Maybole man’s tribute to a tragic event

John Fergusson pictured with his plaque memorial to his great grandfather.
John Fergusson pictured with his plaque memorial to his great grandfather.

A Maybole man has finally discovered the truth about the death of his great grandfather and in doing so he has now placed a plaque in his memory.

John Fergusson spent time researching the story of his great grandfather Hugh Thomson’s death at Dunure Harbour in 1906.

When John was 15 he had decided he wanted to go to sea on a fishing boat but his mother refused to let him go as her grandfather had drowned coming into Dunure Harbour. When he got married six years later, John went to sea.

However, the story of his great grandfather stayed with him and last month he went along to a talk about Dunure Harbour at the Maybole Historical Society.

John said: “Last month, at a meeting of Maybole Historical Society, Roy Storrie gave a talk on Dunure Harbour and lighthouse.

“I asked him about my great grandfather, Hugh Thomson, but he had never heard of anyone drowning in the harbour. Nor did anyone else I spoke to.

“This got me wondering if my mother was having me on to stop me going to sea, so I decided to do some research.

“I visited the old grave yard at Dunure but could not find a headstone, and there are no records for burials at the cemetery.

“I then went to Masonhill but could find nothing there, either, so I headed for Ayr registrar’s office and got the death certificate and a copy of the of the inquest into his death.

“The records show that the body of my great grandfather, Hugh Thomson, 74, was found on the sea shore about 300 yards north of Dunure Harbour. He had been a victim of accidental drowning on February 28, 1906 when his boat sank at the entrance to the harbour.

“I felt it appropriate to put this memorial close to where the accident happened.”