A KEEN historian has started work on a book that will reveal the hidden impact of the First World War on Barrhead, Neilston and Uplawmoor.

Matt Drennan, secretary of the Neilston War Memorial Association, has uncovered the stories of local soldiers who lost their lives as a result of fighting in the First World War, but are not recorded as such.

Matt explained: “The recently digitised first war pension ledgers and index cards from 1914 to 1923 have revealed local soldiers who died due to wounds and complications of wounds received during the war but who are not registered as war dead because the government selected a cut-off date for causalities as August 31, 1921.

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“The pension collection comprises records of pensions for those who were injured or killed fighting in the First World War.

“Details are provided for the soldiers themselves, as well as widows and others, with very many locals listed as suffering gunshot wounds and the effects of gas.

“Surprisingly, very many men came home with heart disease because of their war service.”

One case Matt’s research brought to light is the Chisholm family’s story, in which one brother was listed as a casualty but the other was not because of the cut-off.

William John Chisholm, of Neilston Road, Uplawmoor, enlisted in 1914 with the Royal Highlanders Black Watch regiment. He was discharged on September 24, 1915, suffering from tuberculosis due to Army service.

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His brother Alex, a lance corporal with the Highland Light Infantry, was killed in action March 26, 1918, and is listed by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission as a casualty of the war.

However, William died at 28 from tuberculosis on April 23, 1923, but due to the cut-off his sacrifice was not recorded.

Matt said: “I have also discovered families in Barrhead with the same outcome, such as the Stevenson family, who ran a bacon-processing factory during the war.

“Their son, Alan, was a gunner in the Royal Garrison Artillery and was discharged in 1919.

“Subsequently, on November 24, 1924, he died due to the lasting effects of gas poisoning and tuberculosis he contracted in France. He is also not listed as a casualty of the war.

“This must have brought much bitterness and anguish to families who lost sons to the war.”

Matt’s book is in its early stages but he hopes it will help to honour the memories of the Levern Valley’s forgotten war dead.