Second Lieutenant Thomas Matthew Lyon, 9th (Glasgow Highlanders) Battalion Highland Light Infantry, born on 6 December 1886 at Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, was the third son of Thomas Lyon, a Mason, and Margaret Lyon, of 8 Howard Park Drive, Kilmarnock.


His siblings were Agnes, Archibald, David, Alexander and Gareth.


As a youth Tom made contributions to the Kilmarnock Standard. He spent some time in Canada, but eventually returned to Kilmarnock and joined the editorial team of the Standard in 1911.


He saw at first hand the horrors of the First World War and yet as a journalist, the reports he sent home were filled with humour.


On Saturday 4 September 1915, the Daily Record reported:


Private T. M. Lyon. Glasgow Highlanders, son of Mr. Thomas Lyon, builder, Kilmarnock, has been wounded in action by the bursting of a shell. Private Lyon before enlisting was a member of The Kilmarnock Standard editorial staff.


It seems that it was at this time that he met Hannah (Nan) Banks who was a military nurse. On 7 November 1916, they were married at St Aidan’s Church in Leeds. The wedding certificate give Tom’s residence as Moorfield Military Hospital at Glossop, Derbyshire.


He was a keen observer of men and affairs and he found the time during those terrible war years to record the lighter side of army life. A series of his articles appeared in the Standard at that time under the pen name of Private Leo. These articles were later published as a book, In Kilt and Khaki. This was so successful that a second quickly followed. This one, More Adventures in Kilt and Khaki was also a great success.


For many years he was assistant editor and was responsible for the leaders and the long running popular Local Echoes column. In 1939 he succeeded John P Dickson as editor.


He played an active part in the affairs of the town. He was a scholar of the works of Burns and was an honorary member of the Burns Federation. Before the NHS was set up he was a member of the Board of Directors of the Kilmarnock Infirmary. He was also a founder member of the Kilmarnock Rotary Club.


At the time of the Second World War he was too old to join his old regiment, but he served in the Special Constabulary.


He died at Irvine on 6 December 1950 on his 64th birthday.


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More Adventures In Kilt and Khaki.

Second Lieutenant Thomas Matthew Lyon.

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