Captain Gavin Lang Pagan

Biography of Captain Gavin Lang Pagan

Gavin Lang Pagan was born on the 13th April 1873, son of John Pagan, Minister at Bothwell, Moderator of the General Assembly 1899. He came to the University of Glasgow in 1888 aged 15 to study for an Arts degree.

He graduated MA in 1895 with a First Class Honours in Mental Philosophy having won the Frances Jeffray Gold Medal for Greek in 1890. The following year he graduated BD and was awarded the Cleland and Rae Wilson Gold Medal.

In 1889 Gavin was called as Minister in Callander and in 1892 he transferred to Largs. In 1909 he was appointed Minister of St George's Church in Charlotte Square in Edinburgh. At a meeting on the 14th October 1914, Gavin Pagan told the Kirk Session that he felt it had his duty to apply for admission to Lord Kitchener's Army "as the only course by which he could do his utmost to defend his own liberty and the interests of the Church and country".

Presbytery granted him permission to serve and he enlisted as a Private on the 18th November 1914. He received his commission in February 1915 and was promoted Captain in August 1916. His wife reported his death to the University saying he had been killed in action on the 28th April 1917, at Roeux. His body was not found but the Red Cross informed his family of his loss in early May.

The St George's Kirk Session minutes for the 19th December 1917 pay a glowing tribute:

"The Kirk Session desire to record their highest appreciation of Mr Pagan's personal worth and of his earnest ministry in St George's. Coming to the congregation and Parish in the prime of life and with a record of high attainment and useful service in the Church, he proved himself a zealous and faithful Minister and won the affectionate regard of those among whom he laboured. His unselfish devotion revealed itself most fully when the crisis arose which has proved of such stupendous importance to the Nation and the world.

Perceiving early the grave significance of events and the imperative call for personal service, he was ready to sacrifice all that life held dear for him, if only he might help so far as lay in his power to avert the dangers that threatened the country. He had been called upon to lay down his life in this noble cause, and his memory will remain an enduring example of devotion and self-sacrifice for the good of others."

Gavin Lang Pagan is remembered on the Arras Memorial, the Largs Memorial, the Roll of Honour of St George's Church and on the University of Glasgow Roll of Honour.


Captain Gavin Lang Pagan
Rank: Captain
Regiment: 15th Bn. Royal Scots
Degree: MA BD
Awards: N/A
Comments: Killed in action, 28 April 1917.
Note/Press Clipping: Ch 4/4/2/3/825, 1184
Photo ID: N/A


Additional information: The service file for Captain (Reverend) Gavin Lang Pagan is held at the National Archives at Kew, London, Ref No. WO339/24892.

With thanks to St Andrew's and St George's West Church of Scotland Edinburgh for permission to quote from their April 2017 newsletter.

Memorial Place: Commonwealth War Graves Commission - Find War Dead

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