Lost war poems rediscovered a century later

Mae with 'A Service Rendered'
Mae with 'A Service Rendered'

The experiences of Bellshill soldiers involved in World War One are being rediscovered for the first time in nearly 100 years.

Despite being blind William Murray Kilburn from Bellshill submitted poems every week to the North East Lanark Gazette.

Many were drawn from the conversations he had when he went to meet those injured in the war as they arrived back at Bellshill station.

His niece Mae McClymont, who moved from Motherwell to Bothwell two years ago, spent the last few years at Motherwell Library going through the Gazette archives to rediscover them.

She said: “To the best of my knowledge I never met him, but my cousins in Canada kept asking about the poems and there was no one else to look.

“I decided to head down to Motherwell Library just to see if he had anything published and found poems going back to 1909.

“I got the library to photocopy the pages and then it took me a couple of years to type the poems out, it was hard work, but I’m delighted to have saved them from obscurity.”

Mae has now self-published ‘A Service Rendered’, a compilation of William’s war poems.

She said: “He wrote about a number of subjects, but given it’s the centenary of World War One it seems appropriate to do the war poems first .”

The Imperial Museum has asked for a copy of the book and copies have gone worldwide.

Mae said: “The interest there has been in it has amazed me and I’m now on a second printing.”

A Service Rendered is available for £6.95 by e-mailing Mae