Grave success for fallen Bo'ness soldier
The grave of a Bo’ness soldier who was accidentally killed during training in 1917 is to be marked with a Commonwealth War Graves Commission headstone.
Private Michael Muldoon, Royal Scots Fusiliers, 9th Battalion, converted into 55th Training Reserve Battalion, was stationed at Kinghorn, Fife when he died at Whinnyhill Shooting Range, Burntisland, on 14th November 1917, after being accidentally shot during shooting practice. He was only 18 years old. Michael is buried in Bo’ness Cemetery, in the unmarked grave B. 197.
Although Michael’s name appears on the Bo’ness War Memorial, he was until very recently not commemorated by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC), even though he fitted their category 1 criteria for commemoration.
Michael’s story was told in the recent book Without Fear - World War 1 Stories of the Men on the Bo’ness War Memorial, and the co-authors Robert Jardine, Richard Hannah and Alan Gow highlighted this to CWGC.
With the help of Michael’s relatives in Bo’ness further information was provided, and as a result CWGC have confirmed that Michael is to be given a granite CWGC headstone in the near future.
Commenting on the news Richard Hannah of the Without Fear Project said: “We are all pleased that, after a period of nearly 104 years, Michael’s service has now been officially recognised.
"The process is lengthy and onerous, but our persistence and patience has paid off.
"We are looking forward to the headstone being installed in the coming months and there is sure to be a great interest in the town when it happens”.
Private Muldoon’s headstone will increase the number of CWGC maintained graves in Bo’ness Cemetery up to 37 in total.
The Without Fear Project was set up by Bo’ness Town Trust Association in 2017 involving members Robert Jardine, Richard Hannah and Alan Gow. They are all local amateur researchers who have a special interest in World War One in the Bo’ness area. The community project received funding from the Heritage Fund ‘First World War: then and now’ grant programme, and fulfilled its aim of shining a light on the Bo’ness men who made the ultimate sacrifice during WW1.
The main output from the project was the illustrated book Without Fear - World War 1 Stories of the Men on the Bo’ness War Memorial, copies of which are placed in the National Library of Scotland and the British Library.