Aberdeenshire Updated October 2011
of Harlaw: 600th Anniversary;
The Battle of Littleferry/Bonar Bridge/Skirmish
at Golspie near Dunrobin 15th April 1746
Cluny Castle page added
Tolquhon and a distant
Piping relative found at
70th Anniversary of
51st (Highland Division)
at Saint-Valéry-en-Caux: 12th
very grateful to Jimmy Chisolm for the above. His father Sgt Jim Chisolm of the 4th Battalion, The Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders,
was captured at
St Valéry and imprisoned in Oflag IIIC, where he became
Drum Major of the Camp Pipe Band. He took part in
the inauguration of the St Valéry Memorial in 1950, a
block of granite quarried near Balmoral. Sgt
Chisolm is 6th from the right in the photograph. He has
also supplied photographs from Oflag IIIC.
70th Anniversary of The Royal Scots Defence of the Dunkirk
Perimeter: 25th May 1940
One of the reasons for the successful evacuation at Dunkirk in
1940 was the determined defence of the perimeter by the
infantry. I am indebted now to the son of one of the survivors,
Corporal Billy Bell, a bandsman in The Royal Scots, for his
story, which is now posted on my page on
The Royal Scots at Le Paradis.
21st March 2010
Added picture of the pipe tune
"Heroes of St Valéry"
at the town's Mairie from Dave Tierney of Stornoway to
51st Division at
St Valéry page.
28th February 2010
British Red Cross
Chile Earthquake Appeal
The Chile Earthquake was, at 8.8 on the Richter
Scale, the 5th Largest since 1900. Damage is extensive and the
infrastructure is badly affected with my friends telling me of
cuts to the water supply and electricity. A small donation now
will help to save lives.
23rd January 2010
7th December 2009
Photographs of Lord Cochrane Monument and British Arch
22nd October 2009
Thursday 22nd October marked the start of this year's
Poppy Appeal. Appropriately this year the campaign, which
helps the families of the fallen and the wounded, focusses on
the casualties in Afghanistan.
For their sake, wear a Poppy.
5th October 2009
The Atlantic Conference 2009
The Atlantic Conference took place from 9-11 October.
Broadcasts can now be listened to on demand.
12th August 2009
New Aberdeenshire pictures:
hill forts and
New Family Pictures.
25th November 2008
I am indebted to medieval scholar, Dr Chris Brown, author of
"William Wallace", ISBN 0752434322
for his providing a researched account of the
Battle of Roslin,
24th February 1303, and for pointing out the significance of the
less well known Battle of Culblean, St Andrew's Day, 1335.
4th November 2008
A set of 6 DVDs of the Atlantic Conference is now for sale (at
cost) on the website
The set contains over 10 hours of fascinating presentations on
early trans-Atlantic contact. Prince Henry was only a small part
of this ancient story. They gathered cartographers, pictography
experts, Native historians, Archaeologists, ancient art experts
and many more to explore the subject from all angles.
There are other presentations, including
Sinclair receiving his Eagle Feather,
which are interesting as well.
26th August 2008
Please excuse the rather impersonal way of communicating
this news, but it is the easiest way to advise our wider
family and friends. Our dear
Mother, Sarah's dearly loved Grannie, passed away with the
family around her in hospital last Wednesday, 20th August. The
funeral took place at her home village Church yesterday.
Donations, if desired, to Cancer Research, for example
Cancer Research UK. An announcement will appear in
The Daily Telegraph tomorrow.
23rd July 2008
Added pictures of the
Chepstow Parish and Priory Church of St. Mary, with the
picture commemorating the VC of Able Seaman Charles Williams RFR
awarded for his valour during the "RIVER CLYDE" landing at Sedd-El-Bahr.
23rd July 2008
Added a picture of the grave of
Commander Pringle Stokes RN of "HMS BEAGLE" near Punta
Arenas, Chile, taken by Jack Howard on a recent visit.
24th June 2008
Invasions of Buenos Aires
22nd April 2008
the page Remember
51st (Highland) Division at Saint-Valéry-en-Caux
his visit to
Valéry-en-Caux, April 2008, with his father who served with 23
Field Regiment, The Royal Artillery, attached to the 51st
Division in 1940, and his son, a serving Lance Corporal.
21st April 2008
new map of Laird family distribution and audio clip with
Scottish pronunciation of Laird to
Laird Origins page and
new map of Haplogroup migration 30-35,000 BP and new links to
DNA testing page.
17th March 2008
The Atlantic Conference to be held at Saint Mary's
University, Nova Scotia, should bring much needed light to a
dark corner in history.
1st March 2008
took part in the
Big Battlefield Bike Ride (BBBR) for the charity
Help for Heroes which provides support for our wounded.
Click on his picture for his sponsorship page and on the
H4H picture for more information about the charity's work.
4th January 2008
I have started making some changes to the
51st (Highland) Division at
pages thanks to
new material, including contemporary press cuttings sent to me
51st Division veteran's son,
Rory Johnston, and
Angus Hay, another veteran's son has pointed me back in the
direction that I had originally believed, that the Division had
the Saltire as a badge in 1940.
I have been contacted by
Fred Kennington whose brother, with many others from Berwick
who were Territorials in 7th Battalion
The Royal Northumberland Fusiliers (RNF), and
were captured at
Todd J. Wilkinson,
President of the Clan Cumming Society of the USA has written in
Battle of Roslin page with thanks for efforts to inform
about this overlooked battle in Scottish history, and we are
arranging reciprocal links.
Donate to the DEC Bangladesh Cyclone Appeal with the British Red
51st Highland Division at
Rory Johnston for his permission to
include details of his father's experience at
developments in the Scottish Regiments
Added new photographs to
Harthill Castle; the
Gordon Stane and
7th August 2007
The Battle of Killiecrankie
Added page and photographs on the
Battle of Killiecrankie, 27th
July 1689, having visited the area on the anniversary of
the battle last month.
Deer on the Road
friend's unpleasant experience has alerted us to the
common experience of hitting deer on the road at night, and
the easy solution of a
whistle. It comes as a real surprise that despite paying
road tax, council tax and income tax, we can face the
possibility of a large bill for repairs from
Scotland TranServ, a private agency responsible for the
management and maintenance of North West Scotland's trunk roads.
£ 7.50 for a deer whistle is good solution.
St Andrew Pilgrim Badge
We first saw an example of this badge
5 years ago but a visit to
St Andrews last week took us to where it can be found.
Not as we had expected, at
Historic Scotland's Shop at the Cathedral, or at their
Visitor's Centre at St Andrews Castle, next to
Castlecliffe, where the
original was discovered, but at the small shop at
Andrews Museum, Kinburn House, run by Fife Council and by
the Kilmartin House Museum,
Argyll. The reproduction is in plated pewter, by
Peter Shorer, and costs £ 9.99.
Selection from Antiquity Reproduction by Peter Shorer
Link to picture of the original
Laird DNA Project
I have joined the
Laird DNA Project as
Bruce Laird has
noted that another participant was very close to my markers.
There has been a breakthrough in his research as a will from a
Richard Laird 1797 of
Bogstown Londonderry has been discovered. The will names all
the other family members and locates his family origin in
Northern Ireland at Tully (fern) in Ramelton County Donegal. He
suspects that his "Planter Laird's" came across as part of the
Plantation in 1619-1620 to Donegal. Anecdotal evidence is
that they may have come from Renfrew in Scotland, where my
ancestors are found in the 1841 Census.
St Columba's Scotland County Arms
Added the Arms of Aberdeen, Orkney, Caithness and Renfrew
St Columba's, Pont Street, London, to the relevant pages of
17th December 2006
I have been contacted by Bruce Laird, from Australia, whose
DNA varies from mine by one marker. His family is from
Northern Ireland, and his website is at
Hunter Family Genealogy - Ulster Northern Ireland Londonderry
New Pictures from
New Section: Aberdeenshire
A section for the North East, home of my Mother's
Norwegian Vikings on the Wye
It must have been one of their furthest incursions into
England when in AD 911 the army of Eric Blood Axe and
two Jarls, Rognvald and Uhter, landed at Beachley on the River
Severn, near Chepstow, and crossed the Forest of Dean and set up
their base at Symond's Yat, near Ross-on-Wye. The story is
The Book of South Wales, the Wye, and the Coast.
First published by Arthur Hall, Virtue & Co.,
Family History Development
I have found notes of conversations with my
Jean, in about 1980, at my Mother's home. These
have supplemented the Biography
page and added information on my
Great Great Grandfather and Great Uncles.
Significantly they record that John Laird, of whom we know very
little, owned the Dye
Works at Clydesdale, Rutherglen, and that his son, John
Clydesdale Laird's home was at Kinfauns Terrace, Ibrox. She also
told me John Clydesdale's wife was Jean Morris, though the
records are of Jane Burke. She also told me John Clydesdale
Laird was brought up by his stepmother,
and that his father left him money to see the world, and that he
visited the USA before settling down.
Updated Bergen page with new
pictures, including Scots built Church, the Nykirken.
Anniversaries can now be found at the
Website of the
Scottish Knights Templar, an ongoing project
Have added further pictures from
700th Anniversary of the Coronation of King Robert the Bruce
On 25th March 1306 King Robert the Bruce was crowned King of
Scots at Scone Palace, Perthshire, in the presence the Bishops
of St Andrews, Glasgow and Moray and the Abbot of Scone, and the
Earls of Atholl, Lennox and Menteith by the Countess of
Buchan as representative of the Clan MacDuff.
Added page for the 51st Highland Division at
Athelstaneford: The Saltire
Added photographs from Athelstaneford to the
Legend of the Saltire page from
Eddie Ramsay, and a link to Eddie Ramsay's
Ramsay website and the new
Wikipedia page on the Battle of
St Andrew's Day petition - the Teaching of Scottish Culture
A petition urging a review of how Scottish literature and
history is taught has gone before
The Scottish Parliament's Petitions Committee.
I am privileged to have a role in the
DNA testing programme of Clan Sinclair which is being led by
St Clair and Stan St Clair in the USA. The the results
so far have been interesting to say the least.
British Red Cross
to the Asian earthquake appeal
The devastation in the wake of Hurricane Katrina is worse than
we at first thought, and our thoughts are with the unfortunate
victims. American Red Cross volunteers have been sent in
to the worst areas of Katrina's destruction, supplying the
hundreds of thousands of victims left homeless with the means of
survival. Our contributions to Hurricane 2005 Relief allow the
Red Cross to provide shelter, food, counselling and other
Asian Tsunami Disaster
We made a difference. £ 300 million raised in the UK from
private donors, which the Government has pledged to match. See
Sky News : British Tsunami Appeal Ends
With £ 300 m
in partnership with
TheNational Trust for Scotland, has launched a vote for the
Seven Wonders of Scotland.
There is a shortlist of 30 from which voters are invited to
compile their short list of Seven Wonders. The list includes,
not surprisingly, Rosslyn Chapel, The prehistoric treasures of
Orkney and single malt whisky. You can e-mail in wonders not
listed, so not champion Castle Sinclair Girnigoe? E-mail
email@example.com and put Castle
Sinclair Girnigoe in the Subject line of the e-mail and write "I
vote for Castle Sinclair Girnigoe to be added to the vote for
the Seven Wonders of Scotland -
list can be found at
and to vote you will
need to register with The Scotsman on line, which is free. To
vote or register go to
The Royal Scots are to return for a
short notice deployment to Iraq just before they are merged
with the Kings Own Scottish Borderers. There are also rumbles
south of the border as the unpopular mergers continue.
colonel of the Light Infantry is facing a vote of no confidence
by the regimental association. It is furious at not being
consulted about the alleged "surrender" of the unit's famous
name in merger negotiations."
Submissions due by the end of the year for the
Russell Davies & Stuart Laird Prize, which commemorates my
contribution to Anaesthesia for the burnt patient.
It is heartening to know that on the eve of the year when our old Scottish
Regiments are to disappear into the pages of history,
that The Black Watch (The Royal Highland Regiment) continues to be celebrated in
Lieutenant Colonel Ian McCulloch's new 2 volume history of the Highland
Regiment's first 250 years is being published in May 2006.
21st October 2005
200th Anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar, 21st October 1805
2005 marks the bicentenary of the
of Trafalgar, the facts of which are well known to most. Less well appreciated is the strong Scots
element in Nelson’s fleet. Over 30% of
his 18,000 men were Scots, More...
Laird Biographies Addition
from register of Proclamation of Banns for Paisley Middle
Kirk, Parish of Renfrew, 12th August 1842, John Laird and Jane
Burke, great great grandparents.
Oslo page added with photographs from the Viking Ship
Museum, Akershus Castle, Vigeland Park and Holmenkollen Ski Jump
information on the
Scots in Bergen, including their contribution to the
Nykirken, and photo of
Niven Sinclair with what may be Laurits Hage, the Sherriff of
Dovre's tessak, or Sinclairsabel or Sinclair Sabre from Kringen
in 1612 on the Battle of Kringen
9th September 2005
The Battle of Flodden, 9th September 1513
The Flower of Scotland fell at Flodden Field,
near Branxton, in Northumberland. The Scots lost 10,000 men,
including their King.
23rd August 2005
700th Anniversary of the Execution of Sir
William Wallace: 1305-2005
Memorial to Sir William Wallace near the place of his
execution, 23rd August 1305,
now the site of St Bartholomew's Hospital, West Smithfield, London.
7th August 2005
For centuries, many historians have
believed that the Government Force at
outfought the undisciplined Jacobite forces of Bonnie Prince
Charlie. But new excavations at the site of the battle have
revealed that the Jacobites came far closer to victory than most
contemporary accounts suggest. Dr Tony Pollard, of the
Two Men in a Trench programme, and a team from Glasgow
University archaeological research division, have discovered
that the Highlanders came close to breaking the government line
and rewriting history. The almost suicidal attack of the Young
Pretender's 7,000-strong army, armed with dirks and broadswords,
forced Cumberland and his troops loyal to George II to turn his
previously held in reserve, on to their serried ranks to prevent
a rout of his troops, according to the new
5th August 2005
The Alford Bull and
Alford, Aberdeenshire stands the statue of an Aberdeen Angus
Bull, commemorating the establishment of the breed there.
3rd August 2005
First photographs from
Clan Sinclair 2005 International Gathering in Orkney and
Caithness. Here are two photos of the Clan Sinclair Pipe Band
Lisa Burns, South Carolina.
The photos include the
commemorating the link
between the Cathedral and
We also noted during our visit that
Lairds are to be found in Orkney as well as Caithness.See
8th July 2005
and prayers are with the victims of yesterday's atrocities in
London and their families. Our best tribute to them
is that we are continuing our lives as normal. The Emergency
Services and many volunteers who have done a fantastic job in
the worst of circumstances have our deepest appreciation. We are
not giving in to hatred. The bombers did not discriminate,
neither do we.
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Sign the Petition to make St Andrew's Day a Public Holiday.
St Andrew is Scotland's Patron Saint, and his Cross is an
important Scottish symbol. Let us give him his proper
place in the life of our Nation.
23rd June 2005
is the Anniversary of first day of The Battle of Bannockburn,
have broken my good battle-axe." are the words
attributed to King Robert the Bruce as he returned
from his fatal encounter with
de Bohun on the eve of the main battle by H E
Marshall in "Scotland's Story" More
2th June 2005
Today is the Anniversary of the capture at
of The 51st Highland Division, left in France after the
Evacuation of Dunkirk (completed 4th June) and who fought on for
a further 8 days on their own until, out of ammunition and
supplies, with no support or hope of rescue, were ordered to lay
down their arms.
Julian Roger is
trying to trace any surviving members of the 7th and 8th Argyll
and Sutherland Highlanders who, separated from the rest of the
Division, escaped from Le Havre in the boat 'Margot II' 1940.
His Great Grandfather had the boat built for him and it still
exists as part on the 'Dunkirk Little Ships Association' to
reunite the people who travelled on her.
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The British legacy in
Valparaíso, Chile and its presence today.
11th June 2005
International Section with a page on the traces of the
Istanbul's Aghia Sofia Cathedral
Added page for
Southern Norway and Orkney and Caithness
at Bringsværd and Grimstad in the Aust-Agder.
Added Photographs of Roslin
Rosslyn Chapel. Rosslyn Chapel is one of the most beautiful
and engimatic buildings made by man, and is matched by the
beauty and mystery of the Glen and the Esk which flows below it.
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90th Anniversary of The Royal Scots Gretna Rail Disaster,
1915. 214 members of the 7th Battalion, The Royal Scots
were killed en route to Gallipoli when their train crashed into
carriages of a local train, and then the northbound express
collided with the wreckage at
ANZAC Day and the 90th Anniversary of the Gallipoli Landings.
To mark the Anniversary I have launched a special
Gallipoli page with photographs that
I took in 1989. The page is dedicated to the memory of the late
Captain Emre Omur who made the visit possible for me. The
pictures of Anzac Cove are particularly important as recent road
improvement has removed the distinctive features that made the
landing there so difficult, and the movement inland.
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I have introduced a Bergen
page to the
Norwegian Section given the long and strong connections this
world heritage city has to Scotland, and a new
link to Jan Waage's Norwegian History
and Genealogy site.
I am delighted to have been asked by Steve St Clair and Stan
St Clair in the USA to join their DNA research project and a UK
website has been set up to carry forward the work this side of
the Atlantic -
www.sinclairresearch.co.uk. This is all very
new to me and I have just sent off for my testing kit, and will
post up my
own experience on the website, so other newcomers can get a feel
this runs. All UK based cousins are cordially invited to join
in. For further information, please visit the website.
Please note the website will be unavailable for a period
from 20th June - 7th July while the server is being relocated.
mark Regimental Day, the anniversary of the Issue of the Royal
Warrant under Charles I's authority at Whitehall, to raise The
Royal Scots, and to keep up the profile of the
Save the Scottish Regiments campaign, I have added
special page in the
Scots History Section.
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To mark the anniversary of the Raising of The King's Own
Scottish Borderers, 18th March 1689, and to keep up the profile
of the campaign, I have added a
special page in the
Scots History Section
of our website to pay tribute to their legal challenge to the
Secretary of State's proposals. This is from an article I wrote
for the March Newsletter of
Crossraguel Preceptory (Ayrshire) of
Templi Scotia, Scottish Knights Templar
Photograph of my father with Great Uncle Bill at Kentlyn in
1950 from Bev in Australia.
Thanks to John in Australia, a new photograph of Great
Grandfather and Great Grandmother, seated and their daughter
Jean and brother ?. Click on the photograph for the link to the
Added pictures of Laird Memorials in
and Wick Kirkyard, photos taken by me in 1999.
New Hogmanay page, bringing
together the origins and traditions of Hogmanay.
Attending the Installation of
Crossraguel Preceptory (Ayrshire) of
Templi Scotia, Scottish Knights Templar, November
18 May 2004
available, and we now have full hosting rather than forwarding
as before with
www.iain-laird.co.uk which was hosted on a BT Openworld
server. This should make giving references to pages in
this site much easier.
to David W Smith
for pointing me in the direction of his wife's family tree where
we can see that my paternal grandmother,
great grandmother (mother of Diana
Levack of Wick, Caithness) was Mary Sinclair Mackay.
On a visit to Caithness, we met Ella Calder (born Laird) who
confirmed that the Lairds, of whom she is one of the last to
have been born and to continue to live in Caithness, were of
Norse origin, confirming my own family's story. She knows of a
number of Lairds, who like our Great Grandfather, found
themselves in Glasgow in the mid 19th Century.
Giving a talk on Clan Sinclair to the Caledonian
Society of Norway, March 2002
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Campaign for the Real Reel of the 51st
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