First and foremost I would like to express my deep gratitude to the two people without whom the publication of this book would not have been possible.
Andrew Stewart has been absolutely vital in getting my stories into a printable format through his vast knowledge and expertise in the rather baffling (for me!) world of computers.
Likewise my wife, Janie, has been invaluable in the role of editor, picking up the many mistakes and repetitions that somehow escaped my attention.
Chapter 4 (John Lauder)
The staffs of the Mitchell Library, Glasgow, and the University of Glasgow Library, especially Claire McKendrick, Chief Library Assistant with special responsibility for the Scottish Theatre Archive. These ladies and gentlemen are acknowledged in a great number of publications for their sterling work in helping aspiring and established authors. As an 'aspirant', let me add my gratitude to an already long list.
Rod McKenzie, Curator of the A&SH Regimental Museum at Stirling Castle. Rod has been a huge help, not only in providing invaluable documentary information but also in helping me gain some sort of perspective on the John Lauder controversy.
Archie Wilson at the A&SH Museum was also extremely helpful.
Maureen, Visitor Adviser at Dunoon Tourist Office. Thank you for your courtesy and information provided on the Lauders in Dunoon.
Bob Bain, Honorary Secretary of the Scottish Music Hall & Variety Theatre Society. Many thanks for your interest, advice and photographic material provided.
James Marturano of New York. James is widely acknowledged as one of the leading Lauder experts and he has been extremely generous in sharing with me information which was hitherto unknown.
Richard Gardiner of Liverpool. Richard provided me with much food for thought and gave me sound advice on some military aspects of the John Lauder story about which I knew nothing.
Chapter 5 ('Hoodoo' Kinross, VC)
Stan Kinross of Tillicoultry, Scotland, a distant cousin of Cecil John Kinross, VC, is the man who initially, by pointing me in the right direction, kick-started the whole enterprise. Stan's 'right direction' was to -
Alistair Kinross and the Kinross family whose information has been invaluable and provided the factual base for most of Chapter 5.
Denise (Losness) Bratland Sigalet of Lougheed, Alberta, has also been absolutely vital to my research. Her family, Losness, emigrated from Norway in 1910. Like the Kinrosses, they settled in the Lougheed area. Denise tirelessly answered my many questions and, as I was unable to go to Lougheed personally, provided me with those personal details which put flesh on the bare bones of history. She also read the first draft and by so doing has, like the Kinross family, prevented me making any major errors of judgement.
Denise's husband, Morris Sigalet, provided photos of Lougheed without which it would be difficult for non-natives to visualise what Cecil's adopted home town is like. He also tracked down the very revealing images of Cecil which I had never seen before.
Jim Wright and Tom Barton of Lougheed generously provided important information to earlier researchers which has been passed on to me by the Kinross family.
My friend, the late Jimmy Calder, a frequent visitor to Canada and a fine geographer, was able to clue me in to to the topography and climate of the Lougheed area, information which, taken in conjunction with Morris' photos, gave me a good idea of the country Cecil called home.
Debra Dittrick of the Edmonton Journal gave me access to the excellent article written for the paper by Bob Gilmour in 1989 and a great deal of additional information.
David Haas, Curator of the Loyal Edmonton Regimental Museum and Editor of 'The Fortyniner', gave me permission to use the wonderful 'Lestock' badge and also made many very useful suggestions.
Tony Druett, who continues to keep alive the memory of Cecil and many other old soldiers both through his work with the Canadian Government and in his spare time, keeps me updated on commemorative activities in the Edmonton area.
The late Henry L. Kirby of Preston, Lancashire, military historian and broadcaster, inspired me to pursue my research in addition to giving me, through his own publications on the Great War, excellent examples of both substance and presentation. He was also one of those 'special' people whom it was always a joy to meet.
Amanda Mason of the Department of Documents at the Imperial War Museum, London, allowed me access to the Canon Lummis File of VC Recipients and very kindly provided photocopies of relevant material from it.
Lawrence Farrow, policeman of Ieper/Ypres, Belgium, guided me to the right places in the Canadian National Archive online and also helped in many other ways, notably with the location today of Furst Farm.
Peter 'Taffy' Williams of Ypres and, obviously, Wales, battlefield guide and military historian, steered me through the maze of WWI trench maps and provided much more relevant information.
Jennifer Kolthammer has been of great help by steering me towards 'Hoodoo's' military records. She is the wife of Brian Kolthammer, Cecil's great-nephew.
John Woolsgrove and Christine DeDeyne, former owners of the late Shell Hole Hotel, Pub and Bookshop in Ypres, were an ongoing source of information and help. I've known them since 1999 and greatly appreciate their kindness and the advice they've extended to me over the years. Christine gave me an understanding of the complexities of Flemish politics, past and present, while John's knowledge of the battlefields and the War in general is second to none.Without their friendship I would not have returned as often as I did to the battlefields and hence this book might never have been.
Last but by no means least, our hero, Cecil John Kinross, VC, provided me with hours of entertainment and much food for thought. I hope I've done right by him.
Chapter 6 (A Walk Across the Ancre)
Alan Marquis of Guernsey gave me a huge amount of guidance and information on an ongoing basis, especially about Ulster Tower.
Teddy and Phoebe Colligan - Thanks for the cups of tea, the always warm welcome and the great job you did at Ulster Tower.
Peter Hart, author, lecturer and, I suspect, bon viveur, provided me, through his excellent book 'Somme Success' (see bibliography), with much to ponder, especially in the way that battle fatigue/PTS disorder was treated by the RFC in stark contrast to the attitude of the Army in relation to Dyett.
Chapter 7 (Tommy Armour - The Iron Master)
My nephews, Neil and Robert Dixon made a huge contribution to this chapter, Neil by unearthing the details of the 'Weekly Record' contempt case and Robert by his research for me at the National Archives at Kew where he accessed Tommy Armour's military record. Without their help this chapter would have been greatly diminished.
Andrew Main did a fine job on the photos of the Carnoustie Links.
Brian Morrison contributed excellent background information on Tommy Armour's origins.
The staff at Register House in Edinburgh helped me to access the Armour Family Records and so laid to rest some mistakes which have been repeated down the years.
Jock Armour, Tommy's grandson, and the Armour family in the USA have been of great assistance in supplying essential information and guidance.
Chapter 8 (An Autumn Interlude)
Alan Marquis pointed me, yet again, in several right directions.
Chapter 9 (The Short But Eventful Life of Albert Ball, VC)
The staff at the Nottingham Archives, especially Bev, were extremely helpful.
As will be quite obvious to the careful reader, I have leaned somewhat heavily upon the works of Chaz Bowyer and Colin Pengelly.
However the sources from which I derived most insight into Albert Ball and aerial warfare in WWI, are the books written by the inimitable Peter Hart. Indeed my interest in Albert Ball can be traced back to an excellent lecture delivered by Peter to the Tayside Branch of the WFA in January, 2009.
Colin Pepperday. On my visit to Nottingham in August 2009, Colin was instrumental in helping me to obtain photos of the former home of Albert Ball,VC, in the Park District of the city, something I would have been unable otherwise to accomplish.
Chapter 11 (On the Warpath)
I am deeply indebted to Izola Mottershead, Alex Decoteau's niece and the keeper of the flame, without whose help this chapter would not have been possible.
Chapter 12 (Wee County Heroes)
Jane Davies at the Museum of the Queen's Lancashire Regiment at Preston for her great help in researching McDermond, VC.
Gerry Docherty for swapping information regarding Dawson and Pollock plus the use of his programme notes for 'Lie of the Land'.
Brian Morrison for his work on the 1901 and 1911 Censuses and general information regarding Alloa and its Academy in days gone by.
Iain 'Scoop' Stewart for his help in locating VC graves and also the whereabouts of the actual medals.
Chapter 13 (Ypres - Reflections and Memories)
Previously acknowledged more fully in Chapter 5, John Woolsgrove and Christine DeDeyne, former owners of the Shell Hole.
I obviously owe a debt of gratitude to my sources on WWII in Ypres but, for obvious reasons, they will have to remain anonymous.
Chapter 14 (Cemeteries, Heroes and a Big Monkey)
Ian Mason (Brummy) and Paul, CWGC gardeners and really nice people who provided me with much information about the CWGC and its work. Brum has since moved on to work with the local authority in Menin, Belgium, but we remain in touch. Paul has been promoted and remains in the Ypres area. I wish I knew his second name!