John (Ian) McLACHLAN

Regiment:                Royal Garrison Artillery, Bute Mountain Battery  

Rank & Number:     
Corporal, 5039 & 301600  

28 January 1894; Fairlie Lodge, Fairlie  

                        06 April 1972; St. Catherine’s, Ontario, Canada  

Military Medal
                                Brother of Duncan & Lily McLachlan and Robert

, 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.    

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 medals.  

London 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, Gallipoli 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.

Ian McLachlan in the Holy Land, 1917 (during the General
Allenby campaign)

 The McLachlan family in Canada in 1940 – Ian (4th left),
 Duncan (3rd right) and mother Margaret (seated)
 McLachlan Family c1902:  Father John, Jean, Robert,
 Peggy, Lily, mother Margaret & Duncan, Peter, Ian (front)

Images courtesy Betty Turner

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