Having an interest in genealogy takes me on many interesting journeys. I often help others in their search for their roots and every now and again I come across an interesting story. Sticking with the war theme, I had been browsing one of the family history forums. Family historians can often help others with local history questions as well as family associations and this was a post requesting information on a village not far from me. To add to the interest, the name being searched was also a name in my family.
The village being questioned was Glenbuck, a mining village in Ayrshire. It was fairly typical of mining villages with rows of miners’ houses set on quite desolate dark, rolling hills. My memory of it was a ghost village and often my friends and I would take a run in the car over to it. There was something dark and sombre about the rows of empty houses but that’s as far as we got, we never ventured out of the car.
As the story unfolded, some years ago an Australian teacher had spotted traces in a field in France which convinced him, was a war grave. After a lot of hard work trying to persuade anyone to investigate his find, the area was finally excavated. There were over 200 remains of British and Australian soldiers which the German army had buried in a mass grave. This started the process of trying to identify the remains and to give each and every one an honourable burial.
Volunteers were recruited to research the families of the soldiers and this was one of them, trying to identify a soldier whose family had lived in Glenbuck. With this close association with Frommells, I started following the story. It had been a difficult task because there were only a few clues to who the soldiers were but a new war cemetery was built and as each identified soldier was exhumed, he was given an honourable burial in the newly built cemetery.
Glenbuck’s history doesn’t start and end there, the village is thought to have come into existence around the 17th century when a small group of people helped each other build wooden homes and lived off small animals, each helping the other in skills of survival. Minerals later discovered, started to be mined until finally it became a mining village. Very little remains of the village now, just a few scattered houses, however it will remain in British sporting history as the home of Bill Shankly, footballer and ultimately, manager for Liverpoool United.