Roll of Honour

2nd Lieutenant

Donald Kerr


Donald Kerr was born on 28th June 1891 in Pitlochry to Anne and James John Kerr. He was their youngest son. His father was a Supervisor of Customs and Excise. In 1908, when Donald went up to the University of Glasgow to study for a degree in the Arts Faculty the family lived at 16 Albert Road East, Crosshill.

Image of Donald Kerr

In 1908 he enrolled for classes in Latin and Mathematics. He particularly enjoyed the sciences, and in the following three years at university he took Physics, Mathematics and Chemistry classes. He was a good student and won a Chemistry prize in 1910 and a First Class Certificate in Advance Physical Laboratory in 1912.

He graduated MA with Second Class Honours in Mathematics and Physics in October 1912, at a time when only a very small minority of students took Honours.

His studies continued after graduation in Arts. In October 1912 he matriculated again, this time in the Science Faculty, which awarded credits for his science classes taken in the Arts Faculty, and, after further examinations in Chemistry, he was able to graduate BSc in April 1913. Now a well-qualified young man, he applied for teacher training at the Glasgow Provincial Training College, forerunner of Jordanhill College of Education, now the University of Strathclyde. Donald attended the College during session 1913-1914 and gained both the Teacher’s General Certificate, which entitled him to teach in primary schools, and a qualification to teach the higher subject of Mathematics in secondary schools. Though recognised as a certificated teacher from 1 August 1914, he never held a teaching post. Indeed, the ‘Remarks’ column of the College register of students suggests that he intended ‘Giving up [the] profession’.

In early January 1915 he enlisted as a Private in London, in the 2nd London Scottish (14th London Regiment). Donald trained in London and the Home Counties before being commissioned into the Battalion in December 1915 and transferred to France with a reinforcement draft to the 1st London Scottish in May 1916. He served in the trenches at Hebuterne throughout June.

He fell in action during the 1st London Scots' assault on the Gommecourt salient on 1st July 1916, just a few yards from fellow Glasgow graduate Thomas Cleghorn. His body was never recovered from the field. The name of Second Lieutenant Donald Kerr is etched on the arched gateway for the missing of the Somme at Thiepval.