Falkirk’s brave band of brothers

Richard Hendry, also known as Dick survived the war with brother John who was awarded the Military Medal
Richard Hendry, also known as Dick survived the war with brother John who was awarded the Military Medal

Watching a loved one march off to a war when the chances of death were high was a pain thousands of Falkirk families endured from 1914 to 18.

Some families had to endure this unbearable uncertainty of life more than others as more than one were conscripted or volunteered to do their duty for King and Country in its desperate hour of need.

The Hendry family from Falkirk had to wave goodbye to three brothers in arms. Only two returned safely and one was never to be found again.

Brothers Richard, or Dick as he was known, and John Hendry both survived the theatre of World War One, but brother-in-law Alexander Stirling Learmonth, an iron moulder in Grahamston Foundry raised in Kerse Lane, whose sister Elizabeth was married to Dick, was posted missing, presumed dead, following a “ferocious attack” by Germans at Ypres in Belgium on November 11, 1914.

He was 35. His body has never been found or identified. His name is engraved on panel 11 at the Menin Gate Memorial. His death remains a mystery. The last letter his parents received from him was on September 29, 1914.

Dick enlisted for military service with the Royal Scots in Linlithgow aged 19 in 1912 and served until 1919. He was transferred to the 12th Battalion of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders and spent time in France before moving on to Macedonia for the rest of the war.

He died aged 84 in January 1978 at the Marie Curie Hospice in Edinburgh and is buried in Camelon Cemetery along with brother John Hendry who was awarded two of the military’s highest honours – the Military Medal and Distinguished Conduct Medal.

FACTFILE

John Hendry, of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, was given the Military Medal and Distinguished Conduct Medal for his distinguished conduct.

A report in 1918 said: “This non-commissioned officer, who was in charge of three guns, did not hesitate to move two of them under heavy hostile machine-gun fire to a very exposed position, from which he was able to destroy an enemy machine-gun post and allow his own infantry to withdraw.”