Kilmaurs War Memorial.
‘... seeking the welfare of their country, (they) gave their lives in doing so, and are now resting in and beyond the seas.’ Inscription on Troon War Memorial

67 public community war memorials were erected in Ayrshire after the end of the conflict, bearing a total of almost 6,000 names of the dead. (Those at Dunure and West Kilbride have no names.) There is also the aviators’ memorial at the former airfield on Turnberry Golf Course, which is unique among public memorials in Ayrshire in that none of the 39 dead of the Great War commemorated on it came from the county.

Of the memorials of now-vanished mining villages, those of Benquhat and Lethanhill in the Doon valley still stand on the bare hillside, while that from Glenbuck has been moved to Muirkirk.

As happened throughout the country, memorial plaques and tablets and sometimes substantial monuments were put on display by churches, local authorities, private firms, sporting clubs and other organisations in their buildings, commemorating those of their members or employees who had fallen.

In Sorn village there is no open-air community memorial, and the plaque within the parish church serves this function.

Schools commemorated fallen staff members and former pupils. Some memorials of this type would later be relocated when the buildings which originally housed them were demolished or converted. The memorial to the employees of the Glasgow and South Western Railway, originally in Glasgow’s now-demolished St Enoch Station, is now in Ayr Railway Station.

Churches in the larger towns often commemorate the dead of local military units as well as their own members – Ayr’s Auld Kirk has memorials to the Territorials of the Ayrshire Yeomanry, the Ayrshire Royal Horse Artillery and the 5th Battalion of the Royal Scots Fusiliers. Memorials to individuals can be found in many churches, often in the form of stained glass windows.

In addition to the erection of public community memorials, other commemorative work was often carried out. Memorial parks were laid out at Girvan, Maybole and Muirkirk, with the gateway to the latter forming the community memorial. At Kilbirnie, the town’s memorial also takes the form of a gateway to the public park. At Muirkirk, a huge memorial cairn was built on top of nearby Cairn Table hill. In Barrhill, public subscriptions paid for a memorial village hall. It was when Symington Church was restored as a memorial to the village’s war dead that its beautiful 12th century round-arched three-light window – plastered over and long forgotten – was revealed.