AN EAST Lothian man is hoping to have a “forgotten First World War soldier” remembered in North Berwick.

Derek Weir’s great-uncle, Thomas Elder Weir, died in the Somme, on August 26, 1916, when a shrapnel shell burst over the battlefield.

Thomas was born at Balgone Barns farm – on the south side of North Berwick Law, near Kingston – in 1890 but is not listed on the town’s war memorial.

After emigrating to Australia in 1913, war broke out a year later and Thomas enlisted in the 21st Battalion of the Australian Imperial Force.

After basic training in Egypt, Private 529 – now known as Jock or Scotty – was sent to fight in Gallipoli in Turkey and then on to the equally infamous Battle of the Somme in France.

“To my mind he should be on the North Berwick memorial, being as this was the place of his birth,” said Derek.

“It seems that because Thomas has his name on a gatepost in Marnoo, Victoria, a town that he lived in for under a year, that place has more rights to honour him than North Berwick did.

“I think that any soldier born within the parish of North Berwick or who had lived in the parish should be a certainty to be added to any war memorial, regardless of his uniform.”

Thomas was the second son of John Weir, an agricultural labourer, and Christina Elder.

Derek, from Musselburgh, added: “He deserves no worse or no better than any other Scotsman who found himself in the Australian Imperial Force during the First World War and many were honoured throughout East Lothian, so why does he, a son of North Berwick, get missed?”

Frances Moreton, director of the War Memorials Trust, told the Courier there were several reasons why a soldier’s name might be left off.

“Some families chose not to have their loved ones on a memorial as they were still missing, the relatives did not agree with the war or did not wish to see their loved one’s name on the memorial,” she said.

A spokeswoman for East Lothian Council said the decision to add names rested with the community, headed by the community council.

She said: “The addition of names or research into whether a name or names can be added lies with the community council and this is something which Prestonpans, Dunbar and Musselburgh community councils have already done.

“The community council will then arrange for the work of the additional name to be added if agreed. Funding may be available from the War Memorials Trust.”

Joy Dodd, genealogist and author of the book The North Berwick War Memorial, told the Courier it was possible Thomas Weir’s name could be added “but [Derek Weir] will have to go to the [townspeople] and ask them”.