THE family of a Neilston man who served his country in the First World War travelled to the village last week for a special ceremony in his honour.

Relatives of Alex Laird travelled from as far afield as Manchester for the memorial at Neilston Cemetery.

Organised by the Neilston War Memorial Association (NWMA), the ceremony marked the installation of a Commonwealth War Graves Commission military stone for Alex, whose remains had been in an unmarked grave for 100 years.

Matt Drennan, secretary of NWMA, said: “We first came across this story more than four years ago when we were doing other research.

“Alex hadn’t been recognised as a victim of the war, but he has since, and we managed to find out where he was buried.

“Lots of research and documentation was put together to get Alex the military stone he so deserved.”

Alex, a labourer in the local dye works, was one of four brothers from the village who served during the war.

He joined the Cameronian Scottish Rifles before complaining of sickness in the trenches in early 1915.

After being kept on duty, he was injured in May that year, suffering a gunshot wound to the left arm, meaning he returned to the UK for six months.

Despite continuing to complain of a cough while in hospital, he was sent back on duty, before being deemed unfit by the military. By October 1917, he had a confirmed case of tuberculosis and died on April 3, 1918.

Of the four Laird brothers, three were killed by disease or injury suffered during the war.

Jean Laird discovered her family’s links with the First World War and has been in contact with the NWMA for more than three years.

Alongside her brother John and cousin Elizabeth, Jean, 67, who lives in Manchester, said: “This was a really big day for our family and it was quite emotional. My brother John came over from Paisley, which was great.

“We are thankful for all of the hard work Matt and the war memorial group put in and I’m glad Alex has now been recognised.”

Alongside Alex’s immediate family, an 83-year-old Cameronians veteran and a small group of locals also attended the service to pay their respects.

NWMA supporter Jimmy Higgins read a eulogy, as well as a poem printed in the Barrhead News at the end of the First World War. Pipe Major Iain McDonald then played tunes as wreaths were laid.