2nd Lieutenant John Kennedy

Biography of 2nd Lieutenant John Kennedy

John Kennedy was born on 1st July 1887. He was the eldest son of Colin Kennedy, a Cabinet Maker, and the family lived at 14 George Drive in Govan, Glasgow. Before starting his university studies in 1905, John took preliminary examinations in English, Mathematics, Latin and French. In his first year he continued with Mathematics and also studied History. He went on to take classes in a variety of subjects, including Latin, Logic, Moral Philosophy, Natural Philosophy and English.

While attending the University, John took a concurrent course of teacher training at the Glasgow Provincial Training College, forerunner of Jordanhill College of Education, now the University of Strathclyde. He completed his professional training on the 26th June 1908 to qualify for the Teacher’s General Certificate, with additional qualifications to teach singing, drawing and drill in primary schools. Five months later, on 12th November 1908, he graduated MA from the University of Glasgow.

John was subsequently appointed to the staff of Govan High School. During the First World War, he served as 2nd Lieutenant in The Cameronians. 2nd Lieutenant Joihn Kennedy was killed on 23rd April 1917, and the Govan Press of 11th May relayed the news to the local community in the following terms:

From Govan Press, 11th May 1917:

Govan Teacher killed: Second Lieutenant John Kennedy

To the steadily growing list of local men who have given their lives for their country has to be added the name of Second Lieutenant John Kennedy MA formerly a teacher in Govan High School. Mr Kennedy obtained his commission in the Scottish Rifles four months ago but at the time of his death was attached to the Border Regiment. He had been about three months in France. His loss will be keenly felt by his colleagues and former pupils for he was a skillful and enthusiastic teacher and never tired of his efforts to develop his scholars along the lines of their own varied personalities.

Of the twelve members of Govan High School staff on active service, four have been wounded, but Mr Kennedy is the first to make the supreme sacrifice. He hated war but saw it as the cure for German glorification of militarism, so he went forth to do his best. Mr Kennedy was 29 years of age. The sympathies of all concerned will go to his mother and young widow."

2nd Lieutenant John Kennedy is remembered on the Arras Memorial in the Faubourg-d'Amiens Cemetery in the town of Arras, in the Pas de Calais region in France. He is also remembered on the Roll of Honour of the Glasgow Provincial Committee for the Training of Teachers, and on the Glasgow Provincial Training College war memorial, located in the David Stow Building on the former Jordanhill Campus.


2nd Lieutenant John Kennedy
Rank: 2nd Lieutenant
Regiment: The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) attd. 7th Bn. Border Regiment
Degree: MA
Awards: N/A
Comments: Killed in action, 23 April 1917.
Note/Press Clipping: Ch 4/4/2/3/1079
Photo ID: N/A


University of Glasgow General Council, Faculty and Registry Records.

Biographical information: Records of the Glasgow Provincial Training College, forerunner of Jordanhill College of Education - now the University of Strathclyde). Information provided by Dr Anne Cameron, Archives Assistant, University of Strathclyde Archives. Also from Govan Press, 11th May 1917, reproduced from the The Scottish War Memorials Project.

Photograph: Courtesy of Ian McCracken and Govan High School, Glasgow.

Memorial Place: Commonwealth War Graves Commission - Find War Dead

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