Around a half of all First World War army records were destroyed as a result of bombing and consequent fire in the Second World War but Adam Horner’s survived. We know that he signed up for the army on 10 December 1915, opting to join the Royal Garrison Artillery. At that time he was a 35 year old gamekeeper living at Glenturk, just outside Wigtown and having married Margaret McDowall six months earlier. On 6 June 1916 Gunner 95460 Horner was mobilised and was posted to the Heavy Artillery depot at Woolwich in London the following month. After a period of training he was posted to the 119th Heavy Battery in France on 28th December 1916. He saw action over the following months but on 1st August 1917 he was killed in action. His death was briefly reported in the Galloway Gazette (23 August):
Information has been received that Gunner Adam Horner, RGA, second son of Mr & Mrs Horner, Mossend, Wigtown, and husband of Mrs Horner, High Vennel, Wigtown, was killed in action on 1st inst. He was 37 years of age, and was a gamekeeper previous to enlisting.
Four months after his death, on 11 December 1917, the RGA Records Office in Dover wrote to Adam’s widow, Margaret, returning the following personal articles: Letters, photo, pouch, 3 pipes, purse, watch and strap, glove, penknife, matchbox cover, spoon, Religious book and numeral. The writer added, “Gnr Horner had in his possession the sum of 10 francs and 40 centimes which has been credited to his account.” Mrs Horner would later receive a pension of 13 shillings and 9 pence and (in 1922) the two campaign medals awarded to her husband (British War and Victory).
Adam Horner is buried at Duhallow Advanced Dressing Station, a medical post 1.6 kilometres north of Ypres. He is also remembered on the family gravestone in Wigtown’s High Cemetery. On the anniversary of his death his wife inserted this tribute to him (Galloway Gazette 3 August 1918): HORNER. In loving memory of my dear husband, Gunner Adam Horner, RGA, who was killed in action in France on 1st August 1917. Interred at Dunhallow ADS Cemetery, North of Ypres.
I pictured his safe returning
And I longed to clasp his hand
But death has postponed our meeting
It will be in a better land
Inserted by his widow, 4 High Vennel, Wigtown