The following CAIRNCROSSes are known to have been on active military service. The list, unfortunately, is incomplete:
1392 The Raid of Angus
Simon de Carncors was killed by the Highlanders, as set forth in the chapter in Section I, entitled "THE RAID OF ANGUS".
1646 The Scottish Rebellion
As recorded in the chapter entitled "THE CAIRNCR0SSes of REDPATH", in 1646 Nicol Cairncross in Redpath having been killed by the enemy, his widow Isobel Pringle petitioned Parliament for the support of her six children.
1650 The Invasion of England
Patrick Cairncross was a captain in the army of the Duke of Hamilton, as recorded in the chapter entitled "THE CAIRNCROSSes of BALMASHANNER".
1680 Walter Cairncross took part in the advance against the "rebels in arms in the West" - vide page 78.
Thomas Cairncross was a volunteer in Lord Ogilvie's Regiment.
1808 - 1814 The Peninsula War
b. John Cairncross, principal clerk in the Royal Artillery, was present at twelve battles, detailed in the chapter referred to above.
c. Lt. Gen. Sir Joseph Hugh Carncross of the Royal Artillery served in eight battles and received the Gold Cross, vide Appendix No.7.
1854 - 1855 The Baltic
John Cairncross, Major-General, born 14th March, 1835, son of Lt.-Col. Alexander Carincross, K.H., 96th Regt. He entered the army in 1854, becoming a Major-General in 1889 and retiring in 1892. He died on 30th October, 1914. He served in the Russian War in 1855; in Central America in 1856 - 57; commanded the Royal Marine Depot, Walmer, 1887 - 88; was Colonel-Commandant of the Portsmouth Division, Royal Marines Light Infantry, 1888 - 89.
1879 The Zulu War
Charles Cairncross (son of Thomas) served in the Intelligence.
1880 - 1881 The First Anglo-Boer War
Charles Cairncross (son of Thomas) was a burger in the Boer forces of the Transvaal Republic.
1896 The Matabele Rebellion
Archibald Campbell Cairncross was a trooper in the Matabeleland Mounted Police (see Appendix No. 10).
1899 -1902 The Anglo-Boer War
1899 -1902 (continued)
1914 - 1918 The Great War.
d. Bertram Lilburne Cairncross enlisted on 6th September, 1916, in the 1st South African Horse and, on the disbanding of that corps, in the 1st South African Infantry on 3rd April, 1917. He served in France and Belgium, and was severely wounded in the ankle on 20th September, 1917, in the attack on the Passchendaele Ridge, being invalided out of the army on the 12th October, 1918.
e. Douglas Gordon Cairncross served through the South West African Campaign in 1915 with the Cape Town Highlanders, and in the East African Campaign, 1916 - 18, with the S.A.S.C. (M.T.).
f. Alexander Cairncross, son of Arthur of Angus, Scotland, enlisted in the Royal Garrison Artillery, being gassed and wounded in France.
g. John Colmslie Cairncross, son of Arthur of Angus, Scotland, enlisted at the age of 16 in the Royal Marines. He attained the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel, retiring in 1951.
h. George, son of Donald of Hull, England, was killed in France in November, 1918.
i. Thomas George Cairncross served with the Bloemhof Commando.
j. Lt. Cyril Cutten Carncross of New Zealand was killed in action at Passchendaele in 1917.
k. Major Claude Walter Carncross served with the New Zealand forces.
1939 - 1945. World War II
b. Reuben Cairncross, son of Herbert, was a private in A. Company, I.L.H., Kimberley, in North Africa and Italy.
c. Melville Andrew Cairncross, son of Herbert, was an Air Mechanic in the 27th Squadron of the South African Air Force in North Africa and Italy.
d. Raymond Lilburne Cairncross was a telegraphist in the South African Naval Force, mine sweeping and patrolling.
e. Robert James Cairncross was a Lieutenant and Instructor in the South African Air Force.
f. Douglas Cairncross, son of John G.R.C., was a sergeant in the Transvaal Scottish, being wounded in North Africa.
g. Lilian Dorothy Cairncross was a nurse in the South African Military Nursing Services.
h. Ellen Cairncross, wife of Thomas George Cairncross, served with the South African Military Nursing Services.
i. F. J. Cairncross was Leading Stoker in the Sloop Yarra of the Australian Navy. His ship was sunk in action against the Japanese in March, 1942, off the coast of Java. The following paragraph appeared in a South African newspaper shortly afterwards: "Colombo ... The last gallant action of the Australian Sloop Yarra (Lt. Com. R.W. Rankin. R.A.N) against impossible odds was described to Reuter today by Leading Stoker Cairncross, of Sydney. The Yarra was lost in the naval actions off Java a few weeks ago. At dawn early in March, said Stoker Cairncross, the Yarra, while escorting a small convoy, sighted a hostile force of three heavy cruisers and four destroyers. Laying a smoke screen, the Yarra ordered her charges to scatter and then advanced. She engaged the Japanese warships for 90 minutes with her three four-inch guns. The result was inevitable, but before the order to abandon ship was given the Yarra had scored several hits on the enemy, including one on the bridge of a heavy cruiser. All the Yarra' s boats were smashed and the 200 men on board - 160 crew and 40 Dutch survivors of merchantmen she had picked up earlier - had to cling to rafts and floats. Stoker Cairncross and 33 others in a group on two floats had no provisions and only one jar of water. Twenty-one of them died before they were rescued by a warship after drifting for a week."
j. Walter Cyril Carncross of New Zealand served with a bomber squadron of the Air Force based in England.
k. Clive Cutten Carncross of New Zealand served with a fighter squadron of the Air Force in the Pacific.
The following ten descendants of David Cairncross of Haarlem served with the Cape Corps:
l. Abraham M. Cairncross.
m. James Cairncross. (Taken prisoner at Tobruk)
n. Daniel Cairncross
o. David Cairncross
p. James R. Cairncross
q. John Cairncross
r. John Cairncross
s. James R. Cairncross
t. Michael Cairncross
u. Porus Cairncross
Michael Cairncross, son of Alexander, a pilot in the South African Air Force. He was decorated with the American Air Medal, the citation reading as follows:
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA - To all who shall see these presents greeting. This is to certify that the President of the United States of America, Authorised by Executive Order, May 11, 1942, has awarded THE AIR MEDAL to SECOND LIEUTENANT MICHAEL CAIRNCROSS, South African Air Force, for MARITORIOUS ACHIEVEMENT while participating in Aerial Flight, 13th July, 1952, to 13th August, 1952. Given under my hand in the City of Washington this 13th day or September, 1952.
By direction of PRESIDENT of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Second Lieutenant MICHAEL CAIRNCROSS, South African Air Force has been awarded the AIR MEDAL.
CITATION: Second Lieutenant MICHAEL CAIRNCROSS distinguished himself by MERITORTUS ACHIEVEMENT while participating in Aerial Flight as. Pilot - 2nd Squadron, South African Air Force, Fifth United States Air Force from 13th July to 13th August, 1952. During that period, he greatly aided the effort of the United Nations Forces and seriously restricted the military potential of the enemy. Flying at dangerously low altitudes in adverse weather over enemy held territory, Lieutenant Cairncross rocketed, strafed and bombed enemy supplies, troops, equipment and transportation facilities. Through his aggressive leadership, courage and superior flying skill, Lieutenant Cairncross reflected great credit upon himself, the FAR EAST AIR FORCES and the SOUTH AFRICAN AIR FORCE.
In 1952 members of the family in South Africa were invited to place their war medals in a collection, in trust at Glendearg. The response was generous, and by 1959 fifty-five medals awarded to nineteen individuals, all South African Cairncrosses, had been placed in the collection, which is now the largest family group in the country, and in fact, in the world. The medals cover five wars - the Matabele Rebellion of 1896, the Anglo-Boer War of 1899-1902, The Great War of 1914-18, the World War of 1939-45, and the Korean War of 1952.
Recently the Africana Museum, Johannesburg, acquired the first Victoria Cross to be awarded in South Africa, that of Major Moore, on 29th Dec., 1877, in the 9th Kaffir War. To mark the occasion, the Museum arranged an exhibition of medals and decorations, and at the request of the Museum, the Cairncross group was included in the exhibition. The group attracted considerable attention, both in South Africa and overseas, particularly in London, and has been the subject of a number of articles. The Director of the South African National War Museum recently asked that the group be placed in his Museum. As this Museum has the finest collection of war medals in the Commonwealth, the request is in the nature of a compliment and a tribute.
|A. C. Cairncross||6||1896, 1899/1902, 1914/18|
|T. W. C-||3||1899/1902|
|H. W. C-||1||1899/1902|
|J. C. C-||1||1899/1902|
|D. G. C-||4||1914/18, 1939/45|
|A. L. C-||4||1914/18|
|B. L. C-||2||1914/18|
|T. G. C-||1||1914/18|
|M. A. C-||6||1939/45|
|Lilian D. C-||2||1939/45|
|J. R. C-||2||1939/45|
|R. J. C-||2||1939/45|
|R. L. C-||3||1939/45|
|T. D. C-||1||1939/45|
About a dozen war medals (including the Royal Red Cross) to seven other South African Cairncrosses remain outside the collection.
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