Duncan Stewart McLACHLAN

Royal Naval Air Service & Royal Air Force  

Rank & Number:      Aircraftman 2nd Class, 244732  

07 October 1900; Fairlie Lodge, Fairlie  

                        29 August 1975; Ontario, Canada  

Brother of Ian & Lily McLachlan and Robert

was born 07 Oct 1900 in Fairlie Lodge, Fairlie, to parents John, a gardener, and Margaret Ramsay (who married in Glasgow on 24 Nov 1882).  He died in Ontario, Canada on 29 Aug 1975.  On 06 Aug 1976, his cremated ashes were interred in his father’s plot in Largs Cemetery, Duncan having expressed his desire to be buried there during a visit to his father’s grave some years earlier.  

He married Janet (Jenny) Gray Reid on 19 August 1944 at Thorold, Ontario (witness brother John McLachlan).  Janet was originally from Glasgow, lived next door to the family, and had been married previously.  Duncan and Jenny had no children.  

In the 1901 Census, Duncan is aged 5 months, and is living at Fairlie Lodge Gatehouse with parents John (43, gardener domestic, born Argyll) & Margaret (43, born Glasgow), and siblings Jane S. (15), Robert R. (13), Peter (10), John (7), Elizabeth (5) and Margaret (2).  The family are still at Fairlie Lodge Cottage in the 1911 Census, although they leave the village in 1914, moving first to West Kilbride and then to Largs, where father John becomes gardener at Brooksby Gardens.   

Duncan was a member of Fairlie Boy Scouts from its formation in 1912; he is noted in the Scout log-book in 1916 as aged 16, nickname “Pate”.  

Duncan’s brothers Peter and Robert had emigrated to Canada before the outbreak of war, and were followed after the war by brother Ian.  After the death of his father John in June 1920, Duncan’s mother and sisters secured a sailing in October 1920 to join his brothers in Canada.  On 6 July 1921, Duncan (aged 20, carpenter) sailed from Glasgow to Quebec/Montreal to join his family.  His previous address was given as 4 Lyndoch Street, Greenock, the home of his uncle, Donald McKechnie.    


Entered into boy service with the R.N.A.S. (occ. joiner) 24 Dec 1917; commenced man service 7 Oct 1918; discharged to R.A.F. 31 Mar 1919.  On 31 May 1919 he extended his period of engagement for two years, and was discharged on 21 Jul 1921 (granted 28 days leave pending discharge from 24/6/2; his address on discharge is given as 116 Torch Street, St. Catherine's, Ontario). His medal roll shows he received the British War Medal.

Extracts from the Largs & Millport Weekly News:-    

21 March 1914
Report on Boy Scouts concert, where scout Duncan McLachlan was given a leaving gift as he was departing the district.  On 4th April, his father John McLachlan was presented with a pipe and purse of sovereigns by the Fairlie Evening Club, as he had left the village after being hall-keeper of the Village Hall for 14 years.  

9 January 1915
Fairlie Boy Scouts:  Fairlie Boy Scouts left last Saturday afternoon to take up duty for a month at Garmouth, Elginshire.  The patrol is made up of Rev. D.C.C. Gollan, John Miller, William Newcombe, David Boyd, Robert Miller, Fairlie; D. McLachlan, West Kilbride.  On New Year’s Eve, the Troop was entertained to supper at Fairlie Craig by Lady Glasgow.  Her Ladyship and Mrs Cunninghame presented Cardigan jackets and mufflers, and Mrs Chevalier Parker, Mrs Chichester and Miss Parker, The Gondola, kindly presented helmets and extra blankets to the boys and also comforts to the Scoutmaster.  

8 May 1915
Fairlie Boy Scouts:  At a meeting of Fairlie Boy Scouts committee last Thursday evening, Mr. Tennant presented the members of the local Scouts who were on duty at Garmouth with war service badges:  Scoutmaster Gollan, Scouts John Miller, D. Boyd, Wm. Newcombe, D. McLachlan and R. Miller.

 McLachlan Family c1902:  Father John, Jean, Robert,
 Peggy, Lily, mother Margaret & Duncan, Peter, Ian (front)

  McLachlan family in Canada in 1940 – Ian (4th left),
  Duncan (3rd right), and their mother Margaret   

 Duncan and sister Lily

  Duncan and Jenny on their wedding day, 1944

Images courtesy Betty Turner

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Fairlie Community Association SCIO
Scottish Charity No. SC028785