Regiment:              Royal Highlanders (Black Watch), 9th Btn  

Rank & Number:
    Private, S/4513 

Born:                     23 May 1891; West Kilbride  

                     05 July 1950; Paisley Infirmary  

                    Brother of Alfred, Hugh, James & John Burden
                              Brother-in-law of McEwan Downie

GEORGE BURDEN was born 23 May 1891 in West Kilbride, to parents Thomas, a gamekeeper, and Catherine Cooper Murray (who married in Symington on 30 Dec 1881).  He was christened in Fairlie Free Church on 25 Jun 1891.  He died of a perforated ulcer on 05 Jul 1950 in Paisley Infirmary, (aged 59, married to Jean Young Torrance, railway station master (army pensioner), of 40 Stock Street, Paisley).

On 1st June 1927 at Turf Hotel, Darvel, George (36, railway clerk, of Barrmill) married Jean Young Torrance.  
         Parents Thomas and Catherine
         at Glenside

In the 1901 Census, George, aged 10, is living Glenside, West Kilbride with parents Thomas (41, b. Kirkoswald, gamekeeper) and Catherine (39, b. Symington), and siblings, Thomas (19), James (14), Jane (12), Catherine (8), Hugh (5), May (3) and Alfred (6m)  

In the 1911 Census, aged 19 and an apprentice gardener, he is living Glenside, West Kilbride with parents Thomas (50, gamekeeper) and Catherine (48, m 30 years, 12 children), and siblings Hugh Paton (15, postman), Mary Ann (13), Alfred Parker (10), Violet (9) and Margaret (5

Named in the Largs & Millport Weekly News Roll of Honour printed 21 Nov 1914 and the Ardrossan & Saltcoats Herald Roll of Honour in Dec 1914 (Burdon, Pte. G., Glenside, Fairlie, Black Watch), the Largs & Millport Weekly News reported on 12 Sep 1914 that he and his brother Hugh had enlisted that week.  He was severely wounded at the Battle of Loos in Oct 1915, and spent five months in hospital recovering from the effects of an explosive bullet.  The bible he had been carrying in the left hand pocket of his tunic was reported to have saved his life by diverting the bullet from his heart, and the bible was later displayed in a collection of war trophies in the window of C.H. McNair & Sons, Fairlie.  His medal index card shows entry into theatre of war on 14 Jul 1915, France.  He was awarded the 1914-15 Star and the British War and Victory medals, and was discharged on 2 Mar 1919.

Extracts from the Largs & Millport Weekly News:-  

12 September 1914
Two brothers George and Hugh Burden joined the army this week, and a sturdy farm servant named Johnstone only waited until the harvest was secured and then rushed off to enlist in the Black Watch.  Who’ll be next?  

9 October 1915
Another young Fairlie man, Private George Burden, Black Watch, is reported to have been wounded during the last big fight.  

16 October 1915
Mr. Burden, Glenside, this week received official intimation that his son, Private George Burden, was severely wounded in the chest and back.  He is lying in hospital in Rouen, France.  

30 October 1915

Private George Burden, Fairlie, who was wounded in the big fight a month ago is now in hospital in Liverpool suffering from the effects of an explosive bullet which went right through his body.  His father and mother have left on a visit to see him.  

13 November 1915
Quite a collection of war trophies on view this week in Messrs. C.H. McNair & Sons window, Fairlie.  These include a Bible which undoubtedly saved Pte. G. Burden’s life.  He was carrying it in the left hand pocket of his tunic when he was struck with a bullet which passed right through him, being fortunately however diverted from the heart by the Bible.  

4 March 1916
Pte. George Burden, Black Watch, who was severely wounded at the Battle of Loos, is at home for short furlough and looking pretty fit after his long spell in hospital.

17 November 1917

Private George Burden arrived home on leave from France at the beginning of the week.  He has been in the thick of the fighting more or less for about three years.  Early in the war he was seriously wounded, returning to the front on his recovery.  He is looking fit and is in good spirits.

Pictures courtesy Katherine McIsaac

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