Meg Stenhouse, who compiled the WW1 book we are proud to share on this site, received an enquiry asking if she knew anything about a Thomas Malcolm who'd won the Military Medal in WW1. Meg duly undertood some research and discovered the following information about Thomas. With her permission, we share this information and Thomas' story.
Thomas Malcolm Garry served as a Private in the Royal Scots (Territorial Force) having enlisted in September 1914.
A Casualty List report, issued by the War Office on the 8th April 1915, notes that Thomas Malcolm Garry was a "casualty in the Expeditionary Force reported from Base under the date 23rd March: wounded"
The West Lothian Courier reports on 2nd April 1915:
"Uphall Man Wounded – narrow Escape from Death – Mr and Mrs George Garry, Station Rows, Uphall Station, have received word from the War Office to the effect that their son, Pte Thomas M Garry, has been seriously wounded. Pte Garry was twenty years of age and enlisted in the 9th Royal Scots (Dandy ninth) on the 1st of September last year. He was drafted to France on 23rd February, and it was while going into the trenches on March 12th that he received a gunshot wound in the abdomen. He was taken the dressing station near the trenches, where he remained till March 15th and from there he was conveyed to the Base hospital in Boulogne, and thence to England. He is now convalescent in a large house converted into an hospital in Herts. In a letter to his parents he states that the doctor says he was lucky in escaping with his life, as the bullet in its progress escaped killing him in four different vital places. He also states that the bullet is resting almost against his spine, and quoting the words of the Sister in attendance, he says that had it touched it he would have been disabled for life. He writes in hight terms of the manner in which he is being treated and states that lords and such like are no better off than wounded soldiers."
On the 10th May 1918, the West Lothian Courier reported that Thomas had been awarded the Military Medal:
Uphall Station Hero – Mr and Mrs George Garry, 37 Station Rows, Uphall Station, have been informed by letter from their eldest son, Pte Thomas M Garry, Royal Scots, that he has been awarded the Military Medal. Pte Garry, who enlisted in September 1914, has another brother on active service.
The newspaper article below, published in the West Lothian Courier on 11th June 1920, reminds us that from Uphall and District alone, seven men gained decorations - one of the men being Thomas Garry:
Presentations – After a service of tea and cake, a very interesting ceremony took place. This consisted in presenting silver cigarette cases or silver match boxes and razor to the following men who had won war honours;-
Messrs John Kilpatrick, William Shearer, William Rose, Thomas Garry, John Ross and ex Sgt Major Wilson.
The Chairman said that in the winter of 1918 they collected money, not only to give ex-service men a welcome home, but to provide presents to those who won war honours. From Uphall and district there were seven who gained decorations, but one of these William Wilson, died in Canada the result of an accident. The other six were that night to get the presents provided.
He congratulated these men upon having been awarded honours for distinguished service. He hoped the little mementoes they would receive would ever remind them of the deep respect and esteem in which they were held by their fellows. (Applause.)
Mrs Dunn, Mrs McDougall and Mrs Tulloch, then in turn handed over the gifts.
Thomas' brave actions went almost unrecorded with not many people knowing of his heroics. The West Lothian Courier reports on 3rd September 1965:
Many Happy Returns – to Uphall Station senior citizen, Mr Tom Garry, who celebrates his seventy first birthday on Sunday, this seems as good a time as any to comment on an event in Mr Garry’s life of 50 years ago. Few Uphall Station folks know that Tom, formerly Pte Thomas Garry, The Royal Scots is a Military medallist, and the brave action for which Mr Garry was decorated remains his secret. He enlisted in September 1914 and was wounded in March of the following year on active service in France. He still carries the bullet. It is at the request of Uphall Station OAPA and not the shy hero that publicity is now given to the Military Medalist. Who resides with his wife at Beechwood Cottages. He is a son of the late Mr and Mrs George Garry formerly of 37 Station Rows, and a brother of Mrs Johnny Marr.
Uphall Station boasted at least two other Military Medallists of the 1914-18 War. That Tom’s award gained little local acknowledgement at the time was due to the fact that he returned to Edinburgh and not Uphall Station after service.
Thomas sadly died on the 14th December 1968, with the West Lothian Courier reporting the news on the 20th December 1968:
War Hero Dies – The death occurred in Bangour General Hospital last Saturday of Mr Thomas Garry, of Uphall Station. Mr McGarry, who was 74 years of age served during the First World War in the 9th Royal Scots and won the Military Medal. After the war he joined Scottish Oils and served the firm for 45 years. He is survived by his wife, son and two daughters.
Thomas is buried in Uphall Cemetery in grave Section FF, Lair 64.
On the 15th September 2022, veterans and local people attended Uphall Cemetery for a Service and to witness the unveiling of a plaque dedicated to the memory of Thomas Garry MM. Some pictures can be viewed below: