Lest We Forget

1939 - 1945

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old.
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning, We will remember them.

Cunningham, Thomas Reid

Private, 1st Bn., Royal Scots Fusiliers
Service Number
14 January 1924 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada
John and Cecelia Cunningham, latterly of 6 Whinneyknowe, North Queensferry
Date of death
24 Sep 1944 (Aged 20)
7.K.2, Taukkyan War Cemetery, Burma (Myanmar)
Other Memorials
Scottish National War Memorial (Edinburgh Castle)

Other Information

North Queensferry War memorial gives his regiment as “Royal Scots”, but Commonwealth War Graves Commission state “Royal Scots Fusiliers” and this is confirmed by other information.

His father, who had served in the Black Watch during the First World War, had emigrated to Canada where he found a Canadian bride. Father returned to Scotland in October 1936, apparently to assist his parents and was then followed by Thomas with his mother and three younger siblings, arriving on board the Donaldson Atlantic liner Letitia in Scotland on 7 November 1937, bound for the grandparents’ home in Coatbridge.

Just prior to the outbreak of war they came to live near other family members in North Queensferry (the war having prevented them returning to Canada). Father and an uncle then managed to buy a house in Post Office Lane for the grandparents. His father obtained a job as a labourer. Thomas was employed by Wimpey Construction. His uncle “Jock” Cunningham, a communist who had led a mutiny while serving in the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders, went to fight in the Spanish Civil War, which began in 1936.

On reaching the age of eighteen, Thomas was conscripted into the army. It is not clear how quickly he completed his training and joined the battalion, but the unit set sail from Greenock on 28 April 1942 for Madagascar via Freetown and Durban.

The invasion of Madagascar took place on 5 May and by 20 August 1942 they were ordered to sail for South Africa. In January 1943 they arrived in India and thereafter took part in the Burma Campaign, as part of the 36th Infantry Division and were in action through North Arakan, Mandalay and on the Rangoon Road.

Information from one branch of the family states that he was killed by a sniper.

After the war the family returned to Canada.


Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Scottish National War Memorial (Edinburgh Castle)

National Archives. Incoming Passenger List Glasgow 7 November 1937

DeeDee Cunningham (Niece)

Ann Cunningham (Cousin)


Here dead we lie, Because we did not choose
To live and shame the land, From which we sprung.

Life, to be sure, Is nothing much to lose,
But young men think it is, And we were young.

[A.E. Housman]

When You Go Home,
Tell Them Of Us And Say,

For Your Tomorrow,
We gave our Today

[Kohima, attributed to John Maxwell Edmonds]

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