Lost and Found: Bringing names to the Rolls of Honour

The volunteers at the museum make the work and projects we do possible.

From supporting educational groups, adding to the visitor experience, and assisting with collections – they make continuing The Argylls story possible. David, a recent Heritage Masters student from the University of Stirling, has been working in the museum since the summer of 2021. During his time in the team, he has worked in a number of roles, such as gallery assistant and has worked on databasing. A couple of months ago, he finished up on a project helping to collate the names of Argylls who are missing on the Argylls Rolls of Honour.

For whatever reason, these names have been omitted. The majority of these names are from after World War Two.

David working to collate some names missing on The Argylls Rolls of Honour
Photo Credits: The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Museum

The project started years ago when the museum curator received a research enquiry which then transpired to include someone that was missing from the Roll of Honour. Over the years, when research enquiries picked up other Argylls who were missing, their name would be added to this list of missing Argyll names. There were also newspaper articles over the years that were donated to the museum which mentioned more Argylls who were not in the Rolls of Honour. In 2023, David was tasked with tidying up this folder of sources and names. Whilst collating this, David came across more names in the regimental magazine, Thin Red Line. At time of writing, there are currently 57 names on this list.

Major Bardwell and his wife Jean Cameron on their wedding day. Photo Credits: The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Museum

One of the names on this list is Major Alexander “Sandy Bardwell”. Major Bardwell and his wife Jean Cameron, pictured above, married in January 1948. Only a week later, they died in a plane crash on the way to their honeymoon. Major Bardwell had served in The Argyll since before the outbreak of World War Two with the 1st Battalion. He had been wounded during the withdraw from Crete and was captured by the Germans, he remained a Prisoner of War until the end of the hostilities. A memorial was held in February 1948 for them and they are mentioned in the May 1948 edition of this Thin Red Line. However, his name is absent from the Rolls of Honour.

The Thin Red Line article which discusses the death of Corporal Pepperell.
 Photo Credits: The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Museum

Another example is Corporal Harry Pepperell, who died whilst serving with the 1st Battalion in Germany 6th May 1962. Corporal Pepperell joined The Argylls in 1943, having moved from another regiment. During World War Two he had been taken prisoner by the Germans in North Africa. Notes in the Thin Red Line comment on his popularity – in the Corporals Mess he had his own chair and if anyone found themselves in it when he walked in, they would move, even if no other chair was available. Corporal Pepperell was added during David’s work.

When asked about his thoughts on the project, David stated, “Completing this project was very rewarding. Not only was I pleased that I had produced a useful resource for the Museum and our curator, (indeed it freed up valuable time for him to work on major projects), I also was humbled to be able to add to the veritable collection of personal stories and uncover Argylls that otherwise may have remained in obscurity, buried within our archives.”

The project also gave David some hands on experience with the museum archives, which left him with some further thoughts: “On a practical note, this project highlighted the gargantuan task it can be to sift through a metaphorical mountain of archives and track down information. Even in ASH (the museum), which is quite smaller in size compared to other major museums, this was a time-consuming, manual process and so I shudder to think what this must be like in big museums with sizeable archives. In addition, this project showcased the personalities of the Argylls, how they were viewed by their comrades and the public, and the respect held for them as exemplified by Cpl. Pepperell. In many cases, multiple soldiers wrote about their comrades in the Regimental Magazines, highlighting the web of friendships in the Regiment.”

This folder of names that David has collated not only assists with research enquiries but also keeps the memories of these men alive. Although we noted that David has finished this project, the museum team are keen to continue uncovering any other names which have been omitted. If you believe you have a name that should be added, or would like to check, please contact museum@argylls.co.uk

Thank you, David!

Written by Caitlin Meldrum, Audience and Communications Officer