Jan 29 2010 by Clair Fullarton, Kilmarnock Standard
A CUP has made its way back from Canada to its former school home in Kilmarnock after 105 years.
This fine trophy was won by Kilmarnock Academy’s Cadet Corps at the Scottish Command Naval and Military Tournament in 1905 when they won first prize in tent pitching.
The Cadet Corps at the school had been established some four years earlier by Captain (later Lieutenant-Colonel) David Yuille, TD, JP, a member of the Territorial Army (1st Volunteer Battalion, Royal Scots Fusiliers), former pupil, and at that time a primary teacher at the academy.
It is believed that this corps was among the first to be established at a state-aided school in Scotland.
By the time of the 1905 tournament, the company consisted of approximately 70 boys, and the school cadet corps was to run through two world wars, before finally disbanding in the 1950s.
Many former pupils whose names appear on the school’s war memorial had previously received initial training through the Corps.
David Yuille became master of method at the academy – in charge of training pupil teachers – and was soon promoted to the post of head teacher (Elementary School).
In the 1914-18 war, where he held the rank of major and quarter-master with the 4th Royal Scots Fusiliers, he served throughout the Gallipoli campaign, as well as in Palestine and France, where he was twice mentioned in dispatches. This was despite his relatively advanced age, being 43 at the outbreak of war.
Mr Yuille was appointed head master of Bentinck School in 1925, a post he was to hold until retirement in 1933. He continued his links with the school cadet corps, however, and was appointed colonel of the Ayrshire Cadets Association, and in the early years of the Second World War was promoted to lieutenant-colonel, welfare officer, all troops in Ayrshire.
Throughout all this time, it is believed that the trophy was kept and cherished by him – and when he died in 1942, it was inherited by his son, also David.
David snr is buried in Symington churchyard. David jnr was at the time serving in the Royal Scots Fusiliers – as a former pupil of Kilmarnock Academy he had, of course, begun his military career with the cadet corps.
Major Yuille saw action in France, India, Madagascar, the Middle East, North Africa, Cyprus, Malta, Sicily and Italy, and upon demob trained as a chartered surveyor.
David jnr emigrated to Canada in 1957, and worked for the Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation in Ottawa for most of his career, apart from a spell in the Bahamas. One of his many interests was bowling, and so when his club, the Ottawa Lawn Bowling Club needed a new trophy for best young bowler in 1995, the Cadet Corps Cup was given a new life and a new name.
David jnr died in 2008, and the club decided to ‘repatriate’ the trophy to its spiritual home.
Head teacher Carole Ford said: “We don’t do much tent-pitching around here any more – and we don’t have our own bowling club. Between them, however, the two Yuilles had major interests in photography, bee-keeping, early church history, genealogy, music, golf, gardening and DIY, so we do have a few options.
“David senior was a past president of the Kilmarnock Burns Club, and its secretary and treasurer for many years. His gravestone is inscribed with the Burns quote ‘A gentleman in word and deed’ – so we might award the trophy on Burns Night for best recital.”