On this day in 1914 Britain declared war on Germany and throwing the Empire into the first world wide conflict. We take a moment today to remember the people who lost their lives and loved ones.
Lord Ninian was the second son of John Stuart, the 3rd Marquess of Bute. The 3rd Marquess restored Falkland Palace when he became Keeper in1887. Both lived at Falkland House which is not far from Falkland Palace. Their descendant, Ninian, is the current Keeper of the Palace.
In 1912 Lord Ninian took command of the 6th Battalion, the Welsh Regiment.
On the 2nd of October 1915 while leading the 6th Welsh in a night attack on the Hohenzollern Rebout, near La Bassee he lost his life in battle.
Below a copy of the article detailing his life and death which featured in The Fife News. This text would have circulated around the village and Estate of Falkland as well as the other local villages, who knew Lord Ninian as such a prominent member of society. No doubt this would have been a great shock to Lady Ninian and the community of Falkland in particular after the many losses they had already endured.
Article from The Fife News titled Lord Ninian Crichton-Stuart, M.P., Killed in Night Attack:
“A deep gloom was cast over the whole county of Fife, and Falkland in particular, when the sad news arrived that Lieut-Colonel Lord Ninian Crichton-Stuart, M.P., for Cardiff, and the laird of Falkland estate, had been killed on Sunday 3rd October 1915, while leading his regiment, the 6th Batt. Welsh Territorial Regiment, in a night attack on the Hohenzollern redoubt, 2 ½ miles south-west of La Bassee. It was the fifth attack his Lordship had led in order to rescue from the enemy his friend, Major R.G. Browning, who was missing and a prisoner.
The second son of the third Marquess of Bute, Lord Ninian was born on 15th May 1883, at Dumfries House, Ayrshire. He was married on 16th June 1906 to the Hon. Ismay Lucretia Mary Preston, daughter of the late 14th Viscount Gormanston. After taking up his permanent residence at House of Falkland, Lord Ninian was elected a member of Fife County Council. He devoted himself especially to agriculture, and was referred to as “the farmers’ friend”. He was mainly instrumental in getting the Highland Show of 1912 brought to Cupar. On 14th March 1915, a son and heir was born to Lord and Lady Ninian, while his Lordship was in France.
Lord Ninian then said: – “The greatest honour a man can receive is that he has been provided with a chance to give, if need be, the greatest that he has – which is his life – for his country. I do not doubt every man in this parade will give it as willingly as I mean to give it myself.”
In Falkland and district, Lord Ninian, with Lady Ninian, did much to brighten the life of the whole community. Football, cricket, and golf found every encouragement at the House of Falkland, where, also, a memorable series of historic tableaux was submitted for the entertainment of all classes a few years ago. The inhabitants of Ladybank likewise recall the gift by Lord Ninian of a flagstaff and handsome Union Jack for their public park and the great demonstration by aeroplanes, Boy Scouts, and school children on the day on which the flag was unfurled. His Lordship’s participation in these and many other beneficent services has now become a memory.
He has been cut down while still young, with rare prospects before him. He did not tear himself thoughtlessly from a happy home and devoted wife and family. He counted the cost, and deliberately chose to take all risks for his country. On his departure for the front, he wrote privately to a friend – “I may lose my life; but I will not lose my honour.” He has kept his word. He has lost his life; but his honour shines brighter than ever. He is the last of a noble trio – Major Slacke, Captain Hanbury Tracy, and himself – who were so recently associated with each other in all that meant peace and goodwill to Falkland and district; and it is hard to realise that these brave men will no more be seen in and out amongst us. The greatest sympathy is expressed for Lady Ninian and her three children.”