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Aberdeenshire Updated October 2011

attle of Harlaw: 600th Anniversary; Delgatie Castle.
New Page for The Battle of Littleferry/Bonar Bridge/Skirmish at Golspie near Dunrobin 15th April 1746

Cluny Castle page added September 2010

Aberdeenshire Updated August 2010

New castles:Fyvie, Huntly, Pitfichie and Tolquhon and a distant Piping relative found at Craigievar.

70th Anniversary of
51st (Highland Division) at Saint-Valéry-en-Caux: 12th June 1940

I am 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

Our Burns Supper

7th December 2009

Photographs of Lord Cochrane Monument and British Arch posted on
Valparaíso page.

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: castles; hill forts and Archaeolink, Oyne.

New Family Pictures.

New Culloden 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 Atlantic Conference
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 Niven 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 Memorial Chapel at 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
New page: The British Invasions of Buenos Aires

22nd April 2008

to the page  Remember 51st (Highland) Division at Saint-Valéry-en-Caux David Freeman's photographs  from  his visit to St 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
Added 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. More...

1st March 2008
Our friend Nick Taylor  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
St Valéry pages thanks to new material, including contemporary press cuttings sent to me by 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.

18th December 2007
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 St-Valéry More...

18th December 2007
Todd J. Wilkinson, President of the Clan Cumming Society of the USA has written in about the Battle of Roslin page with thanks for efforts to inform about this overlooked battle in Scottish history, and we are arranging reciprocal links.

24th November 2007

Donate to the DEC Bangladesh Cyclone Appeal with the British Red Cross

19th October 2007
51st Highland Division at
I am grateful to Rory Johnston for his permission to include details of his father's experience at Saint-Valéry-en-Caux. More...


21st September 2007


New developments in the Scottish Regiments Issue.

8th August 2007
Aberdeenshire Update

Added new photographs to Aberdeenshire Section: Kildrummy Castle; Glenbuchat Castle; Craigievar Castle; Harthill Castle; the Maiden Stone; Bennachie; the Gordon Stane and Hosie's Well.

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.

7th August 2007
Deer on the Road
A friend's unpleasant experience has alerted us to the potential consequences very common experience of hitting deer on the road at night, and the easy solution of a deer 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.

3rd August 2007
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
 St 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

18th March 2007
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.

6th January 2007
St Columba's Scotland County Arms
Added the Arms of Aberdeen, Orkney, Caithness and Renfrew from St Columba's, Pont Street, London, to the relevant pages of the site.

17th December 2006
Laird DNA
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 Laird & Hunter Family Genealogy - Ulster Northern Ireland Londonderry and Letterkenny

19th November 2006
New Pictures from Aghia Sophia

17th August 2006
New Section: Aberdeenshire

A section for the North East, home of my Mother's family.

1st August 2006
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 told in
The Book of South Wales, the Wye, and the Coast. First published by Arthur Hall, Virtue & Co., London, 1861. More...

30th July 2006
Family History Development

I have found notes of conversations with my Great Aunt Jean, in about 1980,  at my Mother's home.  These have supplemented the Biography page and added information on my Grandfather, Great Grandfather, 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, Elizabeth Burke, and that his father left him money to see the world, and that he visited the USA before settling down.

29th May 2006
Bergen Page

Updated Bergen page with new pictures, including Scots built Church, the Nykirken.

22nd May 2006
Anniversaries can now be found at the Website of the Scottish Knights Templar, an ongoing project

Have added further pictures from Roslin.

25th March 2006
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. More...

17th March 2006
Highland Division

Added page for the 51st Highland Division at
St Côme in 1944.

18th February 2006
Athelstaneford: The Saltire

Added photographs from Athelstaneford to the Legend of the Saltire page from Eddie Ramsay, and a link to Eddie Ramsay's Clan Ramsay website and the new Wikipedia page on the Battle of Kringen page.

20th January 2006
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.

30th December 2005
DNA Testing

I am privileged to have a role in the DNA testing programme of Clan Sinclair which is being led by Steve St Clair and Stan St Clair in the USA.  The the results so far have been interesting to say the least. More...

British Red Cross

Please give to the Asian earthquake appeal More...


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 assistance.

Make A Donation

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

19th February 2006

The Scotsman, 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
7wonders@scotsman.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 - www.castle-sg.org ."The list can be found at http://heritage.scotsman.com/wonders.cfm?action=list and to vote you will
need to register with The Scotsman on line, which is free. To vote or register go to

22nd December 2005

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.
The 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."

18th December 2005

Submissions due by the end of the year for the Russell Davies & Stuart Laird Prize, which commemorates my father's contribution to Anaesthesia for the burnt patient.

17th December 2005

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 Canada.  Lieutenant Colonel Ian McCulloch's new 2 volume history of the Highland Regiment's first 250 years is being published in May 2006.  More...

21st October 2005
200th Anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar, 21st October 1805

2005 marks the bicentenary of the The Battle 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...

16th October
Laird Biographies Addition

Added extract from register of Proclamation of Banns for Paisley Middle Kirk, Parish of Renfrew, 12th August 1842, John Laird and Jane Burke, great great grandparents.

1st October
Norway Additions

Oslo page added with photographs from the Viking Ship Museum, Akershus Castle, Vigeland Park and Holmenkollen Ski Jump and links. More 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 page.

 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.  More...

7th August 2005
Culloden News

For centuries, many historians have believed that the Government Force at Culloden 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 heavy mortars, previously held in reserve, on to their serried ranks to prevent a rout of his troops, according to the new evidence.

5th August 2005
The Alford Bull and Argentina

In Alford, Aberdeenshire stands the statue of an Aberdeen Angus Bull, commemorating the establishment of the breed there. more...

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 from Lisa Burns, South Carolina.

The photos  include the Plaque commemorating the link between the Cathedral and
The Fjære Kirke,  Bringsværd, Southern Norway.

We also noted during our visit that Lairds are to be found in Orkney as well as Caithness.See also www.cursiter.com.

8th July 2005

Our thoughts 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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7th July 2005

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
Today is the Anniversary of first day of The Battle of Bannockburn, 1314
"I 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
St Valéry-en-Caux 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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Valparaíso, Chile

The British legacy in Valparaíso, Chile and its presence today.

11th June 2005

Opened new International Section with a page on the traces of the Vikings in Istanbul's Aghia Sofia Cathedral

6th June 2005

Added page for connections between Southern Norway and Orkney and Caithness at Bringsværd and Grimstad in the Aust-Agder.

30th May 2005

Added Photographs of Roslin Glen, by 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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22nd May 2005

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 Quintinshill.

25th April 2005

Anzac Koyu, Dardanelles, Turkey
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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20th April

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.

20th April

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 for how
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.

28th March

To 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 a special page in the Scots History Section.

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18th March

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 Militi Templi Scotia,  Scottish Knights Templar

20th February

Photograph of my father with Great Uncle Bill at Kentlyn in 1950 from  Bev in Australia.

24th January

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 full version.

17th January 2005

Added pictures of Laird Memorials in Canisbay Kirkyard and Wick Kirkyard, photos taken by me in 1999.

31st December 2004
New Hogmanay page, bringing together the origins and traditions of Hogmanay.

Attending the Installation of Crossraguel Preceptory (Ayrshire) of Militi Templi Scotia,  Scottish Knights Templar,  November 2004


18 May 2004
www.laird.org.uk became 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.

26 October 2003
Thanks to David W Smith for pointing me in the direction of his wife's family tree where we can see that my paternal grandmother, Mary Crockart's great grandmother (mother of Diana Levack of Wick, Caithness) was Mary Sinclair Mackay.

June 2002
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.

March 2002

Cally1.jpg (115555 bytes)
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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Last updated: 17/07/2016