Grangemouth Parish War Heroes
Alexander Reilly born C. 1888, Robert Reilly born C. 1891 and James Reilly born C. 1893 were all born in Grangemouth and were the sons of Robert and Mary Reilly. The family lived in Mary Street, Laurieston.
Alexander, the eldest brother, served with the Gordon Highlanders before the war up until 1908 when he was ‘bought out’ of the army by his sister Mrs Mary Chalmers, who paid the sum of £10 to purchase his discharge. Along with his other brothers, he was then employed as an iron moulder by the Laurieston Iron Company. He re-enlisted at the outbreak of the First World War on the 18th September 1914. This time, he enlisted with the Royal Scots Special Reserve.
His brother, James Reilly also joined the Royal Scots. James was recommended three times for his bravery in the field; the second for his brave acts during the battle of Loos. On the third occasion, he was awarded the Military Medal: he rescued two of his comrades after volunteering to return to a bombed dug-out, just having escaped the debris himself and in spite of the shock he received from the bursting shell.
Robert Reilly served as a Private with the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders and was injured during the Battle of the Somme.
Tragically, Robert died a fortnight later in East Leeds War Hospital. He is buried in Camelon Cemetery. Most poignantly, the notice of Robert’s death, along with his photograph, appeared in the same 1916 edition of the Falkirk Herald in which his brother James is praised for having won the Military Medal. On the 22nd March 1918, winner of the Military Medal, Lance-Corporal James Reilly was also killed in action. He is remembered with honour on the Arras Memorial to the missing in France. James’ name was also added to his brother Robert’s gravestone in Camelon Cemetery. In the Falkirk Herald notice of his death on the 20th August 1918 it also mentions that before the war James Reilly had also been a well-known junior footballer in Laurieston.
Of the three Reilly brothers, only Alexander survived the war and was discharged from the army in 1920. He received the British War Medal, Victory Medal and 1914-15 Bronze Star Medal for his service.