Hugh Paton BURDEN

Regiment:               Royal Scots Fusiliers, 5th Btn  

Rank & Number:
      Sergeant, 7632 & 240600  

24 April 1985; Glenside, West Kilbride  

                        1976; Largs  

                      Distinguished Conduct Medal
                                Brother of Alfred, George, James & John Burden
                                Brother-in-law of McEwan Downie

was born 24 Apr 1895 in Glenside, West Kilbride, to parents Thomas, a gamekeeper, and Catherine Cooper Murray (who married in Symington on 30 Dec 1881).  He died in Largs in 1976, aged 81.

On 11 Apr 1923 at 21 Hope Street, Glasgow, Hugh (27, gamekeeper, of Glenside, Fairlie) married by declaration Jane Kerr Cowie (21, domestic servant, of Allison Place, Fairlie)  

A recommendation letter dated 1938 refers to him as gamekeeper at the Southannan Estate, and later at the Blair Estate  

In the 1901 Census, Hugh, aged 5, 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), George (10), Catherine (8), May (3) and Alfred (6m)  

In the 1911 Census, aged 15 and a postman, he is living Glenside, West Kilbride with parents Thomas (50, gamekeeper) and Catherine (48, m 30 years, 12 children), and siblings                       Parents Thomas and Catherine
George (19, apprentice gardener), Mary Ann (13), Alfred Parker       at Glenside
(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. H., Glenside, Fairlie, R.S.F.).  He enlisted on 3 Sep 1914, and his medal index card shows entry into theatre of war on 6 Jun 1915, Balkans.  On 16 Feb 1918 the Largs & Millport Weekly News reported him with the Egyptian forces, and on 25 May 1918, that he had arrived home from France.  He was discharged on 6 Mar 1919.  He received the 1914-15 Star and the British War and Victory medals, and was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal in 1918.  On 6 Jan 1920, at a thanksgiving to returning servicemen in Fairlie Village Hall, he was presented with a gold watch, suitably inscribed, in recognition of this award.  

London Gazette - 240600 Sergt. (A/CQ. M.S.) H. Burden, R.S.F., Fairlie:  His platoon being ordered to intercept a flanking movement on the part of the enemy, he most skilfully chose a position in which he was able to repel a counter-attack.  His gallantry, fine judgement, and excellent leadership inspired the men under him to the highest degree.

                                                                              Hugh Burden with his grandchildren, 1972

   Hugh Burden's Pay Book

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?  

13 November 1915
At The Dardanelles:  The following is extracted from a letter written by Sergeant Hugh Burden, Fairlie, to his father, who is gamekeeper at Southannan, and is the first local intelligence we have got from the Gallipoli Peninsula for a long time.  Sergeant Burden is in the Royal Scots Fusiliers:-    We are now on the rest camp for a few days.  The boys are enjoying a game of football, but Mr. Turk has got his eye on them and is sending down a few of his sawdust shells, but without any effect, although a few of them are landing pretty close.  We can hear the whizz of them coming so we soon dive into our dug-outs before they get time to burst.  How are the grouse and partridges doing.  I saw a covey of 18 partridges going over the firing line on the 28th September.  If I had seen them before they came over us we could have had a roast, but there is no need for us to shoot them for Mr. Turk is there.  It is funny to see them here and the firing of big guns and rifles going on day and night.  I have just heard of the Germans getting a good slap on the nasal organ in France.  The cheering here was simply awful when the boys were told about it.  It is now six o’clock and quite dark.  We have all got orders to be in our dug-outs by 6.30pm, as we are all to give three cheers for the success of the British in France.  All the guns on the Peninsula are to fire a shot at 6.45.  The French are still cheering, and the guns on the Peninsula are firing.  The men in the firing line are rapid firing.  Each man can fire 15 shots a minute, so you can have an idea of what it is like.  The French bugle bands are playing away, also, our pipe band is playing “The Cock o’ the North.”  The French are singing their national Anthem.  Now we join and sing “God Save the King.”  

27 November 1915     
Toll Of War, Casualties:  Intimation has been received by his parents that Sergt. Hugh Burden, 1-5th RSF, Fairlie, has been wounded in Gallipoli and is now under treatment at the Base Hospital.  Fortunately the wounds are not considered severe.  

18 December 1915
Fairlie Cigarette And Tobacco Fund: In a postcript to his letter, Sergt. Burden says:– I enclose a bit of praise we got for scoring on the Turks by advancing 50 yards and building a new bomb station where we could enfilade the Turkish trenches:- “The G.O.C. is very pleased with the work performed last night in successfully pushing forward B bomb station.  Please information all troops concerned.  The Brig. Gen. Comdg. 155 Brigade wishes to add his tribute to the good arrangements, hard work, and soldierly conduct of all concerned.  He is well aware of the difficultl and toil of such an enterprise carried out in cramped surroundings in close proximity to the enemy, and he hopes that every single soldier engaged realises that by his own efforts he has further advanced the reputation of the 1-5th R.S.F.”  

18 December 1915     
Fairlie Cigarette And Tobacco Fund:  Up to date, the number of parcels sent out is about 95, and the most recent acknowledgements received are from Sergt. Davis and Pte. Dan. McCallum (hospital), Driver J.M. Fraser (France), Pte. J. Ward, Pte. J. Miller, Gr. Wm. Ramsay, Corpl. Blakley and Sergt. Hugh Burden (Dardanelles).  

29 January 1916        
Sergeant Hugh Burden, 5th R.S.F., Fairlie has again been wounded and is now in hospital at Malta.  In an attack on a Turkish trench on 30th December, he was struck on the head by a piece of shell.  

17 June 1916
Fairlie Cigarette And Tobacco Fund:  Letters of thanks have been received recently from James Ramsay, Wm. Ramsay, John Currie, John Ward, A. Erskine, James Smith, Tom McLaughlin, Charles Rodger, Tom Messenger, Hugh Burden, Wm. Balchin, Tom Miller, Wm. Stewart, John Fraser, Duncan Douglas, Dan McCallum, Allan McCallum, Alex. McLean, Alfred Davis, Arthur Crawford, and a postcard from Robert McLachlan, who is a prisoner of war in Germany.  

5 May 1917
Toll Of War:  We regret to report that five of the Fairlie boys have been wounded in the recent fighting:-  Private Angus McLean, Sergeant Hugh Burden, Private Adam Anderson and Driver Jones.  The first named has been wounded in the foot, but the character of the injuries to the others are at present unknown.  

16 February 1918
Fairlie Honours:  News has been received that Sgt. Hugh Paton Burden, R.S.F., at present with the Egyptian forces, has been awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal.  Sergt. Burden is a son of Mr. and Mrs Burden, Glenside, Fairlie, and has been at one or other of the fronts for over three years and has been wounded three times.  We congratulate him on the honour conferred on him and express the wish for his return home at no distant date.  

11 May 1918
War Honours:  The following appeared last week in the London Gazette with reference to Sergt. Hugh P. Burden, who has received the Distinguished Conduct Medal.  The gallant Sergt. is a son of Mr. and Mrs Burden, Glenside, Fairlie:     
240600 Sergt. (A/CQ. M.S.) H. Burden, R.S.F., Fairlie:  His platoon being ordered to intercept a flanking movement on the part of the enemy, he most skilfully chose a position in which he was able to repel a counter-attack.  His gallantry, fine judgement, and excellent leadership inspired the men under him to the highest degree.  

25 May 1918  
Sergt. Hugh P. Burden who recently was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal, arrived home from France at the beginning of the week for 14 days leave.  The gallant sergeant is looking very fit and in excellent spirits.  

7 September 1918      
Quite a few of our local soldier lads are on leave from the Western Front at present.  Amongst them we note Dvr. J.M. Currie, H.D.A.C.; Sergt Hugh P. Burden D.C.M., R.S.F.; L.Cpl. Norman Stewart, 72nd Canadian Seaforths; Sapper William McNeur, R.E.; Pte. David Boyd (Allanbank); Pte. D. Campbell (Hawthorn Cottage), A&SH; also Pte. George Miller, H.L.I., from a training camp in England   16 January 1920         Fairlie Service Men:  Last Thursday afternoon, the people of Fairlie met in the Village Hall to give visible expression of thanks to the returned sailors and soldiers.  There was a full turn out of ex-service men and a large attendance of the general public.  . . . . . . .   Mr. Cunningham then called upon Miss Jean Fife to make the presentations.  Sgt. Hugh Burden, who had been awarded the D.C.M. for conspicuous gallantry while in the Near East, was presented with a handsome gold watch suitably inscribed, while each of the men received a gold medal

Pictures courtesy Katherine McIsaac

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Fairlie Community Association SCIO
Scottish Charity No. SC028785