A NEILSTON soldier who died from tuberculosis contracted in the trenches of the First World War is to be commemorated, 99 years after his death.

Private Alexander Laird has finally been honoured by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC), as a result of a joint campaign by the Neilston War Memorial Association (NWMA) and the Scottish Military Research Group.

The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) 4th Battalion soldier has lain in an unmarked grave in Neilston Cemetery since he died at the Darnley Military Hospital on April 3, 1918, aged 22.

Those who died fighting or from battle wounds are only marked as casualties of WWI if they died between August 4, 1914 and November 11, 1918.

While soldiers who died after the war, up until March 25, 1921, are also honoured, Private Laird was adjudged to have been unfit for service and, as such, was not listed as a casualty.

A disability report indicated Private Laird was suffering from tuberculosis of the lung in October 1917.

The soldier himself had reported sick with a heavy cough while posted in the trenches two years previously. Though Private Laird received treatment, he was kept on duty.

In the same year, his elbow was shattered by a gunshot while fighting in Armentières, France, during the Battle of Festubert.

Following spells in hospitals in France and England, he was discharged from the Army as being “no longer physically fit for war service”.

The NWMA announced the burial site would be marked to confirm Private Laird as a casualty after the CWGC accepted his death was a consequence of his army service.

Private Laird was one of four brothers who fought in the war. Just one survived.

Siblings James and John both died suffered the same fate, while Private Laird’s Brother William served with the 1st Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.

Matt Drennan, president of the NWMA, confirmed the news and said: “I am extremely pleased to announce, as from January 21, 2017, 99 years after his death, we have managed to get a Neilston Soldier commemorated at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission as a casualty of World War I.

“Alexander Laird of Neilston currently lies in a unmarked grave at Neilston Cemetery.

“This will be great news to the family members who travelled to Neilston from Manchester in November last year to pay respect to the four Laird brothers from Neilston.

“Our fight to ensure our people are commemorated and remembered continues. Thank you all for your support.”

Matt said has told The News a CWGC stone will be erected at Neilston Cemetery in due course.

The son of Agnes and James, Private Laird lived at 39 High Street, Neilston with his parents.

Aged 17, he enlisted with the territorial regiment of the 1st 6th Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.

Private Laird was later transferred to the Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) 1st Battalion headquartered at Hamilton on March 6, 1914.

Prior to the war, Private Laird was employed at the village’s dye works.