Their Stories IV

Govanites not on the Roll of Honour

Portraits of Privates Donald and Neil McNeill

Private Donald McNeill

Private Neil McNeill

Donald and Neil McNeill were two of four brothers (along with Archibald and Alex), and a brother-in-law, Hamilton McDiarmid, who served in the First World War. The McNeill family home was at 200 Brighton Street. Archibald, Alex and Hamilton all came home at the end of the War but Donald & Neil sadly did not. Donald was with the 2nd Battalion of the Cameronians when he died on 15 March 1916, and Neil was with the 16th Battalion of the Highland Light Infantry and died on the very first day of the Battle of the Somme. Neither Donald nor Neil appear on the War Memorial Roll of Honour.

Portrait of Private John McDonald

Private John McDonald

A dock labourer at Glasgow Harbour, John enlisted with the 5th Battalion of the Cameronians in 1914. On 25th September 1915 he took part in the first day of the Battle of Loos when the British soldiers were mown down in waves by German machine guns, losing 90% of their complement in this single action. John was one of the 800 men killed that day. He was 25 years old. John is not recorded on the Govan War Memorial Roll of Honour.

Portrait of Sergeant Adam James Kennedy

Sergeant Adam James Kennedy

Born at 57 Windsor Street (now Vicarfield Street) Govan on 24 April 1888, Adam enlisted with the 1st Battalion Gordon Highlanders and served on the Western Front at The Battles of Mons, Le Cateau, the Marne, the Aisne La Bassee and Messines – all in 1914. He died on 17th November 1914 of wounds received at the First Battle of Ypres and he is buried at Poperinghe Old Military Cemetery in Belgium. Adam is not recorded on the Govan War Memorial Roll of Honour.

The Munitions Women

The majority of workers employed at the National Projectile Factories and National Filling Factories were women, working in these munitions factories with high explosives could be very dangerous, it is recorded that 77 women were killed by explosions at National Filling Factories and two of these women, Agnes Heffernan and Minnie Russell, were from Govan.

Neither Agnes nor Minnie can be found commemorated on any WW1 roll or memorial.

Agnes Heffernan

Agnes was born in Bolton, England in 1899, daughter of Michael Heffernan and Mary Keenan. Agnes was only 17 years old when she was fatally injured due to a shell explosion at Georgetown National Filling Factory in Renfrewshire, Agnes sadly died as a result of her injuries at the Victoria Infirmary in Glasgow on 26th April 1917. Agnes’ usual residence was 116 Mclean Street, Plantation where she lived with her parents.

Marion (Minnie) Russell

Minnie was born on 5th April 1888 in Kilmarnock to Walter Russell and Agnes Weir. Minnie aged 28 was living with her mother at 3 Aboukir Street, Linthouse when she was fatally injured after an explosion of a detonator at the Cardonald National Filling Factory on Meiklewood Road in Drumoyne, Minnie sadly died as a result of her injuries at the Western Infirmary in Glasgow on 29th May 1917.

Munitions Workers at Cardonald NPF

100th Anniversary Credits

Graphic Design: Kireon Redmond

Text: Dr. Alan Leslie

Research: Colin Quigley

Special thanks to: Sheila Lawson

Pearce Institute

The Govan Reminiscence Group would like to thank the Govan Cross Townscape Heritage Initiative (GCTHI) for their support and cooperation in retrieving the casket and their support for the 100th Anniversary event.

Govan Cross Townscape Heritage Initiative (GCTHI) Logo