Jul 25 2012 by Johnathon Menzies, Stirling Observer Wednesday
A FASCINATING project designed to shed new light on Dunblane’s involvement in the two World Wars is gathering momentum in the cathedral city.
Retired local resident Edward Campbell, a recent history graduate from the University of Stirling, has volunteered to conduct research into the backgrounds of the 98 names immortalised on Dunblane War Memorial following the First World War, as well as the 32 servicemen who paid the ultimate sacrifice following the Second World War.
Although he has already conducted a vast amount of painstaking research, grandfather Mr Campbell told the Observer he hoped members of the public would come forward with more information as he intends to create of more vivid picture.
Explaining the project, the Royal British Legion Dunblane branch member said: “I started looking in detail at old issues of the Stirling Observer from the First and Second World Wars down at the Stirling Council archives in Springkerse.
“I’m interested in charting the social background of the names on the war memorial so that any young person in Dunblane can look at the research and really get a feel for the person; more than just their name, age and rank.
“I’ve completed the list of the Second World War servicemen. There wasn’t a definitive list issued by the Ministry of Defence, so it’s been a case of trawling through the old Observers to find out as much as I can.
“I’m at the stage now where I’m asking the people of Dunblane to see if anyone’s got any more information about the people featured on the monument.
“It’s been consuming, but extremely interesting. The biggest thing is making sure all the facts that I record are correct.”
Research into the First World War has shown that the youngest casualty was former McLaren High School pupil Ronald John Martin Gutteridge, who passed away when just 17 and-a-half years old.
Tragically, Mr Campbell also said that the 1914-18 conflict claimed the lives of four out of six members of the McLean family who served in the forces at the time, a situation the researcher described as a “Private Ryan” situation.
He continued: “There was also a football team from the Dunbalne area around the time of the First World War, Heather FC, and, sadly, all 11 of them were killed. In total, Dunblane sent about 600 people to the war and about 100 were killed.”
Copies of Mr Campbell’s research are to be distributed to cathedral city libraries, Dunblane Museum and the British Legion, as well as other locations.
A pair of University of Stirling professors, Dr Jim Smyth and Dr Michael Penman, are also said to be researching the history of the monument and the First World War and are set to undertake a project involving local school children, according to Mr Campbell.
An exhibition, displaying some of the findings, will be featured at the University of Stirling shortly, said to be entitled ‘Lest Scotland Forgets’.
Mr Campbell can be contacted on 01786 823022 or email@example.com.