In the book Rutherglen Lore, by librarian W R Shearer, there is a section listing war dead for Rutherglen. Shearer also compiled a book of press cuttings "To Rutherglen Heroes 1914-1918" which has photos of the Rutherglen soldiers who died.

Many of the casualties were sons of prominent Rutherglen families. For instance the author of Rutherglen Lore lost his own son.

William Ross Shearer was best known as the Rutherglen librarian, he was the chief librarian from 1907-1928 and lived with his family in the top floor flat of Rutherglen Library. Well known for his studies in history and photography, Shearer collected a file of cuttings of the war dead and also put a display of their photos up on the library walls. As the numbers rose they ran out of space to put up all the photos. It must have been heart breaking for him to add his own son to the walls, as news arrived that Gordon D. Ross Shearer had died when his sea plane went down in 1917. He was working as an air mechanic with the Royal National Air Service (RNAS) and died aged only 19. See the link below.

Shearer wrote this moving account in 1922 Rutherglen Lore (page 258):

Little did we realise when, in the early days of the War, we put up the first half-dozen portraits of fallen soldiers in the Public Library Reading Room, that in a comparatively short time all the available space in the glass partitions would be covered with records of Rutherglen’s great loss. These portraits, which at the last totalled over 400, were taken hap-hazard from the local press during the course of the War, and created considerable general interest among the general public.

© Zen Boyd. To view more archives on Rutherglen or Cambuslang please contact Rutherglen Heritage Centre to make an appointment. Tel: 0141 613 5380


For more information, click the following link:

Air Mechanic 2nd Class Gordon Dargan Ross Shearer.

 William Ross Shearer

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Rutherglen Library, c. 1920 (Copyright: SLLC Museums online.collection).

William Ross Shearer beside Rutherglen Boundary Stone, from Rutherglen Reformer, 1950s.

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