stirlingshire

Known Career – Forth Rangers, St Ninian's Thistle, Falkirk [1913/14]

King's Own Scottish Borderers

John Hotchkies

b c1885, Carronshore, Stirlingshire

Known Career – Gairdoch Juniors [1902/03], Falkirk Juniors [1903/04], Falkirk [1903/04], East Stirlingshire [1904/05-1906/07], Falkirk [1906/07], Cowdenbeath [1906/07], Leith Athletic [1907/08-1908/09], Alloa Athletic [1909/10]

7th Battalion, Argyll &Sutherland Highlanders

Thomas Kane

b c1885, Glasgow

Known Career – Vale of Leven [1912/13-1914/15], Falkirk [1914/15]

Royal Engineers Sep 1914

Henry Cecil Lyon

b c1883, Aberdour, Fife
d 29th November 1954, Aberdour, Fife

Known Career – Lochgelly United [1903/04], Falkirk [1903/04-1904/05], East Stirlingshire?, East Fife [1906/07]

Royal Engineers 1914-1919

William Martin

b Falkirk, Stirlingshire

Known Career – Falkirk [1913/14]

Royal Scots Fusiliers

Robert McDougall

b c1894 Kirkcudbright, Kirkcudbrightshire
d 13th October 1936, Kirkcudbright, Kirkcudbrightshire

Known Career – St Cuthbert Wanderers, Carlisle United, Lochgelly United [1911/12], Cowdenbeath [1911/12], Dunfermline Athletic [1912/13-1913/14], Liverpool [1913/14-1914/15], Falkirk [1915/16], Partick Thistle [1918/19], Falkirk [1918/19-1920/21], Ayr United [1921/22-1922/23], Queen of the South [1923/24-1924/25], St Cuthbert Wanderers

Royal Field Artillery

William McKenna

b 5th October 1889, Glasgow
d 18th April 1958

Known Career – Queen's Park Juniors, Queen's Park [1907/08-1908/09], Falkirk [1908/09], Morton [1909/10], Port Glasgow Athletic [1909/10], Partick Thistle [1910/11], Queen's Park [1910/11-1912/13], Clydebank [1914/15]

Royal Scots Fusiliers

Alexander 'Alick' MacTavish

b Tain, Ross

Known Career – Tain St Duthus, Unknown Edinburgh Junior Club, Falkirk [1906/07-1907/08], Alloa Athletic, Victoria United (Dingwall), Tain St Duthus.

Royal Scots Fusiliers

James Miller 

b 29th May 1894, Partick, Lanarkshire
d 12th February 1961, Schenectady, New York

Known Career – Wardmill FC, Go-Ahead (Ned) [1916/17-1917/18], Kilsyth Rangers [1918/19], Falkirk [1919/20], Kilsyth Rangers [1920/21], Caledonians, Schenectady [USA], Schenectady Cosmopolitans [USA], Schenectady FC [USA], Clan MacCrae, Schectenady [USA]

Royal Naval Division, 5th Battallion (Nelson)

John Morrison

b 26th January 1889, Stenhousemuir, Stirlingshire
d 26th January 1972, Paisley, Renfrewshire

Known Career – Stenhousemuir Hearts, Falkirk [1906/07-1915/16], St Mirren [1913/14]

16th Royal Scots [McCrae's Battalion]

John Pray

b 18th March 1872, Falkirk, Stirlingshire
d 14th May 1947, Hamilton, Ontario

Known Career – Falkirk Excelsior, Falkirk [1890/91-1893/94], Rangers [1893/94-1894/95], Bury [1895/96-1901/02], St Bernards [1903/04]

Canadian Overseas Expeditionary Force [Apr 1916]

John Preston

b c1891

Known Career – Grange Rovers, Falkirk [1914/15]

Unknown Regiment

Edward Queen

b c1884, Glasgow

Known Career – Matyhill Juniors, Falkirk [1903/04-1904/05], Abercorn [1907/08]

3rd Seaforth Highlanders

George Rae 

b October 1888, Falkirk, Stirlingshire

Known Career – Falkirk Athletic, Falkirk [1908/09-1909/10], Hibernian [1909/10-1912/13], Kirkaldy United [1912/13], Partick Thistle [1913/14], Dunfermline Athletic [1914/15-1918/19], Falkirk [1919/20], Dumbarton [1920/21]

Royal Field Artillery [1916], Royal Warwickshire Regiment [1916-1920]
Awarded the Italian Silver Medal of Valour in 1918

John Rattray

b c1890, Lumphinnans, Fife

Known Career – Lumphinnans Swifts, Falkirk [1910/11-1912/13], Raith Rovers [1913/14-1914/15], Dunfermline Athletic [1915/16], Ayr United [1915/16], Raith Rovers [1915/16-1920/21], Dumbarton [1918/19], Bethlehem Steel (USA) [1921/22-1923/24], Raith Rovers [1924/25], Dumbarton [1925/26]

16th Royal Scots [McCrae's Battalion]

James 'Punkie' Reid

b c1879, Falkirk, Stirlingshire
b 10th March 1954, Falkirk, Stirlingshire

Known Career – Vale of Carron, Falkirk [1899/00], Clackmannan [1899/00-1900/01], Camelon [1901/02], East Stirlingshire [1902/03-1905/06], Falkirk [1905/06-1909/10], Cowdenbeath [1910/11-1911/12]

2nd Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders [Summer 1916]

Frank Reilly

b c1894, Perth, Perthshire

Known Career – Perth Violet, Falkirk [1912/13-1919/20], Blackburn Rovers [1919/20-1922/23], Llanelly, Weymouth

16th Royal Scots [McCrae's Battalion]

James Robertson

b 15th March 1885, Alexandria, Dunbartonshire
d 26th April 1968, London

Known Career – Vale of Leven [1904/05], Distillery [1904/05], Blackburn Rovers [1905/06-1907/08], Brighton & Hove Albion [1908/09], Vale of Leven
[1909/10-1910/11], Falkirk [1910/11-1918/19], Dunfermline Athletic [1915/16], Vale of Leven [1918/19-1920/21], Dumbarton Harp [1921/22]

Highland Light Infantry
Awarded the Belgian Croix de Guerre in February 1918
Awarded the Military Medal in December 1918

Clydesdale 'Clyde' Skene

b 24th June 1884, Larbert, Stirlingshire
d 29th December 1945, Eynsham, Oxfordshire

Known Career – Falkirk Amateurs, Stenhousemuir, Queen's Park [1903/04-1906/07], Falkirk [1906/07-1908/09], Queen's Park [1909/10-1910/11], Falkirk [1910/11-1911/12], Stenhousemuir [1912/13], Dundee [1913/14], Dunfermline Athletic [1914/15], Montrose [1914/15]

Lovatt Scouts

[I had previously written that Clyde won the Military Medal whilst with the Artillery Regiment, this was a case of mistaken identity [read laziness on my part] and all my fault]

Alexander Stark

b 11th April 1869, Falkirk, Stirlingshire
d c1939, New Zealand

Known Career – Falkirk [1985/86-1894/95], Queen's Park [1894/95], Christchurch [-1904]

Royal New Zealand Artillery

Alexander Sterricks

b c1888, Peebles, Peeblesshire
d 10th March 1967, Peebles, Peeblesshire

Known Career – Peebles Rovers, Falkirk [1915/16]

8th Royal Scots

Ebenezer Taylor

b c1882, Stirling, Stirlingshire

Known Career – Falkirk [1902/03-1903/04]

4th Cameron Highlanders [1916]

Robert Terris

b 19th January 1891, Auchterderran,Fife
d cAugust 1968, Northampton, Pennsylvania, USA

Known Career – Bowhill Thistle, Falkirk [1910/11-1913/14], Liverpool [1913/14-1914/15], East Fife [1915/16], Falkirk [1916/17], Bethlehem Steel (USA) [1921/22-1926/27], NY Nationals (USA) [1927/28]

Fleet Air Arm [1917], Royal Air Force [1918]

Alexander Thomson

b 18th February 1891, Torbrex, St Ninians, Stirlingshire
d 21st July 1963, Stirling, Stirlingshire

Known Career – St Ninians Thistle, Hibernian [1910/11], East Stirlingshire [1910/11-1912/13], Liverpool[1912/13], Falkirk [1913/14-1915/16], East Stirlingshire [1915/16], King's Park [1919/20]

7th Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders

Thomas Townsley

b 28th April 1898, Polmont, Stirlingshire
d 10th April 1976

Known Career – Laurieston Villa, California Celtic, Cowie Wanderers, Falkirk [1918/19-1925/26], Leeds United [1925/26-1930/31], Falkirk [1931/32-1932/33]. Bo'ness [1933/34], Peterhead [1934/35]

3rd Scots Guards [1918]

Duncan Watson

b c1880, Falkirk, Stirlingshire

Known Career – Falkirk Excelsior [1897/98], Falkirk [1897/98-1898/99], Falkirk Amateurs [1898/99-1900/01]

Royal Engineers

Robert John Wheelan

b 25th March 1878, Shotts, Lanarkshire
d c1948, Halton, Ontario, Canada

Known Career – Slamannan Swifts, Falkirk [1892/93]

Canadian Overseas Expeditionary Force [1916]

NB - on his Canadian Miltary Attestation papers his Date of Birth is given as 25th March 1881.

George Whitehead

b 24th February 1890, Galashiels, Selkirkshire

Known Career – Dalkeith Thistle, Newtongrange Star, Heart of Midlothian [1911/12-1913/14], Celtic [1913/14], Motherwell [1913/14-1918/19], Cowdenbeath [1920/21], Falkirk [1923/24], St Bernards [1924/25]

Royal Navy

Robert Wood

b c1892
d August, 1928, Glencraig Colliery, Fife

Known Career – Glencraig Celtic, Falkirk [1914/15, 1918/19-1919/20], Alloa Athletic [1920/21]

16th Royal Scots [McCrae's Battalion]


James Richardson

b c1858, Peru
d 1st October 1927, Camelon, Stirlingshire

Known Career - Kelvinbank, Falkirk [1878/79-1880//81]

Note - Although not a combatant in World War One, James Richardson was serving aboard a steamer which was in port in Hamburg when the fighting broke out. James and the rest of the crew were interned in Ruhleben for most of the war.