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Letters to Menstrie Matters

John Stratton AB, First World War Sailor

This email refers to the article about the late John Stratton published in September 2009 - Ed.

I was very pleased to see the piece on the Menstrie [web site] from Mr Armstrong. His conclusion that John Stratton was one of those poor souls who was on HMS Monmouth was correct. Being John's nephew I would like to take this opportunity to add a few things about John Stratton.

John Stratton AB (left) and an unidentified sailor |d|
Image supplied by Mr Alexander Stratton.
John was born in Menstrie in 1895. He was the youngest of John and Jessie (nee McGregor) Stratton's three children, the others being Alexander (my father) who was born in 1889 and Anne, born in 1887. The family lived at Milestone Cottage, Menstrie, next to the village school. The cottage was demolished to make more room for the school and on my last visit to Menstrie I saw that the school had been replaced by a block of flats. John (Snr) and Jessie lived in the cottage up to their deaths in 1932 & '34 respectively.

My father, Alexander, worked at Robert Willison, Brewers, Distillers & Dyers Engineers, Alloa for six years as an apprentice coppersmith and one and half years as a journeyman and left Menstrie in May 1913. He travelled to various places in England working at his trade in shipyards and distilleries. He met and married my mother Catherine in 1923, living the rest of his life in Bow, East London. I'm the youngest of their four children. He was a very fit man and continued working as a coppersmith. He retired in 1960 aged seventy one and died in 1967.

My dad never forgot his brother John or the country of his birth. He often spoke of his childhood and teenage years and the enjoyment in wrestling at the local Highland Games. He passed onto me his love of books and the poems of Robert Burns. My wife and I have made many visits to Scotland and quite a number to Menstrie, the last being 2004 for a Remembrance Day service on the ninetieth anniversary of the sinking of the Monmouth.

Anne, his sister, was more commonly know as Eugene after the then famous Music Hall star Eugene Stratton. Anne never married and moved to Edinburgh after her parents' death where she died in 1965.

We hope to visit Menstrie again and if we are unable to visit in 2014 I'm sure another member of our family will. I would like to add that the family are very proud of John and that his name on the Memorial maintains the link between the Stratton family and Menstrie.

I enclose a photograph of John. John Stratton is the sailor standing on the left of the photograph. Unfortunately I do not have a record of the other sailor's name.

I would be very happy if the photo or any of this email is added to your website.

Please pass on my thanks to Mr Armstrong for the interest he has shown. I hope this piece of information and photograph adds some light to a name on the Menstrie War Memorial.

Yours sincerely,
Alexander Stratton

The Editor replies:

We thank Mr. Stratton for his contribution and invite interested Menstrie dwellers to contact him.
We have slightly modified his email address in an effort to protect it from spammers' automated address collection. Replace *at* by @ when using this email address.

April 2010

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