Anyone familiar with my website may have seen that I photograph War Memorials and display them on one of the pages. My latest “acquisition” is the memorial at Howgate, a small village about 1½ miles from Penicuik in Midlothian. And, as I haven’t blogged for a while I thought I’d combine my photographic habit with my regular blogging about the centenary of the Great War.
Thus, I chose the first name on the Howgate memorial: William James Falside was the third child, and eldest son, of the Rev. John Tully Falside and his wife Elizabeth (nee Semple). Born in Eskdalemuir, in Dumfriesshire, in 1883 I found him in the 1891 census at the Davington Manse in the village, and again in 1901 in Govan, this time studying at Glasgow University.
Thereafter I followed his life through various newspapers. The Dundee Courier (20 September 1911), reports: “Dalkeith United Free Presbytery last evening unanimously agree to moderate in a call to the Rev. Wm J Falside to become minister of Howgate U.F. Church, Midlothian, to fill the vacancy caused by the departure of the Rev. John G Taylor to Glasgow some months ago. Mr Falside’s ordination was fixed for 20th October. He is a native of Langholm, Dumfriesshire, and was for two years assistant at St Paul’s Church, Dundee, and for the last three months assisted in Moncrieff Church, Alloa. The Howgate call was signed by 129 members and 13 adherents.”
A few weeks later, on 4 November 1911, the Alloa Advertiser tells us: “As mentioned in these columns last week, the Rev. W J Falside, son of the late Rev. J T Falside, Eskdalemuir, and Mrs Falside, Livingstone Place, Lockerbie, was on Friday, October 20th, inducted to the pastoral charge of Howgate United Free Church (in the Presbytery of Dalkeith), the vacancy having occurred through the translation of the Rev. J G Taylor to Lyon Street U.F. Church, Glasgow. After hearing a number of candidates, Howgate congregation address to Mr Falside a unanimous and singularly harmonious call, which was duly sustained by the Presbytery.”
The next significant entry, in respect of this blog, was in the pages of the Scotsman on 8 December 1915: To Dalkeith U F Presbytery the Rev. William J Falside, M.A., Howgate, made application for leave to enlist, and this the Presbytery granted. The Rev. Robert T Jack agreed to undertake the duties at Howgate during his absence.”
Sadly that absence was to be permanent. I found five reports of his death; the Scotsman, on 14 October 1918, represents them all: “MIDLOTHIAN MINISTER DIES ON SERVICE. News reached Penicuik yesterday of the death of the Rev. W J Falside in Italy on 6th inst. He was a son of the late Rev. John T Falside, Eskdalemuir, and passed through Glasgow University with distinction. He acted as assistant at Dundee and Alloa, and in October 1911 was ordained minister of the U.F. Church, Howgate, Penicuik. In January 1916 he enlisted as a private in the RAMC, and saw service in East and West Africa. In the beginning of this year he received his commission as a chaplain, and as such served for eight months in Ireland. He preached in Howgate Church three weeks ago before proceeding abroad to take up duty, and on the way he became ill with pneumonia. Two brothers were killed on service with the King’s Own Scottish Borderers.”
William was 35 years old when he died in the Faenza Military Hospital, in the Ravenna area of Italy. He is buried in the Faenza Communal Cemetery.
We will remember them.
Sources: The British Newspaper Archives online (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk); Photograph from "www.findagrave.com"