Regiment: Royal Garrison Artillery, Bute Mountain Battery
Rank & Number: Corporal, 5039
Born: 28 January 1894; Fairlie Lodge, Fairlie
Died: 06 April 1972; St. Catherine’s, Ontario, Canada
Other: Military Medal Brother of Duncan & Lily McLachlan
and Robert MacLachlan
JOHN MCLACHLAN, known as Ian, was born 28 Jan 1894 in Fairlie Lodge,
Fairlie, to parents John, a gardener, and Margaret Ramsay (who married in Glasgow on 24 Nov 1882). He died, aged 78, on 06 Apr 1972 at Niagara
Peninsula Sanatorium, St. Catherine’s, Ontario, Canada.
In the 1901 Census, Ian is aged 7, and living at
Fairlie Lodge Gatehouse with parents John (43,
gardener domestic, born Argyll) & Margaret (43, born Glasgow), and siblings Jane S. (15), Robert (13), Peter (10), Elizabeth (5), Margaret (2) and Duncan (5m). The family are still at Fairlie Lodge Cottage
in the 1911 Census - Ian is aged 17 and an assistant postman - although they
leave the village in 1914, moving first to West Kilbride and then to Largs,
where father John becomes gardener at Brooksby Gardens.
Ian emigrated to Canada in December 1919, following
brothers Peter and Robert who emigrated in 1913. After the death of his father John in June
1920, Ian’s mother and sisters secured a sailing in October 1920 to join the
brothers in Canada. On 6 July 1921,
youngest brother Duncan sailed from Glasgow to Quebec/Montreal to join his
family. In the 1921 Canadian Census, Ian
(aged 27, carpenter)
is living St. Catherine's, Ontario with mother Margaret (65) and sisters Lillian (25) and Margaret (23).
At the outbreak of the Second World
War, Ian attempted to enlist but was rejected because of his age and
health. Instead he joined the Veteran’s
Guard of Canada, and spent the war guarding German prisoners of war.
SERVICE DETAILS Named in the Ardrossan &
Saltcoats Herald Roll of Honour of enlisted men printed Dec 1914 (West Kilbride: McLaughlan, John, Thistle House). After training at Bedford, he
entered theatre of war at Gallipoli on 25 Apr 1915. On 14 Aug 1915, the Largs & Millport
Weekly News reported that he and two fellow soldiers had been recommended for
an honour for conspicuous bravery when, in great danger from a possible
explosion, they extinguished an outbreak of fire in close proximity to stores
of ammunition. He was awarded the
Military Medal, with which he was publicly decorated in Feb 1917 while
stationed at camp in England. His medal
index card shows he received the 1914-15 Star, the British War and the Victory
Gazette (11 Jun 16, page 10927) - His Majesty the KING has been graciously
pleased to award the Military Medal for bravery in the field to the
undermentioned Non-Commissioned Officers and Men: 5039 Gunner J. McLachlan, R.G.A.
Extracts from the Largs & Millport Weekly News:-
21 November 1914 Local Roll Of Honour: The following is the first instalment of what we hope will eventually be a complete list of all connected with this district who have at present answered the urgent call to arms in the great crisis of our national history:- Bute Battery, 4th Highland (Mountain) Brigade, Royal Garrison Artillery (T) FAIRLIE - MacLachlan Gr., J., Bute Mountain Battery
27 March 1915
Bute Mountain Battery: we said goodbye to our two companion
batteries and many of our comrades who left Largs with us in the early days of
August last year: Argyll Battery: Gunner J. McLauchlan
7 August 1915 At The Dardanelles; Honours For Local Men: Intimation has been received at
Rothesay, the headquarters of the Bute Mountain Battery, that a number of
awards have been made for distinguished gallantry on the field, in the
Gallipoli peninsula. The latter includes
one of the Largs boys, and Gr. J. McLaughlin, a Fairlie lad.
14 August 1915 Conspicuous Bravery On The
Field: Last week we chronicled the fact that two
members of the Largs section of the Bute Mountain Battery, now the Highland
Mountain Brigade of Artillery, and serving in the Gallipoli Peninsula, had been
recommended for the Distinguished Conduct Medal for a conspicuous act of
gallantry. Four men altogether took part
in the act, and two of them were men of the Largs section – Corpl. R.C. Rodger,
son of Mr. Andrew Rodger, tobacconist, Largs; and Gr. John McLauchlan, a
Fairlie lad. We gave Rodger’s modest
account of the affair last week, and this week we subjoin the official
recommendation which sets forth the reason for the award in the most
matter-of-fact and unheroic way. The
recommendation, it will be seen, refers only to Corpl. Rodger, but that of the
other hero will be couched in exactly similar terms, we have no doubt. We understand that another of the four who
were in this little episode has since been granted a commission:-
Recommendations by G.O.C., 29th
Division, to G.O.C., 8th Army Corps
Date – 28th June, 1915,
Reasons – A six inch gun from the Asiatic shore suddenly opened fire in
enfilade on the 97th Battery.
One gun was at once hit, all the detachment being killed or
wounded. A few minutes later, the wagon
of this gun was hit and set on fire.
This party at once rushed to the burning wagon to save the
ammunition. Several rounds exploded, but
the rest were saved.
Certified true extract,
C.N. Clark, Major, R.F.A., Gallipoli, 12th July, 1915
26 February 1916 Gunner
John McLachlan, R.G.A., who distinguished himself in the Dardanelles, was
visiting his friends in the district during the week.
10 February 1917 Fairlie
people rejoice that recognition for an extremely gallant action performed in
Gallipoli has at length been accorded to Gunner Ian MacLachlan.
10 February 1917 Military Medal: It will be remembered that
Gunner Ian MacLachlan, of the same Battery, also one of the Largs Territorial
force called up at the beginning of the war, was one of the four who took part
in the action for which Lieut. Rodger received the D.C.M., and he was
recommended for it as well as his comrade, as he equally deserved it. The recommendation was not given effect to,
but later Gr. MacLachlan was awarded the Military Medal for this exploit. He was publicly decorated with this well-won
honour the other day at the camp in England at which he is presently stationed.
Acting-bombardier W. Murray, Largs, Reserve
Brigade, R.F.A., sends the following interesting account of the presentation
ceremony, at which he was present:-
On Thursday last week, an interesting function took place at --------
Camp, when Gunner Ian MacLachlan of the R.G.A. was decorated with the Military
Medal by Brigadier-General Stuart, in presence of a full muster of the Reserve
Brigade, R.F.A., about 2000 all told.
The weather was all that could be desired, a lovely clear frosty day,
with bright sunshine. In presenting the
medal, Brig.-Gen. Stuart related the heroic deed for which the medal was
awarded, and congratulated Gr. MacLauchlan on his pluck and coolness, adding
that it was deeds like these which showed the stuff Britishers were made
of. After decorating the hero, the
Brigadier-General shook hands with him, and the different batteries then
marched off to their respective parade grounds.
The award was very popular in the camp, especially under the unusual
circumstances, as it was over 15 months since Gr. MacLachlan was recommended
for the D.C.M. for his brave deed and it was thought that the matter had been
overlooked. The first intimation
received was on Wednesday, 31st January, when the medal arrived at the
camp. Gr. MacLachlan is a member of the
Largs Section of the Territorials, belongs to Fairlie, and is the son of Mr.
John MacLachlan, Brooksby Gardens, Largs, who has also another son, a prisoner
of war in Germany.
17 February 17 Another visitor to the village was Gunner Ian
MacLachlan, who, by his many friends, was heartily congratulated on the honour
recently conferred on him.
McLachlan in the Holy Land, 1917 (during the General Allenby campaign)
McLachlan family in Canada in 1940 – Ian (4th left), Duncan (3rd
right) and mother Margaret (seated)
c1902: Father John, Jean, Robert, Peggy,
Lily, mother Margaret & Duncan, Peter, Ian (front)