John and William were born and educated in Forfarshire, Scotland and came to Australia in 1912 with their parents and sibilings. The family lived on the property 'Arrawatta' near Inverell where their father and both boys were employed.
John, the eldest son, enlisted at Liverpool NSW on 13 January 1915 when he was twenty two years old. Three months later he left Australia with the 2nd Battalion, 5th Reinforcement on the ship HMAT A55 Kyarra. He served at Gallipoli before being sent to France where he was badly wounded in July 1916. John was evacuated to England where he spent some time in hospital before being returned to Australia in 1917.
William was just eighteen years old when he enlisted at Liverpool in May 1915. He became a Private with the 18th Battalion, C Company which sailed from Sydney on the transport ship A40 Ceramic in June 1915. He fought briefly at Gallipoli where he was Killed in Action on 22 August. William, who has no known grave, was first reported as missing and his death not confirmed until a Court of Inquiry hearing in January 1916. His name is recorded at The Lone Pine Memorial at Gallipoli.
John and William have their names inscribed on the Inverell Honor Roll. William's name is on the Inverell Cenotaph and he was one of the 215 men for whom a memorial tree was planted in Kurrajong Parade in 1919.