Great Scots Dumfries and Galloway

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Great Scots Dumfries and Galloway

1) Academics

a) Thomas Douglas, 5th Earl Of Selkirk (1771-1820) b. St. Marys Isle, Kirkcudbrightshire

Philanthropist – he settled Highland immigrants on Prince Edward Island in 1803, and later in the Red River settlement of Manitoba on land bought by the Hudson Bay Co.

2) Actors/TV Personalities

a) John Laurie (1897-1980) b. Dumfries

Actor most renowned for the role of ‘Fraser’ in Dad’s Army

b) Kirsty Wark (1955- ) b. Dumfries

Journalist and TV Presenter

3) Authors/Writers

a) James Crighton (1560-82) b. Eliock Dumfriesshire

The Admirable Crighton – poet who spent time in France and Italy, celebrated for his linguistic, intellectual and athletic abilities.

b) Thomas Carlyle ( 1795-1881) b. Ecclefechan

The Sage of Chelsea – historian/writer one one of the most influential of his age.

c) Hugh MacDiarmid (1892-1978) b. Langholm

Poet – he wrote in English and Scots and was the key figure of the Scottish Renaissance of the mid 20th Century. He made an important contribution to the development of literary Scots, not least in his early lyric poetry. He was a Scottish Nationalist and Communist.

d) Gavin Maxwell (1914-69) b. House of Elrig, Wigtownshire

Author of ‘Shaken by the Wind‘, ‘The Marsh Arabs of Iraq‘ and ‘A Ring of Bright Water‘, which also turned into a very successful film.

4) Botanists

a) William Wright Smith (1875-1956) b. Lochmaben

In charge of the Government Herberium in the Calcutta Botanic Garden in 1902, and was Director of the Botanist Survey of India. He became Deputy Keeper of the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh. His specialities were rhododendrons and primulas.

5) Explorers

a) Sir John Ross (1777-1856) b. Inch Manse, Wigtownshire

Sailor and Explorer – From 1812 he led surveys of the White Sea and the Arctic. He also conducted expeditions in search of the North West Passage and discovered King William Land, the Gulf of Boothia and the Boothia Peninsula.

b) Hugh Clapperton (1788-1827) b. Annan

As a young midshipman in the Navy, was first in the breach at the storming of Port Louis, Mauritius, where he handed down the French flag. Later he was an explorer in Central and West Africa, and in the first group to see Lake Chad. He exceeded the spot reached by Mungo Park on the Niger ,and eventually died of dysentery near Sokoto.

c) Hamish McInnes OBE FRSGS b. Gatehouse of Fleet 1930 d. Glencoe 2020

A Scottish mountaineer, explorer, mountain search and rescuer, author and mountain safety advisor to a number of major films.
He has been described as “The Father of modern mountain rescue in Scotland.”
The youngest of 5, he had climbed the Matterhorn by the age of 16, and had built his own motor car.
He designed the first all metal ice axe, and the short ice axe in the early 60’s.
He is recognised as having developed modern mountain rescue, setting up the Search and Rescue Dog Association and the Avalanche Information Service.
He invented the MacInnes Stretcher, which is used for rescues worldwide.
In 1975, he was deputy leader to Chris Bonington’s Mount Everest Southwest Face Expedition.
He was involved too in making the first winter traverse of the Cuillin Ridge on Skye.
In 2003, he was inducted into the Scottish Sports Hall of Fame, and received the Scottish Award for Excellence in Mountain culture in 2008.
He was involved in a number of films, as climber, climbing double and safety officer, incl the “Eiger Sanction “and “The Mission.”
He has written numerous books on mountaineering, incl the International Mountain Rescue Handbook(1972), regarded as the standard manual worldwide.
As a man, he had a powerful presence, a big man and fiercely independant.
He was described as a Scottish and International legend, who dedicated himself to the mountains.

6) Founders

a) William Paterson (1658-1719) b. Skipmyre near Lockerbie

Banker – in 1691 he proposed the idea for a Bank of England, which he co-founded in 1694. He was a leading supporter of the Darien Expedition, and took part in the first voyage, losing his wife, son and much of his fortune. A supporter of the Union, as Scotland was almost bankrupted by the fiasco. He set about drafting the trade and finance articles of the Union, so that Scottish investors in the Darien Scheme received compensation from London for their losses, which they did to the tune of every penny of their investments plus 5 per cent interest!. Much of this money was later invested in the Royal Bank of Scotland. He became MP for Dumfries in the first Union Parliament in 1707.

7) Heroes/Heroines

a) Jane Haining (1887 died aged 57 in Auschwitz) b. Dunscore

She volunteered as a missionary with the Church of Scotland in 1932, becoming matron of the Girls’ Home at the Scottish Mission School in Budapest, Hungary. She looked after 50 of the School’s 400 orphaned pupils (most of whom were Jewish) and quickly learned fluent Hungarian.
She was on holiday in the UK when war broke out in 1939, and she immediately returned to Hungary, refusing an order by the Church to return to the UK, as her girls needed her.
Once again she refused to return after the German invasion of Hungary in 1944, and in April that year, she was arrested by the Gestapo accused of working with Jews and listening to the BBC. In May she was sent to Auschwitz in Poland, where she died.
She is one of the total of 10 Scots, of whom 2-3 were women, thought to have died in the Nazi Concentration Camps.
A memorial cairn to her stands between Dunscore Kirk and the village graveyard, whilst the Municipality of Budapest renamed a section of the “Posti also rahpart (Pest side Lower Embankment) to “Jane Haining Rakpart.”
In 2010, she was posthumously named a British hero of the Holocaust by the British Government.

8) Industrialists

a) Thomas Telford (1757-1834) b. Westerkirk near Langholm

Civil Engineer – he built the Caledonian Canal (1803-23) and many roads, harbours and bridges, including the Menai Suspenson Bridge, St. Katherines Docks in London, and drainage projects in the Fens. He was the principal designer of the Gota Canal, which links the East and West coasts of Sweden. He was the first President of the Institute of Civil Engineers in London.

b) Doctor William Jardine (1784-1843) b. Lochmaben

He established together with James Matheson the famous Jardine Matheson Trading Company in 1828 -89. Initially they exported opium from India to China to fund the purchase of tea at Canton for the British market. They opened a warehouse in Hong Kong and dealt in a wide range of imports. The trading network has diversified and expanded to become a major conglomerate based in Asia and other markets.

9) Inventors

a) Kirkpatrick Macmillan (1812-78) b. Thornhill

Maker (and possibly inventor) of bicycles. A blacksmith and may have been the first to develop a rear-wheel-driven safety bicycle. A plaque on his smiddy home says ‘builded better than he knew’.

10) Military Men

a) John Paul Jones (1747-92) b. Kirkbean, Dumfriesshire

Settled in Virginia to escape criminal charges, and became a supporter of the American Revolution; he carried out daring raids against British Shipping around the coasts of Britain, and became known ‘The Founder of the American Navy’.

b) Lord Hugh Dowding (1882-1970) b. Moffat

He was Air Chief Marshall during the Battle of Britain in World War 2.

11) Physicians

(a) Doctor James Clark ( 1730 – 1814) b. Kirkbean, Dumfriesshire

Friend and physician to George Washington, and became General Physician to the US Army.

12) Sports People

a) David Coulthard (1971 – ) b. Twynholm, Dumfriesshire

Former British Formula 1 Racing Driver – won 13 Grand Prix over a career spanning 15 seasons, including winning twice in Monaco. He helped establish the Red Bull Team after driving with team driver Mika Hakinen for McLaren Mercedes. He was 2nd in the World Championship of 2001. He is now a BBC pundit and commentator.

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