Roll of Honour


William Campbell Church


William “Billy” Campbell Church was born in Glasgow in 1883. He was the eldest child of William R. M. Church, accountant, stockbroker and former Major of the 8th Battalion Cameronians, and Christina Ainsley. He had two younger brothers, Reginald and Percival, and two younger sisters, Elizabeth and Edith. He was educated at Glasgow Academy 1893-1901, attended school in Switzerland in 1902 and then returned to Kelvinside Academy. He played Wing for Glasgow Academy rugby team and was a leading member of the gymnastic team.

Memorial chapel at the University of Glasgow
The Memorial Chapel at the University of Glasgow

He matriculated at Glasgow University in the 1905/6 session taking a class in mercantile law. He played for the university rugby team. He worked as a stockbroker and lived at 2 Athole Gardens, Partick.

He played for the Glasgow Academicals 1904-1907. He was on the winning team for the Scottish Club Championship 1904/5 and played in inter-city matches against Edinburgh in Scottish Union Trials. He played internationally, in 1906 playing Wales in Cardiff. He was also selected to play New Zealand, though he declined. He was remembered by Commander J.A. Henry RN, a friend, as “a good man to play with or against”.

In May 1913 he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the 8th Battalion Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) a territorial regiment, he was promoted to Lieutenant on the 23rd Dec and on the 17th July 1914 he was promoted to Captain. In May 1915 the battalion was deployed for active service and left Devonport for Gallipoli, via Mudros, landing on the 14th of June.

He was killed in action on the 28th of June during an offensive at Gully Ravine, Gallipoli, by machine gun fire within ten yards of the enemy trench. He is commemorated at the Helles Memorial, Turkey as well as the Glasgow Necropolis. He is remembered on the Scottish National War Memorial, Kelvinside Academy War Memorial, Glasgow Academy War Memorial, Scottish Rugby Union Memorial and the Wellington Church War Memorial.

Comments and Citations

University Archive Sources:

R8/5/26/2 matriculation slip

Other sources:

Into Touch: Rugby Internationals Killed in the Great War Nigel McCrey, 2014.