I stay in Fife, Scotland. The village I live in is  pulling together a book about the soldiers, sailors and airmen from our area whether they died in action or returned home.

I am trying to find out about John James Culbert who was born in 1887 in Carnock, Fife and resided in Steelend before he emigrated to Australia just before the war broke out. We have a newspaper cutting from October  1916 saying that he had been killed in action in Gallipoli. He had enlisted in Australia and been with the 'Australian Contingent' to the Mediterranean .

I can't find any information about him in Australia. I've looked through the records on this site but have been unsuccessful.

Has anyone any guidance as to where to try next? Your help would be warmly valued. Thanks for reading, Tina

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Hi Tina,

Can I ask how you know that John James Culbert came to Australia as I haven’t been able to find anything for him in Australia?

 The only one who seems to come close is cabinetmaker John James Culbert b abt 1887 from Baldridgeburn, Dunfermline. He’d married a Christina Horn in 1913 in Dunfermline. His British service numbers were 171113 (Royal Engineers) and 556634 (Royal Engineers, 550th Field Company). It seems that he survived the war. (Note: There is a possible 1964 burial in Dunfermline Cemetery)


Hi Sylvia.

This was in the local paper on 7/1/16 -Dunfermline Press.

'In reply to enquiries made regarding Private John Culbert, formerly residing with Mr  and Mrs Thomas Moffat, Station Terrece, Steelend, the War Office report that he was killed in action at Galipoli. He emegrated to Australia shortly before the war , enlisted there at the outbreak of hostilities and accompanied the Australian contingent to the Mediterranean.'

I've the census return for 1901 and 1911 which both relate to John J Culbert as the parents and siblings correspond. In 1911 John is noted as being a life insurance agent.

I have a yearly admission register for joiners for 1919 showing a John Culbert age 31years 5 months when he was admitted to the register om11.2.1919 -years in trade 17 - and married. This suggests to me that this John Cuthbert did not die in WW1 at Gallipolli.

There might be another John Culbert who came from somewhere different but with out knowing anything else about him I can't see how to find out.

I would have thought we could find a war death for John Culbert if the news report is correct but didn't find any anywhere I looked .The army records I've seen are the ones you have.

When I get back from holiday I'll take a look in the graveyard in Dunfermline.

Help - don't know where else to go. Do you think this is a lost cause? Regards, Tina

Not a lost cause, but I have the feeling there might have been an identity mix up somewhere (e.g. John vs John James … or, Irish vs Scottish???)

 In Scotland I can only find one birth for a John James Culbert (1887 Dunfermline), 2 marriages (1913 & 1930 Dunfermline) and one death (1964 Dunfermline). Without forking money out for the Scottish certificates, my gut feeling tells me that all these events could concern the same person. And, this would most likely be the person who’d joined the Royal Engineers i.e. this guy never made it to Galllipoli (although it is still possible that he spent some time in Australia). Have you had a look at all of these BDM certificates yet to determine whether they concern one or more individuals? If not, than that would be the proper place to start. 

 The only Culbert Gallipoli grave seems to be for the Irish Private P Culbert … Of course, it is possible that there is no marked grave for a John James Culbert because the body was never identified or was repatriated to Britain, but I’m not sure how likely this is.


Hi Sylvia,

Thanks for your response.

All the info relates to John (James )Culbert- I've used Scotand's People web site as well as the Ancestry and Findyourpast.

We were able to purchase cheaper Scotland's People vouchers through our local library system which I've used to investigate our soldiers. We had a small budget from our heritage society to support research. Just about used them all  and unfortunately the cheaper vouchers are now no longer available.

When I get back from holiday I'll see if I can find any local family members. I wonder if the newspaper report was correct, it did not say where the information actually came from, so there must be some question to be asked.  The library may have some other info tucked away somewhere. There may be another report in one of the other local papers of the time. Just need time to get back to the library and check.

Many thanks for your help, I'm off to Belgium for a couple of weeks. If I can find any more I'll let you know.

regards, Tina


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