Plea from Down Under to uncover Kirkintilloch dad’s military record

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HERALD readers have been asked to help solve a mystery this week – all the way from Australia.

Robin Maitland, who lives in Victoria, is on a mission to find out more about his late father William’s military service.

William’s parents, James and Katherine Cooper, lived in Kirkintilloch, but moved to Philadelphia – where William was born in 1897 – to work in the lace manufacturing industry.

Sadly, James died at a young age and William and his sister Ethel were sent to Kirkintilloch as children to live with their uncle, William Maitland, who owned a house called ‘Lethington’ in the Bellfield Road area of the town.

Robin (73) believes the house may still be there.

He said: “It appears in all but the legal sense William adopted them, it also appears my father took the name Maitland as his surname.

“I have been trying to identify my father’s military service with the British Army (WW1), but with no success as I don’t have a service number or details of a battalion.

“His medals have gone missing and I just have no way of pinning this down.

“I hope Herald readers might be able to give me an idea as to what unit a lad from Kirky would sign up to.”

Robin is hoping a picture of his father, possibly taken at the start of the war in 1914, at Gailes Camp, Irvine, will lead to further information.

After the war, William studied at Glasgow University and graduated as a veterinary surgeon in 1924.

He later emigrated to New Zealand and also spent time living in England, where Robin was born, before the family moved to Australia to settle in 1948. He passed away in 1976.

FACE FROM THE PAST: William Maitland, third from bottom on the left, at the Gailes Camp, Irvine.

* Anyone with information that may help Robin is urged to e-mail him at or contact the Herald on 0141 775 0040.